Review Time: The Dinner by Herman Koch

the-dinnerI bought this book BRAND NEW, HARDCOVER, not even with a gift card or anything like that, based solely on buzz. Now, there is nothing wrong with buying a book just because everyone on the subway is reading it (Hello? The Time-Travelers Wife? Amazing).

Anyway, The Dinner is the story of yes, a dinner, that takes place while the diners’ sons are committing a wretched crime. The book is cleverly laid out, with sections called “aperitif”, “appetizer”, and so on. The relationships between the family members at dinner is slowly revealed at the same time as their sons’ activities.

That is basically it…Maybe I just don’t get it. Being that it has an average 3.25 review on Goodreads, people seem to generally like it, but I was very disappointed.

Now, usually I love a subtle book, a book that can take a small moment in a life and inflate it into a book. Looking at a single instance from many different angles and voices is a really fantastic form of storytelling.  But this, I feel, was not that. It was too small, too subtle, almost claustrophobic. It was like walking into a family conversation halfway through, but no one bothers to fill you in.

Verdict: Pass. Or, if you must follow the buzz, get it from the library or you can buy my copy, on sale at Value Village.

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