Author

Herman Koch

Herman Koch (b. 1953) made his debut with the story collection De voorbijganger (The Passer-by, 1985) in which the protagonists are misunderstood loners struggling with their surrounds. His first novel, a huge success, was Red ons, Maria Montenelli (Save Us, Maria Montenelli, 1989), a mixture of confession and tirade, in the style of Salinger, about a victim of Montessori education and the swank of South Amsterdam. In his subsequent novels he developed into an ironic-realistic writer relating dramas worth telling. His central characters are burdened by their empty existence, they feel unjustly treated and search for a way out either through other people’s stories (Eindelijk oorlog / War At Last, 1998), a temporary stay abroad (Eten met Emma / Eating With Emma, 2000) or dangerous friendship (Odessa Star, 2003). In Denken aan Bruce Kennedy (Thinking of Bruce Kennedy, 2005) Koch found his form: the tragicomedy.

The Dinner

The Dinner

(Anthos, 2009, 301 pages)

Four people. One dinner. An unavoidable decision. The blurb for Herman Koch’s new novel sounds like a film trailer and the reader is not disappointed. The story of a father wanting the best for his child unfolds like a tightly directed family drama with black edges, in which at every turn a little more of the underlying reality is revealed. How far will the father go to protect his son after he finds out what terrible thing the boy has done? Far, is the answer.

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Summerhouse with Swimming Pool

Summerhouse with Swimming Pool

(Anthos, 2011, 381 pages)

Doctors are unassailable. Their patients, with all their secrets, are delivered up to them body and soul. Marc Schlosser, the central character in Herman Koch’s Summerhouse with Swimming Pool, is a family doctor to the rich and famous, and behind his mask of solicitude a heartless cynic.

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Translated books