The Dinner by Herman Koch Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Dinner

Plot Summary Part 3

Serge announces that he is going to announce that he is withdrawing his candidacy for Prime Minister. What does this have to do with the price of tea in China?

Pay close attention. Serge says that his son Rick feels guilty that he has not been punished for killing the homeless woman. Serge wants Rick to come out and admit it so he can go to jail for manslaughter for a few years and ease his conscience. Naturally, if this happens Serge cannot run for prime minister. People won't want to vote for a guy whose son killed a homeless woman. So Serge is going to announce that he is not running so Rick can confess. This plan will, of course, implicate Michel too, which horrifies Claire and Paul.

Click here to see the rest of this review

Claire does not want to hand over Michel to a "lynch mob" and doesn't think a few years in prison is such a good idea. She will do anything she can to protect him and doesn't feel he should be punished for killing the homeless woman.

We get a flashback to another scene where Paul is called the principal's office where Michel goes to school. Michel wrote a paper saying that some criminals should be executed without a trial. This concerns the principal. Then the principal starts talking about how Paul lost his own teaching job because he was too nutty.  Paul's face starts to twitch. He gets up and starts beating the principal.

He punches him in the nose and there is a lot of blood.... it sprayed from his nostrils and splattered across his shirt and the desktop, and then on the fingers with which he pawed at his nose. By this time I had come around the desk and hit him in the face again, lower down this time. His teeth hurt my knuckles and they broke off. He screamed. "You dirt, filthy stinking pig," I said, before simultaneously planting a fist in his face and a knee in his gut."

This flashback is meant to give us a more extreme example of Paul's violence. Why Paul was never sent to prison for this is never explained.

Back in the present, we learn that Claire has told Michel to do "whatever is necessary" to stop Faso from exposing him. Claire even creates a situation where she pretends to talk to Michel on the phone at a certain time to give him an alibi. Because in reality, Michel is not on the phone with Claire, he is with Faso beating the crap out of him. Michel returns with blood dripping from his body. Faso is gone, either chased away or dead.

Meanwhile, Claire orders Paul to disfigure Serge's face so he will not hold his press conference to announce his resignation.

Click below for more about The Dinner by Herman Koch
Plot pg1 Plot pg2 Plot pg3 Plot pg4
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian