A summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the delicate scraping of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of politeness – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays. But the empty words hide a terrible conflict and, with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened… Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation; despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children and, as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
I have been wanting to read this book for some time now, but I was very disappointed. It follows the dinner of 2 couples, but there is so much jumping from one place to another in the life of the main character, Paul, following parts of his life which really don´t seem to have anything thing to do with the main storyline which is a moral dilemma and this is the reason the 2 couples have got together. They have different opinions on what to do with their dilemma and this creates friction with them. The dilemma itself was the best part of the story and will make people will think about what they would do in a similar situation. The writing is also a little pushed, one is this and one is that. I don´t know if it was the translation (the original is dutch) or if it was written like that. The characters are just terrible, I didn´t like any of them.
It is a fairly dark novel which I normally enjoy but there was too much fluff going on that has nothing to do with the main story line. Luckily, it is a short book and I was able to finish it quickly and move on to the next book.
Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Hogarth (first published 2009)
original title: Het diner
edition language: English
setting: Amsterdam (Netherlands)
literary awards: Publieksprijs voor het Nederlandse Boek (2009)