The Dinner by Herman Koch

The Dinner, Herman Koch, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

The Dinner is a deliciously disturbing read that tells the length that some of us will go to protect our children. ~ Sheila


It is a lovely summers eve in Amsterdam and Paul and Claire Lohman are meeting Paul’s brother and his wife for dinner.  Paul’s brother, Serge is well on his way to being Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Paul finds his brother to be full of himself and cringes at the thought of spending dinner at a restaurant where everyone will be watching them and treating them like royalty.

But there are bigger things to discuss at dinner.

Each of the two couples have a 15-year-old son and through appetizers to dessert it will become clear that the two boys have been involved in a horrific act involving the death of a homeless woman.  Some of the guests at this table know all about it… others are just starting to figure out what happened.  Through forced politeness and forks full of delicious food, this family tries to unite on what the right thing to do is…

and are they willing to do it.




I have been wanting to read this book for a while now – since I first heard about it.  First of all it is a foodie type book and I do love my foodie books.  It is also very intriguing that the entire book is set around this one dinner.  Told through flash backs and present time, from pleasant chit-chat around the subject of politics, menu choices, family and then…

We need to talk about our children.


I really enjoyed this book on audio.  Narrators Sam Garrett and Clive Mantle were appropriately chilling in their telling of this story that is fed to the reader/listener forkful by forkful.  I am glad I listened to it on audio, I feel it gave the story line a higher level of understanding and I especially enjoyed having the story unfold from Paul’s perspective.

Witty and a bit dangerous ( a little bit of a Jo Nesbo tamed down feel)… I did enjoy The Dinner.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 55 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: AudioGO
  • Release Date: February 13, 2013



This is probably a stretch but I really want to connect this review to Weekend Cooking over at Beth Fish Reads.  😀  It wasn’t really cooking… but it was foodie and it was listened to over the weekend 😀



29 thoughts on “The Dinner by Herman Koch

  1. I read this last summer and it was a really intense book. I just can’t imagine listening to it, though. It’s just not for me.

  2. I read this last summer and think it’s a perfect example of being able to appreciate a book that features such unlikeable characters–which is a tribute to Koch’s skill as an author. I just read his latest–Summer House With Swimming Pool–and it’s quite similar–unlikeable characters, but a riveting plot.

    1. Great point! I actually didn’t even think about how unlikable Paul was when I wrote the review which I think makes for good writing on the authors part! 😀 OOH I have Summer House W SP and I did not pick up that was by the same author! Interesting.

  3. One of my friends loved this book but I wasn’t sure it was for me. I’m adding it to my audible wish list – your reviews have been responsible for that a lot lately 😉

  4. I’ve been seeing this one all over the place but haven’t known what it was about until now (thank you for not giving too much away!). It sounds like an intriguing read and I definitely think audio seems to be the way to go. Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Perfect Weekend Cooking post! WC is all about stretching posts to fit. 🙂 I’ve been wanting to read this and now I think I’ll go for audio. I’m in the mood for a little scary!

  6. Read this when it first came out. Very dark book with characters developing quite differently than you expect at the beginning. One of those books where you a sequel would be interesting.

  7. I found this to be a very tough book – really didn’t ‘enjoy’ it, but can recognize why so many readers rated it high. I listened to it, too. 🙂

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