The Dinner by Herman Koch Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Dinner


Paul Lohman: Paul is the main character. He's a guy with anger issues. He likes to beat up people with little or no provocation.  He's also Dutch. This makes sense since this book takes place in Holland. We are never told, however, if the main characters wear wooden shoes or wear tulips on their lapels.


Michel Lohman: Paul's son. A chip off the old block. He thinks criminals should be executed without a trial and he killed a homeless woman by throwing a gas can at her and igniting it. (Though he didn't intend to kill her.) When Faso (see below) tries to blackmail him, he beats the crap out of Faso and perhaps even kills him.


Claire Lohman: Paul's wife. She decides, he obeys. Even though he is violent with others, Paul sits at attention like a puppy dog waiting for orders from her. She likes his violent ways. She will do anything to protect her son who killed a homeless woman. She carves up Serge's face like a steak to prevent him from incriminating Michel.

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Serge Lohman: Brother of Paul. A senior politician thinking of running for Prime Minister. When he finds out that Michel and his son Rick accidently kill a homeless woman, he wants to drop out of the race and get the kids to confess. He thinks it will be good for the kids to do some prison time because it will ease their conscience. He is a pompous politician who likes to be at the center of things.


Babette Lohman: Wife of Serge. Unlike Serge, she will do anything to protect her son from prison. If you know of Babar the elephant then you may wonder if she was named for elephants.


Faso: Faso is the adopted son of Serge. He is also called Beau but I will refer to him as Faso. He is a black boy from Africa, a country called Burkina Faso which is why they call him Faso. When he comes to Holland, he is given all the advantages of a modern life. When he sees Rick and Michel kill the homeless woman, he attempts to blackmail them for money.

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