“We were going out to dinner. I won’t say which restaurant, because next time it might be full of people who’ve come to see whether we’re there. Serge made the reservation. He’s always the one who arranges it, the reservation.”
By Herman Koch
Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett
Two couples meet at an upscale restaurant in Amsterdam to discuss their children. Over the course of the evening meal, as each delicious plate comes out, the conversation turns more strained and secrets are revealed.
The two men, Paul and Serge are brothers. Paul is a former school teacher married to Claire. Serge is a local politician married to Babette. The two couples each have 15 year old sons who have committed a horrifying act of violence.
As dinner progresses not just are the actions of the boys alarming but the parents’ reactions are equally horrifying. Their justifications and reasoning make you wonder if these are the type of parents these kids grew up is it any wonder that the kids committed a crime?
I don’t want to write too much about the crime itself because I don’t want to spoil this read for you but this was a book that had me on the edge of my seat. What is even more alarming I think is that I could imagine something like this happening. Criminal acts occur all the time as well as those committed by young adults and children. Not only that but it does make you think what would you do? Would you do the right thing? And, what is the right thing, protecting your loved ones, making amends?
I found the story very original and a story full of questions for discussion which would make this an excellent book group choice. I would definitely like to read more books by this author.
Source: Personal copy