The Dinner by Herman Koch Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Dinner


Crazy people shouldn't have babies. Paul has uncontrollable anger and so does Michel. When Claire sees the nutty kid they've produced, she closes her legs and tells Paul that the production line has closed permanently.

Boys shouldn't have girl names. Paul names his son Michel but that is a girl's name. You have to wonder if he would have turned out better if he had been given a real man's name.

Adopted children will stab you in the back when they get old enough. Faso is raised out of poverty, clothed, and fed, given parents, and he repays all that by blackmailing his adoptive parents' son. They all wonder if Faso would have been this cruel if he had been their biological child.

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Moms will do anything to protect their children. Claire mutilates Serge's face with a broken wine glass to prevent him from revealing that Michel killed a homeless woman, and orders Michel to beat the crap out of Faso, who is blackmailing him. Claire is fanatical about protecting her son.

Homeless people shouldn't piss off normal people. Some homeless people act like they own whatever part of the sidewalk they claim. It is called public property for a reason. The homeless lady who camped out in the ATM inconvenienced everyone else who wanted to use the ATM for its intended purpose. She should not have been burned to death but she should have been more considerate of the needs of others. Bathing would also have improved the situation.

Youtube lets people be exhibitionists. People who commit crimes like to upload them to the internet. They are not only not ashamed of what they did but want the admiration of the world! Michel filmed a video of him beating up a homeless lady-not only was he not ashamed, but he was proud of it. Faso was the one who uploaded the incident with the homeless lady as a form of blackmail, and the video got an instant following.

Some husbands know their wives very well. Throughout the book Paul studies his wife's face like an obedient puppy, sensitive to every crease and every eye movement. He knows what it all means because he knows her so well. But he also acts like he's whipped because he obeys every eye movement.

Liberals and leftists can be among the most violent of people. At the beginning when you see Paul and Claire moan about racism you think they are very progressive liberals. And they are. But at the same time these are the same two people who beat up people when they get angry and cut people's faces with wine glasses. Leftists are among the most violent of people. It's a scientific fact.

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