The Dinner by Herman Koch

dinner $24.00, 304 pages, Mystery-Thriller-Suspense

A suspenseful mystery unfolds over the course of two couples sharing dinner.

Author’s Website


NY Times

Two couples sit down to an elegant and expensive dinner at a restaurant in Amsterdam.  The men are brothers and throughout the many courses of dinner, a mystery unfolds.  The story involves the sons of these couples and choices they made.  A shameful crime has occurred and the atrocity was videotaped on a cellular phone.  It becomes evident the each set of parents are devoted to their own sons.  And yet….how will they deal with the pressing matter at hand?

I enjoyed the suspense behind this book.  I read and continued to guess at what the parents were avoiding.  I found it incredible that the entire book is set throughout the course of a single dinner.  Without spoiling the ending, I found the crime that was revealed tragic and incredibly sad.  Overall, the book was interesting….not great.  It makes a reader question the lengths they would go to help a child in desperate need of parenting and help.

Appeal Factors: Suspenseful, Sobering, Dramatic

According to Novelist, read-alikes for this book include: Engleby by Sebastian Faulks, Next by James Hynes and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (accessed May 4, 2013).

Amazon Best Book of the Month, February 2013
11 Weeks on NPR Bestseller List

Discussion Questions

After finishing Gone Girl for this class, I read several book reviews that touted The Dinner as the “European Gone Girl.”  A friend also posted a review of this book on Goodreads and I was intrigued.  During my site evaluation assignment for this course, the title was recommended to me at as a readalike for Gone Girl.

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Filed under Mystery- Fiction

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