Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Dinner: A Novel by Herman Koch

by Herman Koch
Hardcover, 304 pages

Okay. You know how I am a huge fan of dark fiction. And that I read a lot of dark, Nordic crime fiction. Because of my awe of the highly intelligent and slightly disturbing fiction from the north, I was immediately attracted to this celebrated novel from writer Herman Koch. A little to the south, he is from Amsterdam and has the same multi-layered noir sensibility that I love in the north. I tell you - reading really does open up the map for me.

In The Dinner, we have two couples meeting up at a fine dining establishment. Manners are watched and subtext is everything as they slowly make their way from cocktails to dessert. The story peels away layer by layer like an onion as we learn why they needed to meet that night and how to work out the problems they face. Nothing is what it seems and, like icebergs, what they reveal to each other is just the tip of what lies beneath. 

A fascinating, haunting, dark and even humourous (in a dark way) novel that is like no other I have read before. I will definitely be interested in reading more from this author and exploring other Dutch authors.

A must read!

Photo by Mark Kohn, Hollandse Hoogte
Herman Koch

HERMAN KOCH is the author of seven novels and three collections of short stories. The Dinner, his sixth novel, has been published in 25 countries, and was the winner of the Publieksprijs Prize in 2009. He currently lives in Amsterdam.