Book review: The Dinner by Herman Koch

The Dinner by Herman Koch was a an odd, dark novel.  The book is told from Paul’s point of view and the plot is revealed through the course of a dinner, for the most part, through Paul’s memories and flashbacks.The other diners include Paul’s wife, Claire, Paul’s brother, Serge, and Serge’s wife, Babette.  Their sons are also characters in the book, even though they don’t attend dinner.

Readers tend to have a bias in that they trust the first person narrators.  Through Paul’s eyes, we see his brother as a boorish lout and Babette as spoiled.  As the evening progresses, we start to see faults coming out, especially in Paul.  In the end, all of the characters seem mentally unhinged … and comparatively, Serge doesn’t seem so bad.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but this is probably the first book I’ve read where I despised the first person narrator.  All in all, the book was a decent read because of the way it unfolded.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.