Summer House with Swimming Pool

( 47 )

Overview

The blistering, compulsively readable new novel from Herman Koch, author of the instant New York Times bestseller The Dinner.

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to ...

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Overview

The blistering, compulsively readable new novel from Herman Koch, author of the instant New York Times bestseller The Dinner.

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can't hide from the truth forever.

It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy.

Featuring the razor-sharp humor and acute psychological insight that made The Dinner an international phenomenon, Summer House with Swimming Pool is a controversial, thought-provoking novel that showcases Herman Koch at his finest.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 03/31/2014
In Koch’s equally devious follow-up to The Dinner, civilization is once again only a thin cover-up for man’s baser instincts. This time out, we meet Dr. Marc Schlosser, whose practice includes a new patient, veteran TV and stage actor Ralph Meier. At a party, Marc doesn’t like the way Ralph looks at his wife, Caroline. So when Marc and his family are invited to spend part of their vacation at Ralph’s summer house (with swimming pool), Marc reluctantly accepts. There, his family mingles with Ralph’s family, as well as houseguests Stanley Forbes, a film director, and his much younger girlfriend. The air is rife with sexual tension as Ralph showers too much attention on Marc’s underage daughter, Julia, and Marc toys with having an affair with Ralph’s wife, Judith. Then tragedy strikes. One year later, through a confluence of events, Ralph is dead and Marc is implicated. Over the course of the novel, the truth about what really happened that summer is revealed. Although Koch, by his own admission, is not a mystery writer, he once again succeeds on that count without ever stinting on literary quality. And though it’s a bit too long, make no mistake: very few real-world events will distract readers from finishing this addictive book in one or two sittings. (June)
From the Publisher
“Bound to satisfy fans of The Dinner…A new psychological thriller about nasty people on an opulent vacation.”—Boston Globe

“In Koch’s equally devious follow-up to The Dinner, civilization is once again only a thin cover-up for man’s baser instincts...Make no mistake: very few real-world events will distract readers from finishing this addictive book in one or two sittings.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[In The Dinner,] Koch’s wry wit and sardonic approach to marriage and children transformed a grisly act of violence into fodder for parental and ethical contemplation. Here, he once again probes the limits of parental protection…[and] continues to illuminate ways in which our Freudian unconscious takes dreadful revenge on the ego.”—Library Journal (starred review)

"Just as he did in his bestseller, The Dinner (2013), Dutch novelist Koch tells a sinister tale through the eyes of a questionable narrator...Koch's deft and nuanced exploration of gender, guilt, and vengeance make his second novel to be translated into English an absorbing read."—Booklist

“In this disquieting novel from Koch (The Dinner, 2013, etc.), sex, celebrity and medical ethics become inextricably tangled as a summer idyll goes nightmarishly wrong...A sly psychological thriller lurks within this pitch-dark comedy of manners.”Kirkus

"Herman Koch (The Dinner) dishes up another rich stew of language, character and cynicism...[with] a summer vacation mystery."—Shelf Awareness

Praise for Herman Koch’s The Dinner 

“A European Gone GirlThe Dinner, a sly psychological thriller that hinges on a horrific crime and its consequences for two families, has become one of spring’s most anticipated suspense novels.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Poised to shake up American publishing…Koch tells a story that could very well take away your appetite.” —USA Today.com

"[Koch] has created a clever, dark confection...absorbing and highly readable." —New York Times Book Review

“[A] deliciously Mr. Ripley-esque drama.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“You’ll eat it up, with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Koch’s ability to toy with the reader’s alliances while using one family’s distress to consider greater societal ills gives the novel a vital punch.” —Daily Beast

“A tart main course that explores how quickly the facade of civility can crumble. It's hard to digest at times, but with a thought-provoking taste that lingers.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“The novel has been called the Gone Girl of the Continent, and not without cause: Like Gillian Flynn’s bestseller, it’s a tale told by an unreliable narrator, full of twists and skillfully executed revelations, ultimately registering as a black parable about the deceptively civilized surface of cosmopolitan, middle-class lives…What Koch achieves with his prose—plain but undergirded by breathtaking angles, like a beautiful face scrubbed free of makeup — is a brilliantly engineered and (for the thoughtful reader) chastening mindfuck. The novel is designed to make you think twice, then thrice, not only about what goes on within its pages, but also the next time indignation rises up, pure and fiery, in your own heart.” —Salon.com

