The Dinner - Herman Koch 3.5 stars

Since this has been tagged as a "European Gone Girl", a book I really enjoyed, I went into this with a sense of what I wanted out of the book. As I was reading, I kept thinking that this book is also very similar to [b:Defending Jacob|11367726|Defending Jacob|William Landay||16298550]as well. So if you have read those books, no real surprises here.

The present action in the book takes place over the course of a meal in a pretentious Dutch restaurant as two brothers and their wives have a meal and attempt to have a discussion about their children. The whole book is told from the POV of one of the brothers, with flashbacks to the events necessitating the conversation. The pretentiousness of the restaurant is pounded into the reader, and frankly I began skimming through all discussions of the food on the plate.

None of the characters are all that likable, all are morally bankrupt in one way or another, and nothing good is going to come out of this conversation they are going to have. We know this because of the books that The Dinner has been compared to. We do get to view the slow unraveling of Paul's life and the uneasy relationships he has with his brother Serge, through Paul's recollections of events leading up to this night. As the evening progresses, the reader's initial impression of each character will likely change.

Dark and quirky, the story was good, but I kept feeling as though I had read it before. The slow pacing and the rushed ending left me a bit dissatisfied as well.