In the upcoming Sunday NYT Book Review, Claire Messud begins her review of The Dinner (RH/Hogarth; AudioGo; Thorndike Large Print) by observing, “North American readers care inordinately that fictional characters be likable,” and warns that there “is a bracing nastiness to this book that grows ever more intense with the turning of its pages. It will not please those who seek the cozy, the redemptive or the uplifting.” She concludes with an arresting image; Koch “has created a clever, dark confection, like some elegant dessert fashioned out of entrails.”
Americans have demonstrated an appetite for more than the cozy and uplifting. The Dinner is now a verifiable success (3 weeks in the top ten on the NYT best seller list), so it’s no surprise to learn that Random House’s Hogarth Press, which published The Dinner here, plans to release another book by Koch next year, Summerhouse with Swimming Pool, originally published in Dutch in 2011.
The publisher describes it as, “set on the Mediterranean coast, where an acerbic doctor, his celebrity client, and their families spend an idyllic week that takes a sinister turn when the doctor’s teenage daughter is attacked, leading to an untimely death that may or may not be the doctor’s fault.”
A group of people, at least of one of whom has questionable motives, brought together in a single place for a limited period of time? Sounds like we are in for some more “bracing nastiness.”