The Dinner by Herman Koch
On a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. At first, the conversation is a gentle hum of small talk — the banality of work, the latest movies they’ve seen. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a 15-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act, one that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children, and as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
Here’s what Gillian Flynn, bestselling author of Gone Girl, has to say about this riveting novel: “‘The Dinner’ begins with drinks and dark satire, and goes stealthily and hauntingly from there. It’s chilling, nasty, smart, shocking and unputdownable. Read the novel in big one gulp, and then make plans with friends — you’ll be desperate to debate this book over cocktails, appetizers, entrees, dessert…and then you still won’t be done talking about it.”
Hogarth/Random House; ISBN 978-0-385-34685-6; $14.