Is the Warrior Gene a Predictor of Violence?: Background information when reading The Dinner

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The Dinner

by Herman Koch

The Dinner
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2013, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2013, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp

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Beyond the Book:
Is the Warrior Gene a Predictor of Violence?

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 could—through amniocentesis—identify 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 infant—a perfect, sweet-smelling bundle of joy—would grow up to perform horrific acts of violence, would he love that little baby any less? Would she want to do whatever possible to change that dismal destiny? And could that parent be held accountable for the child's crime?

If a food ...

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