“Briskly paced and full of ingenious twists—a compulsive read…for those who can tolerate the unsavory company, The Dinner is a treat they’ll gulp down in one sitting.” —Dallas Morning News

The Dinner begins with drinks and dark satire, and goes stealthily and hauntingly from there. It's chilling, nasty, smart, shocking and unputdownable. Read the novel in one big gulp, and then make plans with friends—you’ll be desperate to debate this book over cocktails, appetizers, entrees, dessert…and then you still won't be done talking about it.” – Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl

“Funny, provocative and exceedingly dark, this is a brilliantly addictive novel that wraps its hands around your throat on page one and doesn’t let go.” – SJ Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep

“Herman Koch has written a sneakily disturbing novel. He lures us into his story with his unfailingly reasonable tone (just acidic enough to be entertaining), and before we know it we've found ourselves in places we never would've consented to go. The Dinner is a smart, amiably misanthropic book, and it's tremendous fun to read.” – Scott Smith, author of The Ruins

The Dinner is a riveting, compelling and a deliciously uncomfortable read. Like all great satire it is both lacerating and so very funny... Intelligent and complex, this novel is both a punch to the guts and also a tonic. It clears the air. A wonderful book.” – Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap

“What a tremendous book. I loved every single gripping and strange thing about it.” – MJ Hyland, author of Carry Me Down

“By the end of The Dinner you'll have to rethink everything, including who you are and what you believe. This is a book you won't forget.” – David Vann, author of Dirt

“Mesmerizing and disturbing… fast-paced and addictive…The Dinner, already a bestseller in Europe, is sure to find an enthusiastic American readership as well.” – Book Page

“This chilling novel starts out as a witty look at contemporary manners…before turning into a take-no-prisoners psychological thriller…With dark humor, Koch dramatizes the lengths to which people will go to preserve a comfortable way of life…this is a cunningly crafted thriller that will never allow you to look at a serviette in the same way again.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A high-class meal provides an unlikely window into privilege, violence and madness…Koch’s slow revelation of the central crisis is expertly paced, and he’s opened up a serious question of what parents owe their children, and how much of their character is passed on to them…a chilling vision of the ugliness of keeping up appearances.” - Kirkus

International Praise for The Dinner

“The perfect undemanding, credible, terrifying beach read.” Financial Times

‘‘[The Dinner] proves how powerful fiction can be in illuminating the modern world...The reader does not rise from his table happy and replete so much as stand up suddenly, pale and reeling. Bored with Fifty Shades of Grey and all that brouhaha? Read The Dinner—and taste the shock.” The Economist

“I’m confidently predicting that The Dinner will become this summer’s literary talk of the town—and the Twittersphere—here in the UK, as it already is in Continental Europe, where the novel has sold more than a million copies. Order yours now.” Evening Standard

“Shivers kept shooting up my backbone as I became engrossed in Koch’s darkly disturbing tale of family life. . .As the dinner disintegrates into mayhem, we discover just how far the middle classes will go to protect their monstrous offspring.” Daily Mail

“Rather like The Slap it is set to become a contentious must-read. It may thrill, chill or cheat, but it is undeniably riveting.” The Independent

“This tense and thought-provoking family drama is set to become a major literary talking point as it asks the question: Just how far would you go to protect your family?” The Bookseller

“Hugely accomplished and surprisingly subtle.” Readers Digest (UK)

