Friday, 6 June 2014

Summer House with Swimming Pool: A Novel By Herman Koch

Summer House with Swimming Pool
A Novel
By Herman Koch

Hardcover, 400 pages

I once heard that writers should not aim to tell people what they want them to know. That they should tell what they don't want to tell. What they don't want people to know. I was reminded of that again and again when I read this novel.

Koch is the master of making us fully engaged and squirming on our seat at the same time. The inner dialogue is much like ours, in that it is messy and human and often far from charitable.

Dr. Marc Schlosser is at once arrogant and self loathing. The death of his patient and subsequent inquiry bring him back to the summer they had spent together. A vacation complete with wives, children, and other friends. A vacation that turns dark and which reveals the darker side of humanity.

Herman Koch brings us along as witness to both the fun in the sun and sordid underlying motives.

Like a slow moving car crash you can't look away. He is brilliant in how he pieces it all together. And leaves just a little mystery in every interaction.

This book is not for the squeamish. But it is a brilliant read.

From the back flap:

The blistering, compulsively readable new novel from Herman Koch, author of the instant New York Times bestseller The Dinner.

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can’t hide from the truth forever.

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy.

Featuring the razor-sharp humor and acute psychological insight that made The Dinner an international phenomenon, Summer House with Swimming Pool is a controversial, thought-provoking novel that showcases Herman Koch at his finest.

HERMAN KOCH is the author of eight novels and three collections of short stories. The Dinner, his sixth novel, has been published in twenty-five countries, and was an international bestseller. He currently lives in Amsterdam.