What I’m Reading…”The Dinner”, by Herman Koch

I looked, as I said before, at Claire’s face in profile. If she turned her head and looked at me, I would know. Then she would have seen the same thing I did.

Claire turned her head and looked at me.

I held my breath–or rather, I took a deep breath, so that I could be the first to say something. Something–I didn’t know exactly which words I would use–that would change our lives.

Claire held up the bottle of red wine: there was only a bit left in the bottom, just enough for half a glass.

“Do you want this?” she asked. “Or should I open another one?”

Though it started slow, I finished the last 2/3 of the book in one sitting. My co-worker likens this novel to Gone Girl, and though the plots of those two books haven’t much in common, I think it’s a solid comparison. I slogged my way through Gone Girl because I was assured that the payoff would, in the end, be worth it. I didn’t think it was.

In The Dinner, the payoff is worth it. The story doesn’t so much unfold as slowly unravel, as details that were present all along come into sharper focus under the light of new information. The final picture is horrible, but just the sort of tragedy you can’t look away from.

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