Library Journal
01/01/2014
Dutch author Koch made his name with his sixth novel, The Dinner, an international best seller that hit the New York Times best sellers list, and this new book recalls his big success in plot and feel. Dr. Marc Schlosser is responsible for the death of famed actor Ralph Meier, though it only appears to be medical malpractice. When Marc's family stayed at Ralph's extravagant Mediterranean summer house, Marc's eldest daughter was raped, and the distraught doctor suspects either Ralph or film director Stanley Forbes, also a guest at the time. Koch's new book has sold 300,000 copies in Holland alone, and, interestingly, readers abroad seem either to love it or to hate it.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-04-03
In this disquieting novel from Koch (The Dinner, 2013, etc.), sex, celebrity and medical ethics become inextricably tangled as a summer idyll goes nightmarishly wrong. Dr. Marc Schlosser is a Dutch physician to the stars. Creative types seek him out because he'll turn a blind eye to their excesses and is liberal with prescriptions. His cynicism ensures a booming practice until one of his patients, a famous actor named Ralph Meier, winds up dead. Cornered by the authorities and Ralph's furious widow, Judith, Marc looks back to the previous summer, building suspense as he tries to pinpoint when and how everything went so awry. Crucial is his decision to take his wife and beautiful blonde daughters, ages 11 and 13, to stay at Ralph's summer home on the Mediterranean. Judith and the couple's two boys are also there, along with Judith's mother and a leathery film director with a scandalously young girlfriend. Despite the usual group vacation tensions—marital tiffs and glances that linger where they don't belong—sundrenched days are spent frolicking beside the pool. Then Marc's eldest daughter goes missing. In the shocking aftermath, he's left trusting nobody and bent on revenge. There is plenty to unnerve here. Marc seems far from reliable as a narrator, never mind a doctor, and sociopathic instincts underpin his stinging social observations. Larger-than-life Ralph, meanwhile, is a man of such rapacious appetites that even a trip to the beach sees him emerge from the waves brandishing a giant octopus for the grill. He actually licks his lips when he gazes at Marc's wife. Most disturbingly of all, amid distinctly European attitudes to nudity, Koch probes the way in which men—including those with daughters—look at young girls. A sly psychological thriller lurks within this pitch-dark comedy of manners, yet its ending manages to raise far more questions than it solves.
From the Publisher
New York Times Bestseller

“This is a novel of ideas (Have fun, book clubs)…[Koch] makes Nietzsche sound like Dale Carnegie.”—Janet Maslin, New York Times

“Caustic…Poisonous … I couldn’t stop reading this… Chapter by chapter, it is shockingly cynical and infected with a strain of humor so toxic that it should come with a bottle of Purell….Ghoulishly fascinating.”—Ron Charles, Washington Post

“The opening pages grab us with a mordant view of socialized medicine and a chilled insight into the anxieties of the flesh… Disturbingly good…Psychologically rich…Deftly paced...Compelling.”—USA Today

“Summer House With Swimming Pool is a gripping read, an assault of unexpected twists and thumbscrew-turning tension.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Sick, twisted—and more important—highly entertaining… Balmy temperatures and sunny skies won't stop the chill that runs up and down your spine as the story unfolds…A modern-day Agatha Christie… [This] could be the most talked-about book of the summer.”—Chicago Tribune

“Bound to satisfy fans of The Dinner…A new psychological thriller about nasty people on an opulent vacation.”—Boston Globe

"Twisty, thrilling."—New York Post

"There are all kinds of scary novels, and this one, out of the Netherlands, Herman Koch’s “Summer House With Swimming Pool,” is perhaps the most unsettling sort. It’s devilish...You'll be hooked."—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Gripping...Koch uses language like a stethoscope, so that we can hear the beating hearts of his characters and their visceral feelings of envy, love, fear and hatred...The novel anatomises our most unsavoury impulses with scalpel-like prose...For fans of thrillers such as Gone Girl, this should be the summer's essential reading."—The Guardian

"This book is horribly thrilling, and utterly entertaining. There is a manic clarity and gleefulness to its writing...Take this book to the beach, you'll be gripped and chilled."—The Independent

“In Koch’s equally devious follow-up to The Dinner, civilization is once again only a thin cover-up for man’s baser instincts...Make no mistake: very few real-world events will distract readers from finishing this addictive book in one or two sittings.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[In The Dinner,] Koch’s wry wit and sardonic approach to marriage and children transformed a grisly act of violence into fodder for parental and ethical contemplation. Here, he once again probes the limits of parental protection…[and] continues to illuminate ways in which our Freudian unconscious takes dreadful revenge on the ego.”—Library Journal (starred review)

"Just as he did in his bestseller, The Dinner (2013), Dutch novelist Koch tells a sinister tale through the eyes of a questionable narrator...Koch's deft and nuanced exploration of gender, guilt, and vengeance make his second novel to be translated into English an absorbing read."—Booklist

“In this disquieting novel from Koch (The Dinner, 2013, etc.), sex, celebrity and medical ethics become inextricably tangled as a summer idyll goes nightmarishly wrong...A sly psychological thriller lurks within this pitch-dark comedy of manners.”Kirkus

