Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Dinner


This book takes place over the course of one meal; a dinner between two brothers and their wives. The narrator, Paul Lohman, tells the story from his dark point of view. His brother, Serge Lohman, asks his brother Paul and his wife Claire to join them for dinner to discuss something their 15 year old sons had done; a horrific crime that they have committed.

Initially, Paul appears so normal. He is a loving father and doting husband. He describes his family with affection. He does, however, describe his dislike for his politician brother. He describes him as egotistical; putting a bad taste in the reader's mouth... a ploy I soon discover. 

When the evening begins, the reader believes Claire and Paul have a loving marriage. The verbal conversation of Serge and his wife, Babette, is interpreted via eye contact and nonverbal messages between Claire and Paul. They sense discord and difficulties in their marriage and discuss it through looks, smiles, and smirks. As the course of the evening continues, the reader learns about Paul and Claire's back story; their marriage, their home life, their son's behavior, Paul's illness, and Claire's long term hospital stay.

Paul describes how he and Claire discovered what their son and nephew had done. The climax of the story comes to a head when they, as parents, decide what they are going to do about it.

I tore through this book in 2-3 sittings. I love stories full of dialogue, suspense, and psychology. This book is marketed as "A European Gone Girl" and now having finished it, I can see why. I gave this book 4/5 stars for readability, plot, and suspense. I read a few poor reviews of this book stating that none of the characters were likeable. I don't think that a book has to have likeable characters to have interesting characters. This is a book that will have many people talking. Definitely a great book club pick. Once you finish it you will immediately want to talk about it!


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