Book Review: The Dinner

The DinnerThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

While most people were introduced to Herman Koch through his novel The Dinner, I read  Summer House with Swimming Pool first and really liked it.  Most psychological thrillers usually involve a psychopath who really can’t function in society as a whole, Koch’s psychopaths are particularly high-functioning and that is what is so enthralling and alarming about his novels.

Koch got the idea for The Dinner while having dinner out on New Year’s Eve in Barcelona in 2005.  While observing everyone at the dinner table (a party of sixteen) he came up with the first two sentences and decided right then and there to write the book in five sections, Apertif, Appetizer, Main Course, Dessert, Digestif.  I found this fascinating in and of itself.  You can read more about Kock’s writing process in his essay entitled  The First Sentence.  The essay is at the back of the book and is as much a must read as The Dinner.

Koch’s novel moves quickly and is a fast-paced and easy read.  At 292 pages, it is extremely well-plotted.  Regular readers of this blog know that I have great disdain for mysteries and thrillers that I figure out the ending for before I get there.  No worries with this one.  The ending is spectacular and will blow you away at the genius of it.

2016 is off to a great start with The Dinner and  The Travelers by Chris Pavone.  This looks to be a great year for reading.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Details:  Published by Hogarth (October 29, 2013), 320 Pages, ISBN:  978-0385346856.

Book Review: Summer House With Swimming Pool

Summer HouseThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Herman Koch’s bestselling novel “The Dinner” had been on my to-read list since it first came out in 2013, so it was thrilling when a copy of “Summer House With Swimming Pool” landed in my hands.  The main character of “Summer House With Swimming Pool” is Dr. Marc Schlosser, a physician whose patients disgust him.   Into Dr. Schlosser’s office walks Ralph Meier, a big star, who finds Dr. Schlosser to be accommodating in writing whatever prescriptions he requests.

Marc Schlosser and Ralph Meier are not the only ones who hit it off.  At an evening out Ralph gives Caroline, Marc’s wife, lecherous looks just as Marc is sizing up Ralph’s wife, Judith. This little episode doesn’t amount to much at first, but things heat up when the Meiers invite the Schlosser family to visit their summer house with a swimming pool somewhere on the Mediterranean coast.   At the summer house are any number of men (young and old) with mean streaks who could commit violence.

“Summer House With Swimming Pool” reveals at the start that Ralph is dead and that Marc’s medical techniques contributed to his demise. If you are looking for an ideal book to dive into next to the beach (pun intended!) then this would be my pick for your next summer read.

Book Details:  Published by Hogarth (June 3, 2014), 387 pages, ISBN: 0804138818.