Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Dear Mr. M; Herman Koch

Dear Mr. M; Herman Koch
Hogarth - 2016

Once upon a time Mr. M wrote a highly successful novel called Payback. The story, although a work of fiction, was based on the disappearance of a high school history teacher in Amsterdam. The teacher was having an affair with a student. Of course being a work of fiction, Mr. M writes the story and the outcome as he sees fit and, not necessarily how the actual story unfolded. As one might expect not everyone, who played a part in the real life event is pleased with his use of literary license.

Now decades later Mr. M is an aging writer with a pretty younger wife, Ana, and a three year old daughter. His writing is at a standstill but, he hasn't totally slipped into the woodwork. Someone is watching his every move and those of his family.

As the story unfolds the reader gets several (5) different POV of what actually transpired. I was never sure what to believe and although each POV was interesting, Herman's POV (Mr. M.' downstairs neighbor) was the one I found most intriguing. His voice felt very unsettling and somewhat sociopathic. He came across as someone with a score to settle. This was at times a challenging read, I suspect it was because of all the POVs and the translation but, I enjoyed it very much. Definitely a tougher read than his first two books, The Dinner and Summer House With Swimming Pool but, very enjoyable all the same. I highlighted lots of paragraphs and quotes as the writing is very good and it challenged me. Great literary mystery.

4.5/5 stars

(review copy-Amazon Vine)

25 comments:

  1. I'll have to get this for my husband. He likes this author but I find him a bit dark! (Husband is not so affected by darkness as I am!)

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    1. The Dinner was very dark, the second book less so and this one was not really dark IMO.

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  2. I just got my copy of this one and am so looking forward to it, but am nervous b/c I've been hearing mixed things about it. Good to know to keep close track of all the POVs.

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    1. I didn't find this as dark as his earlier books but, definitely a more challenging read.

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  3. The multiple viewpoints have me a little nervous, too, so I'm glad to know this turned out to be a winner for you. I enjoyed both The Dinner and Summer House with Swimming Pool, and plan to read this before too long.

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    1. JoAnn, I didn't find this as dark as his earlier books but, definitely a more challenging read.

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  4. I've never read anything by this author, but I know several friends have enjoyed his previous novels. Not sure if he's for me, though.

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    1. I liked The Dinner best but, then I do like dark reads.

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  5. I like the premise but it sounds like all the points of view made it a little confusing.

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    1. A little Kathy but, not too bad. I always knew who was up.

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  6. I really had a hard time with https://wordsandpeace.com/2014/07/11/book-review-summer-house-with-swimming-pool/, so I'm hesitating on this one

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    1. I need to check out your review. I liked that one butThe Dinner was my favorite.

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  7. I did not like The Dinner. I didn't read the next one. But I might give this one a try since it involves a writer.

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  8. That does sound like something I would like!

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  9. Since I really liked the two books you mentioned, I plan to give this one a read.

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  10. I loved The Dinner so I look forward to this one!

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  11. I have GOT to catch up on Herman Koch's books. I only read The Dinner, which I loved, need to read the next two.

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  12. I'll have to think about this one. I wasn't thrilled with Summer House With Swimming Pool. Glad you like it though.

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