BookBrowse Reviews The Dinner by Herman Koch

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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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This unsettling yet engaging novel explores weighty themes about family relationships and parental responsibilities.

The Dinner, by Herman Koch, promises to be an interesting sort of evening. We are invited to pull up a chair beside Paul – whom his fifteen-year-old son, Michel, affectionately refers to as "Sweet Old Papa" – and join him for dinner. He needs our support, you see, for this is a meal he's dreading.

Paul is an ordinary man—he's one of us. All he wants is a simple quiet meal, alone with his beloved wife, Claire. But they are having dinner with Serge, Paul's arrogant brother and Babette, Serge's wife. It's bad enough that his brother picked the restaurant—an upscale overdone place with an elitist atmosphere. As a currently unemployed school teacher, Paul notices the excessive cost of each item on the menu. To make things worse, Serge and Babette arrive predictably late. Paul and Claire watch as the restaurant staff fuss over Serge since he is the leading candidate for...

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