Goodreads rating: 3.89
Date published: November 5th, 2013 (UK)
My rating: ★★★☆☆
A summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the delicate scraping of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of politeness – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays.
But the empty words hide a terrible conflict and, with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened… Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation; despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents.
As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children and, as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
The Dinner is, unfortunately, my first disappointment of the year. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not a bad book, it just didn’t meet my expectations 😔
I read Abby’s review of this book, and she absolutely loved it. It’s one of her biggest recommendations, so I was very excited to read it. However, it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.
Firstly, although it wasn’t genius, the plot had some potential. A family’s secrets and conflicts that are revealed to us as they eat dinner in a fancy restaurant. Sure, sounds intriguing. But it didn’t keep me interested at all. The revelations weren’t as bombastic as I expected them to be, so they fell a bit flat, in my opinion.
Koch writes in a way that reminded me of Ian McEwan – it has a literary fiction tone to it. There is one part where the author reveals something to us, but he doesn’t actually tell us what it is exactly, he just hints at it. I hate it when authors do that 😅 He also goes on about things that aren’t directly related to the plot, like social issues and the way people in higher social classes act. It bored me, to be honest, I just wanted to get to the juicy stuff.
Usually, when I start a thriller/mystery novel, I can’t put it down. In the reviews I read for The Dinner, people said they could not put this book down. However, I took several weeks to finish this book. I can’t put my finger on why exactly I didn’t even feel like reading it – it just didn’t grasp me, I guess.
One thing I really liked, however, was the element of the ‘unreliable narrator’. It adds something to the story because you can’t trust them, which is a nice touch. If you have any recommendations of books with unreliable narrators, definitely leave them in the comments, as I seem to enjoy them.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it definitely isn’t a book that I loved, which is a bummer. I really wanted to like it 😅
★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars
Have you read The Dinner? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments! ♡
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on The Dinner and if you’d like, check out my other book reviews!
Thank you so much for reading,
I’ll see you in my next post ♡