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am 15. August 2012
The novel's action takes place within a few hours, in- and outside a very posh restaurant in the eastern part of Amsterdam, not far from the former Ajax-stadium. Two brothers, Paul and Serge and their wives Claire and Babette meet, prompted by Serge, to discuss a situation regarding their children. A brutal killing in Paul's neighborhood was recorded on a smart phone and put on You Tube. On a nation-wide crime programme, the pictures shown are grainy, but Serge is convinced their sons were the perpetrators...
Paul is the cynical raconteur of a novel that gradually becomes rather disturbing. What he does in life remains long unclear. But his older brother Serge is the opposition leader in parliament, and elections are looming. The two couples have 4 children: Paul and Claire have Michel(15). Serge and Babette have Rick (15), little Valerie (13) and Beau (14-17?), adopted from Burkina Faso.
Technically, "The Dinner" follows the five courses when dining out, starting with the Aperitif(1) and ending with the Tip(5). In each chapter/course of this very private dinner, small bursts of information are released about the pasts of these diners. Throughout, our guide Paul expresses his disdain for his brother and the hyper-trendy restaurant his brother managed to book so fast. After the Entry(2), Paul steps out briefly to talk to his son Michel. A first flashback follows about Paul's past. He is a former history teacher, who relies since Michel's fourth year on medication to maintain balance.
"The Dinner" starts strongly, never weakens or falters, and page by page becomes more intriguing. No brand names, no side paths, just mounting suspense and horror.