Short-listed, Specsavers National Book Awards, International Author of the Year, United Kingdom, 2012
Translated by Sam Garrett
Paul Lohman and his wife Claire are going out to dinner with Paul’s brother Serge, a charismatic and ambitious politician, and his wife Babette. Paul knows the evening will not be fun. The restaurant will be over-priced and pretentious, the head waiter will bore on about the organically certified free-range this and artisan-fed that, and almost everything about Serge, especially his success, will infuriate Paul.
But as the evening wears on it becomes clear that tonight’s dinner will be even more difficult than usual. There is something the two couples have to discuss. It’s about their teenage sons and the very bad things they have been doing.
And it’s about how far two sets of parents will go to save their children from the consequences of their actions.
‘Funny, provocative and exceedingly dark, this is a brilliantly addictive novel that wraps its hands around your throat on page one and doesn’t let go.’S.J. Watson
‘What a tremendous book. I loved every single gripping and strange thing about it.’M.J. Hyland
‘A heartstopping thriller, in which no one is innocent. Koch is brilliant at not letting the reader off the hook.’Niccolò Ammaniti
‘Are family values good? The Dinner will have you wondering. By the end, when all has become truly chilling, you’ll have to rethink everything, including who you are and what you believe. This is a book you won’t forget.’David Vann
‘Herman Koch’s The Dinner is a riveting, compelling and a deliciously uncomfortable read. Like all great satire it is both lacerating and so very funny. The Dinner got under my skin and punctured all my safe liberal smugness and pieties. Intelligent and complex, this novel is both a punch to the guts and also a tonic. It clears the air. A wonderful book.’Christos Tsiolkas
‘In this exploration of how two families deal with an explosive event, The Dinner is reminiscent of Christos Tsiolkas’s blockbuster The Slap.’Stephen Romei, Australian
‘What a wonderfully awkward, slow-burning, page-turning novel it turned out to be.’Melbourne Weekly
‘As much as The Dinner is a suspenseful story about teenage cousins Michel and Rick, it is equally the rich portrayal of the characters and their individual views that pin the reader to the page.’Courier Mail
‘Koch’s uncomfortable tale is a wonderful thriller, where the reader’s sympathies are forced to switch again and again, and where you race to a final outcome that is anything but what you might expect. Blackly funny, full of sharp edges and hot issues, and compulsively readable. Verdict: feast on this.’Herald Sun
‘The Dinner is a masterful, disturbing piece of theatre.’Age / SMH
‘Little wonder this literary degustation is an international best-seller….a cult movie in the making.’Australian Women's Weekly
‘Terrific, fascinating writing.’Otago Daily Times
‘You’ll need a cast-iron stomach to cope with the horrific details, but this meditation on middle-class dilemmas makes compulsive reading.’North & South