I can't begin to describe how irritated and ripped off I felt by this book. The characters in that book were so well written and, while not always likeable (in fact some were really icky), they were believable. I felt like the The Dinner was a cheap stunt designed to make the reader feel like they had explored something deep, dark and dangerous.
2) I have just started to voice my opinions on here, and my thoughts on this book would make me sound like a " raving, people hating, I weep for the future" kind of gal...and finally 3) If I get into my feelings of THE DINNER I will probably give something away (since I don't know how to use the spoiler warning yet).
it has the moral bankruptcy of Gone Girl, the shallow people, banal small talk and heavily-done descriptive elements of American Psycho, and the "we are here to talk about our delinquent kids but it isn't going to go well" scenario of The God of Carnage. (oh, greg is going to be so proud of me) but it's an odd little book. as the story goes on, the tension escalates, and with every course, as the waiter's finger comes closer and closer to the food as he relentlessly describes every element on the plate, you can feel the simmer of the unspoken building to a boil. while still doing the coy thing, the discreet turn away from the camera when it comes time to make with some of the details.
Thats the oppressive thing about happiness, the way everything is out on the table like an open book. When you look at the "rating details" for every widely-read book on Goodreads, you will almost always see most ratings being 5 or 4 stars. Even when it comes to divisive books like Fifty Shades of Grey, 60% of the ratings are for 4 or 5 stars. Now look at the ratings for The Dinner. It's a book about many things: mental illness, dehumanization, middle class people and the coveted notion of a "happy family".
Not in the sense that the author is fascist or anything of the sort, but rather like pointing to a certain book and recognizing that it's a feminist novel, or a queer novel, or a Southern novel, or what have you. The fascist beliefs only become clear towards the end of the book.
I beg to differ and I think that this book should more appropriately be tagged the European Defending Jacob'...but hey who am I to question The Wall Street Journal! The setting is an extremely important aspect in this book, because as each course arrives for our diners, our own appetite, hunger and curiosity increase for the unfolding story. Paul, the narrator of the story becomes increasingly impatient with these interruptions and we the reader do too, not because they are not highly complimentary and a necessary side dish to the story, they are, but they serve to prolong our suspense and anticipation and allow an extremely subtle tension to build . There are no likeable characters in the book and our narrator is totally unreliable, two of my favourite features of a good read.
This may have been one of the worst books I have ever read. I will confess that generally I want to have at least one character that I like. I hated that the one person who wanted to come clean and do the right thing was presented as an egocentric buffoon.
Update 3 July 2015 If you've read the book and thought nothing like that could ever really happen, read the news. I have tried to be oblique but anything I say will ruin the book if you are going to read it, so (view spoiler)Say you have a terrorist in the family. Would you get together with your family to discuss the situation and all of you agree that further crimes will need to be committed in order to protect their loved one?
Andando avanti, non si salva proprio nessuno, né gli uomini, né le donne, né tanto meno i ragazzi: sono tutti mostri. Perché, altra caratteristica di questo libro, è che si legge proprio bene, prende, spinge avanti: cè qualche divagazione di troppo, ma non riduce il gusto. Probabilmente, più che le riflessioni, gli eventuali pensieri, resterà proprio il godimento della lettura.
Koch was born in Arnhem, and later moved to Amsterdam.