The Dinner by Herman Koch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A "laid off schoolteacher". Murdering teenage boys. A mom who will spend time in jail to protect her son's secret. A political candidate and father of one of the said murdering teenagers. A weeping, scene-making wife of said political candidate. A dinner at a high-brow restaurant. The components of The Dinner. And what a dinner it was!
Okay, here is the disclaimer. Not everyone is going to like this book. It is not a happy book. Its not a funny book either. What it is is an excellent bookclub selection. (Plenty of moral dilemmas and nasty characters for book-clubbers to hash out.) Its also a quick read or listen, which I highly recommend.
So why read it? For the masterful writing. Koch plays with the readers' emotions, teasing the reader along, pulling back from lifting the lid on a morsel of information they crave. He peppers information throughout the course of the dinner. Speaking of the dinner, the fact that an entire story could be written about what takes place during the course of one dinner amazes me. Koch pulls it off.
Why else should you read it? For the unreliable narrator. Really. If Koch had chosen any of the other members of the dinner party as narrator, it wouldn't have worked half as well. (Not that any of them would be reliable narrators either.) The narrator, Paul Lohman, gains the reader's confidence in the beginning of the book. Former schoolteacher, father, middle class...nice guy, right? Well, I'll leave that for you to find out. After all, I did tell you he was an unreliable narrator.
One more thing I want to mention. This book is billed as the "European Gone Girl". Now, I haven't read Gone Girl, but many people have. The reviews I've read of those who have read both books say this book is not a Gone Girl. It seems the similarity lies in the fact that both contain a full menu of nasty characters.
Is this book one you will want to read? I don't know. But I can tell you that I had no problem finding motivation to devour it!
View all my reviews
The Fun Parts by Sam Lipsyte
The Climber Room: The sign in the Sweet Apple kitchen declared it a nut-free zone...
The Dungeon Master: Is there life after video games?
Deniers: The Ballad of Craig and Mandy...
The Republic of Empathy: First short story I ever read with multiple narrators...
The Wisdom of the Doulas: Doulas or doulos, does gender determine the spelling?
Snacks: Obese boys, gym class, Need I say more?
The Worm in Philly: A children's story about Marvelous Marvin Hagler?
Expressive: Folks say I have one of those faces.
Ode to Oldcorn: Oldcorn was a shot-putter from the hippie days.
The Appointment Occurs in the Past: Grilled steaks and a fateful meeting on a roof...
Peasley: The Man Who Killed the Idea of Tanks in England says...
Nate's Pain is Now: Nobody loves an author on the way down...
The Real-Ass Jumbo: The world would end. The brink beckoned. A bright guy might as well pick a date.
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
|Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. Helen Keller|
With the advent of Spring, I went scurrying to my bookshelves to look for "bird books" to read. These ones were warbling to me to read them soon. If you have read any of these, leave a comment to let me know if they left you singing.
|Title||Last Name||First Name||Genre||What is it About?|
|A Guide to the Birds of East Africa||Drayson||Nicholas||Fiction||Widower, Mr. Malik, is secretly in love with birdwalk guide, Rose Mbikwa|
|Bird Brains||Savage||Candace||Non-Fiction||Crows are not dumb!|
|Bird by Bird||Lamott||Anne||Non-Fiction||Anne on writing…|
|Birds Without Wings||Berneires||Louis||Fiction||A colorful village in the Ottoman Empire faces a new world.|
|Bridge of Birds||Hughart||Barry||Fiction||Fantasy quest set in ancient China|
|The Hummingbird's Daughter||Urrea||Luis||Fiction||A young girl wakes from a dream with power to heal|
|The Snoring Bird||Heinrich||Bernd||Non-Fiction||Humorous memoir of the author's naturalist father|
|The Spectator Bird||Stegner||Wallace||Non-Fiction||A look at his mother's journals send Joe Allston on a journey back in time.|
|Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs||Stegner||Wallace||Fiction||Essays about the American West|
Keeping with the theme, the list below is composed of newly-released or soon-to-be released books that are on my radar. Anything here that will spring to the top of your list?
|Title||Last Name||First Name||Genre||Pages||Pub Date|
|Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed||Melton||Glennon||Memoir||288||3/2/2013|
|Birth of an Opera||Rose||Michael||Non-Fiction||441||3/18/2013|
|Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli and Me||Volk||Patricia||Memoir||304||4/2/2013|
|Mom and Me and Mom||Angelou||Maya||Memoir||224||4/2/2013|
|Bolivar: American Liberator||Arana||Marie||Biography||624||4/9/2013|
|Carrie and Me: Mother, Daughter Love||Burnett||Carol||Memoir||224||4/9/2013|
|The Little Way of Ruthie Leming||Dreher||Rod||Memoir||288||4/9/2013|
|A California Childhood||Franco||James||Memoir||160||4/9/2013|
|Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath||Winder||Elizabeth||Memoir||272||4/16/2013|
|Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze||Harmsen||Peter||History||320||4/19/2013|
|A Constellation of Vital Phenomena||Marra||Anthony||Fiction||400||5/7/2013|
|Blood of Gods||Iggulden||Conn||Fiction||464||5/23/2013|
"Books my friends/family told me I had to read!" is next. The alphabet challenge and (I)ndia will be appearing soon...