Herman Koch’s internationally bestselling phenomenon, The Dinner
The darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives—all over the course of one meal.
Advance U.S. Praise for The Dinner
An Economist Book of the Year Selection!
“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 one big 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.” —Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
“This chilling novel starts out as a witty look at contemporary manners in the style of Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage before turning into a take-no-prisoners psychological thriller. . . With dark humor, Koch dramatizes the lengths to which people will go to preserve a comfortable way of life. . . A cunningly crafted thriller.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Expertly paced . . . a chilling vision of the ugliness of keeping up appearances.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Koch’s organic style makes for a continuously engaging read that, if anything, leaves readers wanting more. . . What is here will no doubt stir some heady debates.” —Booklist
Already an international bestseller that has sold more than one million copies in twenty-five countries, Herman Koch’s delectably dark, eerily unsettling novel THE DINNER is poised to take America by storm. Readers and critics around the world have found themselves completely transfixed by this clever and addictive read. The Economist said that Koch “proves how powerful fiction can be in illuminating the modern world . . . read The Dinner and taste the shock.” On February 12, 2013, Hogarth will publish THE DINNER, and we are delighted to invite an American audience to the table with Koch’s English-language debut.
THE DINNER begins innocently enough: two couples sit down for a meal at a sophisticated Amsterdam restaurant. From the opening pages we know they are there to discuss something important, but what exactly that is, Koch doesn’t let on right away. Like an onion slowly being peeled away layer by layer, each new course reveals a little bit more about the secrets lurking beneath the pleasantries. Introduced to these characters by our charming and witty narrator Paul, we learn that the other gentleman at the table is his brother, Serge, a rising politician. Paul makes it clear that neither couple particularly enjoys the company of the other, however, circumstances have brought these four together to discuss their fifteen-year-old sons. These boys have done something truly shocking, and the decisions made over this meal will change the lives of both families forever. As the night progresses, the pressure of things unsaid begins to rise to the surface and we witness civility gradually disintegrate between the two parties. Each couple is fighting for their own child and their own, carefully constructed way of life. Like a fellow diner eaves-dropping from the next table, Koch pulls his reader into this familial drama and asks unsettling questions: How well do we really know those closest to us? And, if we were truly tested, just how far would we go to protect them? And ourselves?
In the spirit of controversial novels like We Need to Talk About Kevin, Defending Jacob, The Slap, and God of Carnage, THE DINNER is a morally disturbing, psychologically suspenseful family drama laced with acerbic social commentary, sure to generate debate. Koch’s sharp wit and provocative satire chips away at the veneer of genteel society, exposing the raw material underneath and leaving the reader uncomfortably pondering our basest motivations, morals, and sense of self. With taut writing and propulsive prose, THE DINNER pulls you in and holds you transfixed and unnerved in your seat. After you reach the breathtaking ending, you’ll be dying to talk about it with everyone you know.
About the Author
Herman Koch is the author of seven novels and three collections of short stories. The Dinner, his sixth novel and the first to be translated into English, has been published in twenty-five countries, and was the winner of the Publieksprijs Prize in 2009. He currently lives in Amsterdam.