"Herman Koch (The Dinner) dishes up another rich stew of language, character and cynicism...[with] a summer vacation mystery."—Shelf Awareness

Praise for Herman Koch’s The Dinner 

“A European Gone GirlThe Dinner, a sly psychological thriller that hinges on a horrific crime and its consequences for two families, has become one of spring’s most anticipated suspense novels.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Poised to shake up American publishing…Koch tells a story that could very well take away your appetite.” —USA Today.com

"[Koch] has created a clever, dark confection...absorbing and highly readable." —New York Times Book Review

“[A] deliciously Mr. Ripley-esque drama.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“You’ll eat it up, with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Koch’s ability to toy with the reader’s alliances while using one family’s distress to consider greater societal ills gives the novel a vital punch.” —Daily Beast

“A tart main course that explores how quickly the facade of civility can crumble. It's hard to digest at times, but with a thought-provoking taste that lingers.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“The novel has been called the Gone Girl of the Continent, and not without cause: Like Gillian Flynn’s bestseller, it’s a tale told by an unreliable narrator, full of twists and skillfully executed revelations, ultimately registering as a black parable about the deceptively civilized surface of cosmopolitan, middle-class lives…What Koch achieves with his prose—plain but undergirded by breathtaking angles, like a beautiful face scrubbed free of makeup — is a brilliantly engineered and (for the thoughtful reader) chastening mindfuck. The novel is designed to make you think twice, then thrice, not only about what goes on within its pages, but also the next time indignation rises up, pure and fiery, in your own heart.” —Salon.com

“Briskly paced and full of ingenious twists—a compulsive read…for those who can tolerate the unsavory company, The Dinner is a treat they’ll gulp down in one sitting.” —Dallas Morning News

The Dinner begins with drinks and dark satire, and goes stealthily and hauntingly from there. It's chilling, nasty, smart, shocking and unputdownable. Read the novel in one big gulp, and then make plans with friends—you’ll be desperate to debate this book over cocktails, appetizers, entrees, dessert…and then you still won't be done talking about it.” – Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl

“Funny, provocative and exceedingly dark, this is a brilliantly addictive novel that wraps its hands around your throat on page one and doesn’t let go.” – SJ Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep

“Herman Koch has written a sneakily disturbing novel. He lures us into his story with his unfailingly reasonable tone (just acidic enough to be entertaining), and before we know it we've found ourselves in places we never would've consented to go. The Dinner is a smart, amiably misanthropic book, and it's tremendous fun to read.” – Scott Smith, author of The Ruins

The Dinner is a riveting, compelling and a deliciously uncomfortable read. Like all great satire it is both lacerating and so very funny... Intelligent and complex, this novel is both a punch to the guts and also a tonic. It clears the air. A wonderful book.” – Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap

“What a tremendous book. I loved every single gripping and strange thing about it.” – MJ Hyland, author of Carry Me Down

“By the end of The Dinner you'll have to rethink everything, including who you are and what you believe. This is a book you won't forget.” – David Vann, author of Dirt

“Mesmerizing and disturbing… fast-paced and addictive…The Dinner, already a bestseller in Europe, is sure to find an enthusiastic American readership as well.” – Book Page

“This chilling novel starts out as a witty look at contemporary manners…before turning into a take-no-prisoners psychological thriller…With dark humor, Koch dramatizes the lengths to which people will go to preserve a comfortable way of life…this is a cunningly crafted thriller that will never allow you to look at a serviette in the same way again.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A high-class meal provides an unlikely window into privilege, violence and madness…Koch’s slow revelation of the central crisis is expertly paced, and he’s opened up a serious question of what parents owe their children, and how much of their character is passed on to them…a chilling vision of the ugliness of keeping up appearances.” - Kirkus

International Praise for The Dinner

“The perfect undemanding, credible, terrifying beach read.” Financial Times

‘‘[The Dinner] proves how powerful fiction can be in illuminating the modern world...The reader does not rise from his table happy and replete so much as stand up suddenly, pale and reeling. Bored with Fifty Shades of Grey and all that brouhaha? Read The Dinner—and taste the shock.” The Economist

“I’m confidently predicting that The Dinner will become this summer’s literary talk of the town—and the Twittersphere—here in the UK, as it already is in Continental Europe, where the novel has sold more than a million copies. Order yours now.” Evening Standard

“Shivers kept shooting up my backbone as I became engrossed in Koch’s darkly disturbing tale of family life. . .As the dinner disintegrates into mayhem, we discover just how far the middle classes will go to protect their monstrous offspring.” Daily Mail

“Rather like The Slap it is set to become a contentious must-read. It may thrill, chill or cheat, but it is undeniably riveting.” The Independent

“This tense and thought-provoking family drama is set to become a major literary talking point as it asks the question: Just how far would you go to protect your family?” The Bookseller

“Hugely accomplished and surprisingly subtle.” Readers Digest (UK)

From the Hardcover edition.

