Like the New York Times reviewer says - exactly.
Absolutely great! I loved The Dinner and read this one next and I find myself thinking back to the story and characters of this book more. Koch is a master of the moral dilemma. Great mystery!
Sharp like a scalpel. Maybe shocking for some. Keeps you reading and in suspense. A well written psychological thriller.
I disliked the characters so much that it must have been a well written novel. Prefered his first book.
"'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' is in fact much closer to human nature than we dare to publicly admit, " Herzl taught us...Dead. Gone. We never want to see the murderers and rapists back on the streets again.'
With this in mind, if you're looking for a nice cozy read or likeable characters, you won't find either in this book.
As he did with his earlier novel 'The Dinner', Koch once again takes a situation and slowly unravels the mystery behind it. The reader knows that an unsavoury event has befallen one of the characters and Koch takes us back to the beginning from where we travel to the present to gleam how and why the characters got to the present state of affairs.
Koch once again brings us brutal, honest depictions of people acting out their worst impulses.
More disturbing than "The Dinner" but an equally compelling novel about crime, punishment and psychopathy.
The opening chapter was very entertaining, but after that I did not find it too funny.
While this novel can be read as just a mystery with some wincing moments, it is much more than that. Good mystery novels involve moral dilemmas. Boring ones pit pure evil against pure innocence. This does neither. There are no typical heroes or villains here and yet there is tragedy.
Civilized humans, while they may entertain thoughts derived from baser instincts, exert self control on not acting on such thoughts either because of a sense of morality or because of social convention both of which threaten negative consequences. Typical villains eschew this self-control almost entirely to become socio- or psycho-paths while the heroes stay within the bounds.
This novel is based on a nuanced premise of a set of characters that have moved that needle of self control, each in their own way, just enough to discomfort most readers' sense of right and wrong but not necessarily enough to think of them as heroes or villains.
The novel plays with a reader's perception and need to resolve a character one way or another, just as good music does with alternating dissonance and consonance to build and release tension and thus hold interest. And it does so masterfully with each character. The mix of such characters makes for a powerful, even if, often disquieting or infuriating novel.
A very good literary effort that does what good novels do, stimulate and force readers to examine some basic assumptions. In this case, the disquieting thought that, in a civilized society, we depend heavily on the self-control of others to place our trust necessary for day to day functioning, and yet that self-control can be quite fragile in reality.
I don't agree...... "leaves you with an overwhelmingly bitter aftertaste. Koch's characters have little humanity; they’re always hiding something and never really let you in. It’s world with hopelessly damaged people..........." I thought is was a terrific read by an excellent writer. Koch is wicked and witty in telling a story of what happens when a family has to deal with a tragedy that is in the back of the minds of people like us who are rasing dughters. Ture, the characters are larger than life but that makes for a more interesting book. Tales of everyday life would be pretty boring. "Summer House" grips you from the first and maintains that pace throughout, as a thriller would. There are no weak parts or places where the book lags; and at no time are you able to predict plot twists and turns....... escpecially the ending. It is far superior to most of the popular books out now. I highly recommend it.
Another Koch book full of nasty surprises and plot lines.
summer vaca to mediterranean, tragedy, medical ethics
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