Two of my favorite recent novels couldn’t be more different.
The Dinner by Herman Koch is a novel originally published in the Netherlands which has become an international bestseller. Two couples meet at a fancy restaurant and, as they eat their very sophisticated dinner, more is revealed about their relationships and the real reason they have met: to discuss a terrible crime committed by their teenaged sons. Critics have compared The Dinner to another hot novel, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. (I liked Gone Girl, but I liked The Dinner more.) Claire Messud writes in The New York Times: “There is a bracing nastiness to this book that grows ever more intense with the turning of its pages. It will not please those who seek the cozy, the redemptive or the uplifting.”
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, a sweeping novel that follows the lives of a group of six creative people who meet as teenagers at a summer camp for the arts. It is a very satisfying read about love and friendship, with likable characters. Critics have compared The Interestings to Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. (I liked Freedom and The Marriage Plot, but I liked The Interestings more.)
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