The Barnes & Noble Review

The Dutch novelist Herman Koch has a merciless talent for trapping readers inside the minds of particularly unpleasant narrators. His 2012 novel The Dinner compelled us to view bourgeois Amsterdam through the eyes of a liar simmering with anger and contempt. And the protagonist in Summer House with Swimming Pool is an even more disturbing specimen. Marc Schlosser is a physician, a man we want to trust when we enter his consulting room. ''I take my time,'' Schlosser begins, ''…They think I give them more attention than other doctors. But all I give them is more time. By the end of sixty seconds I've seen all I need to know.'' Faking concern, Schlosser regards his rich and often famous clients with disdain and the human body with disgust. ''I don't want to see them,'' he admits, ''those parts where the sun never shines… I pretend to look but I'm thinking about something else.'' The ritual of the physical examination is sadistically described: ''Turn on your side. I pull the rubber gloves tighter over my fingers and further over my wrists. The sound of snapping rubber always reminds me of party balloons.'' With such graphic details coming in just the first few pages, Koch creates an atmosphere of creepy intimacy and inchoate menace that thickens as the plot unfolds.

This is an elegant revenge drama with a horrible twist, the machinery of which begins smoothly turning when a famous actor seeks Schlosser's advice. ''Now we're eighteen months down the road and Ralph Meier is dead,'' Schlosser recalls, ''…Something you might describe as a 'medical error.' '' The nature of that error is revealed only toward the end, in one of the novel's most chilling scenes (''I pushed the scalpel in until I reached healthy tissue… At this moment I was sowing something''), but at the outset Koch reveals just enough to snare the reader and sharpen the tension. On his deathbed, Meier apologizes to Schlosser, but for what? At Meier's graveside, his widow spits in Schlosser's face. Schlosser is called before the Board of Medical Examiners. It is on the eve of this showdown that Schlosser's narrative returns to the moment when the Meiers and Schlossers meet. Ralph eyes Schlosser's wife wolfishly; Schlosser casts a clinical eye on Judith Meier. The Meiers' son and the Schlossers' daughter are mutually attracted. Lying to his wife, Schlosser soon makes sure that the families run into each other on a Mediterranean vacation where the novel settles into a languorous rhythm that is violently broken when Schlosser's daughter is attacked. ''That evening, the rest of our lives began,'' Schlosser observes. ''…Everything gets heavier. Especially time.'' Koch is a nimble writer who makes few missteps (a digression into quasi-ethics, courtesy of a Professor Herzl, is one) as he subtly alters Schlosser's tone from sardonic flippancy to subdued rage that clouds his vision — and ours — until the final page. Even then, when holiday photographs take on a sinister significance (in a nod perhaps to Thomas Harris's Red Dragon), we cannot be certain of what we see.

Anna Mundow, a longtime contributor to The Irish Times and The Boston Globe, has written for The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, among other publications.

Reviewer: Anna Mundow

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804138819
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 22,823
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Herman Koch

HERMAN KOCH is the author of eight novels and three collections of short stories. The Dinner, his sixth novel, has been published in twenty-five countries, and was an international bestseller. He currently lives in Amsterdam.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 47 )
Rating Distribution

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(19)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 47 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Kids playing

    Bn, cant something be done to these blamed kids using the book review site as a chat room? Some of these posts are down right pornographic. They need to be banned from using the nook site altogether. I am sick of coming for a book review and finding nothing but a bunch of childish kid junk. Please ban these kids from using the book review site as a play room.

