Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Dinner -- Herman Koch -------------------------------- 3.5 Stars

So, it's that time of summer where it's a bit of a challenge to find an interesting book.  Sure, there are plenty of good ones supposedly but when there is only a very finite amount of time to give to reading, you have to pick carefully.  Do you want to do a 1,000 pager?  Not really.  How about only non-fiction?  Fine with me but probably best to mix it up with some real literature from time to time.  So when I heard that Herman Koch's The Dinner was booked as a 'European Gone Girl', I was in.

Let's be clear early on, this book is, in some ways, like Gone Girl but it is not nearly as good.   They both have a very similar style to them and follow a very fun little routine.  If you've read either, you know what I'm talking about.  The story starts out pretty nonchalant with everything seemingly above board.  All the characters seem like they are really quite normal and nice and everything is going swimmingly with not any real questions of danger or concern.   Then, of course, things slowly start to unravel.  Small things start to become bigs ones and all of a sudden you start thinking to yourself "wow, there's some really weird stuff going on". 

This book follows the story line mentioned above.  In this case, it all seems fine with a typical European wife and husband going out for dinner with the husband's brother-in-law.  As they have dinner, though, we get some flashbacks to some previous events that occurred between their two families and all of a sudden I'm thinking to myself, "What a second, things are really getting strange... could it really be __________________?"

So, obviously, the book is a bit of a mystery that you need to read to find out more info. about.  It's a pretty fun read but it does start awfully slowly and takes much longer to 'get into it' than Gone Girl.  It's not nearly as gruesome either but it does have some great twists and is a super easy read.  Between it being a very short overall story, lots of dialogue, and the simplicity of being able to follow it, I was able to finish it in only a week or two.

I do encourage people to pick it up.  It's quite entertaining, and if you are a fan of Gone Girl or any stories with some good twists, you will enjoy this one.  Just remember that it's not the real McCoy and take your time to read some other mysteries before you get to this one. 

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