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The Dinner by Herman Koch (translated by Sam Garrett)

The Dinner by Herman Koch (translated by Sam Garrett)

the dinnerDutch author Herman Koch structures the entire plot of The Dinner around a sophisticated five course meal shared by two brothers and their wives.  These men don’t like each other.  At all. But their fifteen year-old sons are friends, and it is the boys who the parents have met to discuss.

You see, the boys, their sons, have committed a coldly gruesome crime.  And the crime was captured on video.  Nobody has identified the boys yet, but their parents know the truth.  Now these two couples must decide what to do with this information:  how far will a parent go to protect their child? You’re not going to like these people, but their fundamental flaws will compel you to end of the meal.

The Dinner was first published in the Netherlands in 2009 and rocketed to the top of the bestseller lists.  The English translation, published here in 2013, has met with similar reaction.  It’s a parable of all kinds:  class pretentions, nature vs. nurture, good and evil, all the big ones.  This dinner is excruciating, as the reader discovers the horrendous – and completely believable – actions of two teenage boys raised by brothers as different as night and day. The suspense is quick, the characters are full, and the ending unpredictable.

The Dinner is available as a book, large print book, and sound recording through the Metro Library Network.

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