    41 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 24, 2014

    Summer House With Swimming Pool is the seventh novel by Dutch ac

    Summer House With Swimming Pool is the seventh novel by Dutch actor, television and radio producer, newspaper columnist and author, Herman Koch, and the second book to be translated into English. Dr Marc Schlosser, a General Physician whose patients appreciate the time he takes with them, is summoned to appear before the Board of Medical Examiners. One of his patients, celebrity actor Ralph Meier, has died, and a question hangs over his medical management. Some eighteen months earlier, Marc, his wife and two daughters spent a week at a Mediterranean summer house with Meier’s family, an ageing Hollywood director and his very young girlfriend. Most of Marc’s narration is spent recounting, in hindsight, the events of that vacation that led to a shocking climax, and its aftermath. Koch so cleverly crafts his story that the reader is left wondering exactly what crimes or misdeeds were committed during that summer interlude, and by whom. While Marc’s narration is entirely reliable, it is, of course, wholly biased, and it is equally apparent that others who contribute to the account of events have their own agendas. Many of the characters are easy to find loathsome or obnoxious and none is quite what they first seem to be. Marc demonstrates an ability to shift priorities and abandon responsibility with breath-taking ease, as well as a cold, calculating nature, which makes his actions seem thoroughly plausible. Koch’s novel touches on the Dutch medical system, paedophiles, what is appropriate treatment of sexual deviants, justice, revenge and taking the law into one’s own hands. It is a given that we cannot know mere acquaintances to any significant degree, but Koch’s novel will have the reader questioning just how well we can truly know those really close to us: our children, our parents and our spouses. Koch gives the reader some marvellously descriptive prose (his depiction of abscesses and tumours is particularly imaginative) and he inserts some moments of sharp (and occasionally quite dark) humour to relieve the building tension. Female readers will be grateful that not all men are this shallow and most readers will hope their doctor is not this cynical. This thought-provoking, powerful, and compelling read is flawlessly translated by Sam Garrett. A brilliant novel that stays with the reader long after the last page is turned.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2014

    Started well, but kind of fizzles at the end for me.  I wanted a

    Started well, but kind of fizzles at the end for me.  I wanted a good summer read, this sufficed for that.  It was a quick read, held your attention to the end as you want to know what really happened.  Still, I felt the strong start didn't continue to the end.  I really felt the end was just that, not a conclusion.  It's like the book was moving forward, and all of a sudden it was wrapped up and done.  The development of the plot just stopped.  It's like they ran out of paper.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    Not well done

    I bought this book to consider it for my book club. We are elderly but not shocked. This book was too preoccupied with sex without it being really important to the plot. The story was hard to follow among the various characters. Sorry but I would not recommend it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 5, 2014

    I did not enjoy.

    I had read The Dinner and was consequently prepared for the characters in this book to be just as unlikable. However, I wasn't prepared to feel so offended while reading. Like The Dinner, the plot is interesting and explores how individuals react to difficult situations and the often unethical choices they make. The author is a very good writer and presents these scenarios very well. What troubled me were the consistent negative depictions of and attitudes toward women. Women were reduced to sex objects and shown no respect. Even the youngest women were treated sexually. I'm hoping that the views in the book do not represent the author's own attitudes and are merely used for literary effect. If so, then the author was successful. I've heard good art is supposed to make you feel strong emotions. By that measure, this was a good book. The emotion I felt though was disgusted.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    New Fan

    Definitely the same guy that wrote The Dinner, but better story overall. Ending was subtle, but fantastic.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    Good but not Great

    I enjoyed the Dinner way more than this book. I stuck with it, but there were a few times I almost put it down for good.I didn't like the ending and some parts were just a little too gross for me. I didn't think that added to the story. I loved the Dinner though so I am hoping maybe his next book will be better.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Superb!! For the intelligent reader only, one who appreciates s

    Superb!! For the intelligent reader only, one who appreciates subtlety and undercurrents. A marvelous story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2014

    terrible

    This is the most horrible book I have read in along time. The title suggests an easy light summer beach read, instead it is a very dark read about a very dysfunctional father, who as a doctor should know better. I will never read any of this author's books again.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2014

