Summer House With Swimming Pool
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|Summer House With Swimming Pool
by Herman Koch
Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett
This book counts for this Reading Challenge:
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK
I decided not to read The Dinner by the same author last year, because it sounded much too similar to Le dieu du carnage, a play by Yasmina Reza I had read a few years before. So when Summer House With Swimming Pool was available on Blogging For Books, I thought I would finally try this Dutch author.
The book is really nauseating.
It is controversial in its topic: suspecting one of his patients of having done something terrible, Marc, a general practitioner, decides to take justice in his own hands.
Gross in his main protagonist: from the very first page, Marc sounded too sarcastic and totally dishonest to me. He has and is a detestable character, very manipulative, jealous, revengeful, with awful mentality and behavior, and always feeling inferior. And other minor characters are far from being better than him.
Gross in all the body details, especially in fat bodies. Really if I had that type of issues, reading this book would be enough to make me want to do something radical to lose weight as quickly as possible, and also to stop drinking alcohol, with his descriptions of a full liver! There were so many passages when I felt saying, yuk!! and I was aware reading with a disgusted look on my face.
But the structure of the book is interesting: it starts by almost the end of the story and fills us in with what happened to get to that point. There is a good plot, with false clues, and the characters are definitely very real.
There are interesting reflections on Dutch society, on its medical model, and on the milieu of artists, as Marc’s patients are mostly artists.
The author’s observations on parents are well done. Marc’s only redeeming quality might be his worry for his daughters, and his feeling of guilt when he does not do enough.
VERDICT: If you like a thought provoking, controversial and disturbing book, you have your novel of the summer here! In its own genre, it is actually well written.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT
When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can’t hide from the truth forever.
It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier’s extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph’s later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer’s tragedy.
Featuring the razor-sharp humor and acute psychological insight that made The Dinner an international phenomenon, Summer House with Swimming Pool is a controversial, thought-provoking novel that showcases Herman Koch at his finest. [provided by the publisher]
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