The Dinner by Herman Koch was a little slow in the beginning, but by the middle I was flipping pages as first as I could to see what would really happen and what was really going on.
Another plus for the novel is that it is entirely structured around one meal—even having sections of the book for the appetizer, the main course, dessert, etc. Interestingly, not only the dinner’s main course, but also main course of the novel was located in that portion. This part was literary genius.
Koch’s portrayal of family and ethics was chilling, and partly due to his portrayal is why I didn’t enjoy The Dinner. Koch’s novel seems to show that consequences can be avoided, and it provided a terrible example of what family can and should be.
The novel also fell flat on a few other levels. It was a little slow in the beginning and sometimes provided too much detail about the food. Also, as the novel progressed, the narrator grew less likeable and so when the novel finally concluded, I was surprised, chilled, but also just frustrated at the end result.
The writing is good and the plot fairly suspenseful, but the ethics of the characters left me unsatisfied.
FTC disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.