The Dinner

How far are you prepared to go as a parent to protect your own child?

How far does this parental protection go when this child has done something that cannot possibly be justified – something that can ruin his life, that can put him in prison for years?

Two married couples go out for dinner at a chic restaurant. They make small talk about subjects like the latest films and their holiday plans, before getting to the issue at hand: their sons’ future. These sons, Michel and Rick, have committed a heinous crime after a school party. The narrator of the story is Paul Lohman; Michel’s father. Paul wants to protect his son at all costs. He recognises a lot of himself in Michel, not lastly his proclivity for violence. He feels responsible for his son’s behaviour. The father of the other boy, Rick, the ‘hanger on’, is Paul’s brother Serge. According to the latest opinion polls Serge Lohman is set to become the new prime minister of the Netherlands in a few months. If the murder at the cash machine is revealed, it will cost him his political career.

Derived from a serious incident that happened in Barcelona in December 2005, The Dinner poses a universal question: how far are parents prepared to go to protect their children? To what extent are they prepared to create even more victims to protect their own child?

‘A brilliant tragicomedy about the elasticity of morality. The reader has to constantly readjust his radar.’Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung (Germany)
‘A groundbreaking book, clever and important. It is an ext remely funny, ‘shake awake’ book, that we probably need more than we’d like to know. I hope that there will be more translations of Herman Koch’s books. It will be a pleasure.’Nordjyske (Denmark)
‘An excellent thrilling book.’Blazer (Israel)

Books

The Herman Koch collection.

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