Herman Koch's The Dinner unfolds over a five-course meal at a posh restaurant in Amsterdam. Two Dutch couples engage in entirely banal conversation until it becomes apparent that something much bigger is being communicated. As the story unfolds, voice mails and flashbacks unveil an image of two families that is as compelling as it is disturbing. With carefully-revealed details, Koch forces readers to acknowledge the inherent manipulation that takes place within families. He also confronts the moral ambiguity about truths we withhold from each other, for each other. Be warned that this isn't a book full of characters you'll like and it might cause you to wonder about fellow diners next time you eat in a restaurant. But if you can get through the difficult subject and the deeply uncomfortable narration/point-of-view, you're in for an engaging read. In The Dinner, Koch has taken a simple meal and constructed a family drama that is dark, suspenseful and surprisingly well-crafted.
Meeting at a restaurant for dinner, two couples move from small talk to the shared challenge of their teenage sons' violent act that has triggered a police investigation and revealed the extent to which each family will go to protect those they love.