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The Dinner

The Dinner

Herman Koch

  • awardShortlisted, Specsavers National Book Awards, International Author of the Year, United Kingdom, 2012
  • awardLonglisted, PEN Translation Prize, United States, 2014
  • Translated by Sam Garrett

    Paul Lohman and his brother Serge and their wives are going to dinner. Paul knows the evening will not be fun. The restaurant will be overpriced and pretentious, and almost everything the charismatic Serge does will infuriate him. 

    But tonight’s get-together will be worse than usual because there is something the two couples have to discuss.

    When the small talk is over, the conversation will turn to their teenage sons. And the terrible thing they have done. And how far the four of them will go to save their children from the consequences of their actions. 


    ABC Radio National Books and Arts Daily
    4BC News Talk

    Herman Koch
    About the Author

    Herman Koch was born in 1953. He is a successful actor, screenwriter and columnist in the Netherlands, and has written a number of satirical novels, including The Dinner (2011) which became an international bestseller. The Dinner was adapted for stage and screen in the Netherlands and an English language film adaptation to be directed by Cate...

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    3 July 2017
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    Praise for Herman Koch
    andThe Dinner

    ‘Funny, provocative and exceedingly dark, this is a brilliantly addictive novel that wraps its hands around your throat on page one and doesn’t let go.’

    ‘What a tremendous book. I loved every single gripping and strange thing about it.’

    ‘A heartstopping thriller, in which no one is innocent. Koch is brilliant at not letting the reader off the hook.’

    ‘Are family values good? The Dinner will have you wondering. By the end, when all has become truly chilling, you’ll have to rethink everything, including who you are and what you believe. This is a book you won’t forget.’

    ‘Herman Koch’s The Dinner is a riveting, compelling and a deliciously uncomfortable read. Like all great satire it is both lacerating and so very funny. The Dinner got under my skin and punctured all my safe liberal smugness and pieties. Intelligent and complex, this novel is both a punch to the guts and also a tonic. It clears the air. A wonderful book.’

    ‘In this exploration of how two families deal with an explosive event, The Dinner is reminiscent of Christos Tsiolkas’s blockbuster The Slap.’

    ‘What a wonderfully awkward, slow-burning, page-turning novel it turned out to be.’

    ‘As much as The Dinner is a suspenseful story about teenage cousins Michel and Rick, it is equally the rich portrayal of the characters and their individual views that pin the reader to the page.’

    ‘Koch’s uncomfortable tale is a wonderful thriller, where the reader’s sympathies are forced to switch again and again, and where you race to a final outcome that is anything but what you might expect. Blackly funny, full of sharp edges and hot issues, and compulsively readable. Verdict: feast on this.’

    The Dinner is a masterful, disturbing piece of theatre.’

    ‘Little wonder this literary degustation is an international best-seller….a cult movie in the making.’

    ‘Terrific, fascinating writing.’

    ‘You’ll need a cast-iron stomach to cope with the horrific details, but this meditation on middle-class dilemmas makes compulsive reading.’

    ‘Sharpen the knives and batten down the tableware!…Herman Koch’s The Dinner is a biting, blackly funny story of the lengths to which parents will go to protect their offspring.' 

    ‘Koch’s structure is superb and his story unfolds like a finely crafted piece of theatre.' 

    ‘A tightly written thriller which skilfully plays and changes perceptions of the characters with every paragraph, this will leave you feeling shocked and appalled, but full of admiration for the mastery of Koch’s storytelling.' 

    ‘I’m confidently predicting that The Dinner will become this summer’s literary talk of the town.’

    ‘Proves how powerful fiction can be in illuminating the modern world…The best beach read of the season.' 

    ‘Shivers kept shooting up my backbone as I became engrossed in Koch’s darkly disturbing tale of family life…As the dinner disintegrates into mayhem, we discover just how far the middle classes will go to protect their monstrous offspring.' 

    ‘Rather like The Slap it is set to become a contentious must-read. It may thrill, chill or cheat, but it is undeniably riveting.' 

    ‘Wrenchingly funny and bleak…the darker the whole thing gets, the more your sides will be splitting. The result is a hugely accomplished and surprisingly subtle novel.' 

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