When I have mentioned that I was going to read this book I received a number of comments that made me think I wasn’t going to like it – that wasn’t strictly true, it was a good read but not enjoyable due to the horrific actions recounted.
Set across the course of a dinner in a Dutch restaurant two men sit down to discuss their sons. Paul and Serge, and their wives, Claire and Babette, meet for dinner in a swanky restaurant in Amsterdam. Each of the couples has a 15-year-old son and, we discover, the dinner has been arranged to discuss a horrifying act perpetrated by the two boys.
What follows is a shocking tale, and I don’t use that phrase lightly. This is not a simple tale of the boy’s transgressions but a journey back through time showing how earlier actions led to the need to have the dinner.
I found this book thought-provoking although it wasn’t what you could call an entirely enjoyable read. In short there were moments when I was genuinely shocked at the revelations on the page in front of me. I found it disturbing how my sympathy for the various characters changed totally with each piece of information casually revealed.
The root of this tale of how far should a parent go to protect their child? A ‘What would you do?’ sort of story. A look at what happens when certainties of middle-class are shattered. Don’t be deceived though, it is also more than that, an example of how the surface of a family can hide much darker undertones. I found the way that the truth of what has happened and why coming out over the course of a dinner a great setting. To then realise that I felt totally differently about the four diners at the end than I had at the beginning the mark of a clever author it’s just a shame that his characters were morally deficient.
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?
I am currently reading The Dying Hours by Mark Billingham
It’s been twenty-five years since Tom Thorne last went to work wearing the “Queen’s cloth” but now, having stepped out of line once too often, he’s back in uniform. He’s no longer a detective, and he hates it.
Still struggling to adjust, Thorne becomes convinced that a spate of suicides among the elderly in London are something more sinister. His concerns are dismissed by the Murder Squad he was once part of and he is forced to investigate alone.
Now, unable to trust anybody, Thorne risks losing those closest to him as well as endangering those being targeted by a killer unlike any he has hunted before. A man with nothing to lose and a growing list of victims. A man who appears to have the power to make people take their own lives.
I have just finished I Came To Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington
Click the book cover to see my review.
I think I will read The Dinner by Herman Koch
An evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet for dinner.
They need to discuss their teenage sons.
The boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on CCTV.
They remain unidentified – except by their parents.
How far will each couple go to protect their child?