An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives - all over the course of one meal.
It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse - the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
We were going out to dinner. I won't say which restaurant, because next time it might be full of people who've come to see whether we're there. Serge made the reservation. He's always the one who arranges it, the reservation. This particular restaurant is one where you have to call three months in advanceor six, or eight, don't ask me. Personally, I'd never want to know three months in advance where I'm going to eat on any given evening, but apparently some people don't mind. A few centuries from now, when historians want to know what kind of crazies people were at the start of the twenty-first century, all they'll have to do is look at the computer files of the so-called "top" restaurants. That information is kept on fileI happen to know that. If Mr. L. was prepared to wait three months for a window seat last time, then this time he'll wait for five months for a table beside the men's roomthat's what ...
Provocative and unsettling, The Dinner explores parental responsibility for their children's behavior, as well as the extreme lengths a parent would go to protect his or her child. But also, it suggests we face the fact that evil might not be easy to recognize.
(Reviewed by Sarah Tomp).
Full Review (1065 words).
Early on in The Dinner, we discover the reason Paul and Claire are meeting Serge and Babette for dinner: they are to discuss a problem facing their children, Michel and Rick. We know the boys have done something wrong. Then Paul mentions a genetic test that couldthrough amniocentesisidentify a mysterious and unnamed condition that might predict an individual's tendency toward violence. It made me wonder if such a test really exists. And, if so, what would a parent do with that information?
The birth of a child is usually a moment of great joy. The parents are filled with anticipation for the future, with hopes and dreams. Great expectations abound. But, if a parent knew his infanta perfect, sweet-smelling bundle of joy&...
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Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis - a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.
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