Satiating My Hunger

20140106-084142.jpgI wasn’t sure what to expect with Herman Koch’s The Dinner. I flipped through it and realized that the whole story was going to take place in one evening.

But once I started reading, I was hooked. Translated from Dutch, The Dinner is about, well, a dinner. One between two brothers and their wives, set in a high-end restaurant in Amsterdam. While the reader first believes that it’s just a routine dinner where brothers visit and catch up, more comes to the surface. Issues of wealth and appearance come through. Reflections on being the outsider come to light. Families becoming happy and unhappy. These are just a few of the major themes that emanate with every page. And with these themes also comes some lovely writing (I realize I’m getting a translation, but I feel similar to how I do with every Murakami novel–I get sucked in immediately). I relate to Paul and his uneasiness about being at an overly-fancy restaurant, the reluctance of having to be on, be presentable for an evening. I want to follow whatever the narrator says, wherever he decides to go.

Not only does the dinner unravel in a fascinating way, our opinion of the narrator, Paul, leads us to feel uneasy about him. When I finished the novel, I had to think it over and understand my own feelings about what happened. Stories like that make me enjoy the purpose of the novel–challenging me in new ways.

I don’t want to give things away. I really want you to read it. Then, come talk to me and tell me what you think! We’ll meet in Amsterdam over dinner.