Three books to make you uncomfortable

Tis the season of the beach read, and nothing says beach read like HitlerΒ and slavery.


TITLE: Summer House With Swimming Pool
AUTHOR: Herman Koch
PAGES: 387 (in paperback)
ALSO WROTE: The Dinner
SORTA LIKE: Tom Perrotta meets Bret Easton Ellis
FIRST LINE: “I am a doctor.”

Summer House With Swimming Pool is Koch’s second novel translated into English from the original Dutch (I reviewed the first, The Dinner, a few weeks ago). Like The Dinner, SHWSP is a creepy suspenseful family drama involving parents’ actions when it comes to their children.

Doctor Marc Schlosser and his familyβ€”wife Caroline and daughters Julia and Lisaβ€”find themselves becoming friends with Marc’s patient, famous actor Ralph Meier, and his family, whom the Schlossers ultimately join on a vacation at the Meier’s summer house. While Marc wiles away his vacay passively loathing Ralph (while half-assedly wooing Judith), both families are suddenly affected by a tragic event that forces them to contend with their true feelings about each other.

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The Frank And Claire Underwood of Amsterdam


Every single person in The Dinner, Herman Koch’s 300-page bottle episode of a psychological thriller, is just the absolute worst.

Set in Amsterdam (the book is translated from its original Dutch), The Dinner is about two couples who go to a fancy dinner together to discuss a pressing matter involving their respective children. Paul Lohman, attending the evening’s festivities with his wife Claire, is a former teacher with a petulant attitude and an impatient streak, both of which he exercises freely against his brother Serge, who, along with his wife Babette, makes up the rest of the dinner party. Serge’s burgeoning candidacy for Netherlands prime minister is but one of many things about him that irks the shit out of Paul.

Continue reading “The Frank And Claire Underwood of Amsterdam”