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.
I received this book through Blogging for Books and I was extremely excited. Herman Koch specializes in characters with strong opinions and a rather sickening psyche. He draws them well. So when closing this book, I did feel a strong sense of relief to rid myself of the collection of curious and vile characters he’s so carefully created. My problem with this book is exactly the problem I had with ‘The Dinner’. Underneath a thick layer of shocking provocation and cynicism it feels strangely shallow. As if the hollow nature of the characters hollowed out the novel as well. But for now I would prefer something that allows for some sort of beauty, however ambiguous or opaque that beauty might present itself.