    Dr. Marc Schlosser seems stuck in a rut. He sees patient as if i

    Dr. Marc Schlosser seems stuck in a rut. He sees patient as if in a self-inflicted fog where it is almost as if he is completely outside
    himself and what is going on in the examination room. Mid-life crisis? Maybe? Not Sure, but he prescribes and prescribes his patients
    to death, play on words there not literally to death. Then one day in walks Ralph Meier, a famous actor, who he prescribes and
    prescribes to, and well Ralph ends up dead, but not from the pills even though they helped mask the symptoms of what was really
    wrong with him. No Ralph really ended up dead because Dr. Marc, which I can call him because he seems like the type of doctor who
    wants to be considered cool so you could call him by his first name but don't forget the title Dr. for that is what makes him even cooler,
    purposely doesn't send in a biopsy, a biopsy he shouldn't even have done in his office but instead a specialist should have done it in a
    hospital. So Dr. Marc was extremely negligent and his patient dies. Is that all you say? No, don't worry there is a reason he threw the
    biopsy that he shouldn't even have done away in the garbage like throwing away a banana peel. Ralph is charismatic and Dr. Marc is
    swayed by his charms. Ralph invites Dr. Marc and his family, wife Caroline, and two teenaged daughters, Lisa and Julia, to a barbecue
    where it seems like they all hit it off and generally like each other but Caroline isn't fooled by the famous actors smooth ways and is
    actually disgusted by the way he looks her up and down and makes perverted jokes around her. But Dr. Marc is in to deep and cannot
    get past the fact that "Ralph Meier" is not only his patient but is becoming his friend. Ralph invites the whole Schlosser family to their
    summer house and guess what? It has a swimming pool! Bet you didn't guess, lol! From there everything get a little weird and the
    tension in the air is so thick you could slice it with a butter knife. I won't go into much detail here but let you read it for yourself but I will
    let you know that a tragedy does ensue with one of his daughters, don't worry you won't need tissues she doesn't die but a violent
    incident does occur. Who could have done a thing like this? Was it Ralph?? Was it the American director staying at the summer house
    to? No one knows but Dr. Marc has his suspicions so he throws away Ralph's biopsy and this Dr. Marc knows will lead to Ralph's
    death. But a shocking death bed confession sends Dr. Marc reeling when he realizes he sent the wrong man to his death? This novel
    makes you struggle with the "what if's?" in life. What if you thought someone had hurt your child and you held his/her life in your hands.
    What would you do? Would your sense of revenge and some sort of justice overtake your sense of right and wrong with your moral
    conscience screaming at you. I did have some trouble reading this book there is a disconnected feeling I get when I read translated
    books. I had the same issue when I read Stieg Larsson's books, there just seems like there is a coldness from the author, like he is
    telling the story standing as far back from the content as possible. I don't know if that makes any sense to any of you but it is just
    something I felt so I thought I should definitely share that feeling with you in this review. However, that doesn't take away from the
    content of these translated works. 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2014

    Herman Koch is a terrific writer. I really felt like I knew the

    Herman Koch is a terrific writer. I really felt like I knew the characters - they weren't silhouettes as in so many novels today. Also, he has a sardonic, hilarious sense of humor, and his insights into people are never "politically correct", which is refreshing, but acutely perceptive.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    Don't bother

    Not what I expected. The doctor was the most callous, cynical doctor ever. Weak plot. Lots of rambling. Was a chore to finish. Found myself skimming just to get to the end, which was a HUGH LET DOWN. DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME with this one. A depressing book. Not one likeable person in the entire book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2014

    Perfect summer read

    Will become THE book to read this summer.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2014

    Believe the reviews

    Disappointing but it did put me to sleep at night

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  • Posted August 31, 2014

    Very Disappointing!

    Disappointing! The author went on and on and on....quite a few soliloquies. So much if the time it was TMI, not revel ant to the story in my opinion. It was hard for me to keep reading, but I needed to get to the disappointing, predictable end!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2014

    Strange, but very good.

    Started out a bit slowly, but turned out to be a very good read. I really enjoyed it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    Excellent!!

    A thoroughly enjoyable story that is engrossing & even informative since it concerns

    a doctor & his diagnoses in some cases but also an interesting story. This book

    was, in my opinion, better than his last book, The Dinner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    Great read!!

    This book was a very intriguing read! Much like "The Dinner" , Herman Koch has a captivating story line. I would highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2014

    Not what I thought it would be

    Maybe my misjudgment, but the book is alright

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2014

    Waste of time and money.

    I didn't even finish this book. Prepared for characters to be unlikable but not this bad. Sex is fine but the amount in here is totally unrelated to anything. Very sloooooow going.

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