Monday, June 10, 2019

The Ditch; Herman Koch

TITLE: The Ditch
AUTHOR:  Herman Koch

PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING:  Amsterdam
FORMAT:  - eGalley
RATING - 3/5

I really enjoyed the darker nature of the last (3) books by Herman Koch: The Dinner, Summer House with Swimming Pool and Dear Mr. M, so I couldn't wait to try this new novel.  Unfortunately, it was a bit of a slog for me.

Robert Walter is the 60 year old mayor of Amsterdam. Married to Sylvia, the couple has one daughter, Diana.  The story begins with a party on New Years where Robert notices his wife smiling and laughing with an alderman.  He notices him whisper something in her ear and from that point on he is convinced the two are having an affair.

The more he he obsesses about it, the more jealous he becomes and his anxiety and paranoia intensifies.  Even a vacation to Paris with his wife doesn't convince him that he's imagining the whole affair.  He decides to spend more time at home observing his wife and daughter and listening for clues. Robert is very secretive when it comes to specifics about Sylvia and Diana. Along with the whole affair suspicions, there's a minor story but a serious subject with the mayor's parents contemplating suicide. In addition, there is talk about Dutch politics and the environment including minute details about their recycling program.

I really wanted to like this novel. There is a good amount of subtle humor which I enjoyed and, it has an ending I wasn't anticipating as well but, overall the story just failed to engage me.


  1. I've heard good things about his other books. I think I'll try one of them and skip this one.

  2. Too bad, it sounds like it had lots of potential.

  3. Ah, sorry to hear this book didn't quite work out for you - it does feel like a such a shame when you love an author's previous books and then one falls flat.

  4. I keep meaning to read one of this author's books. Don't think I'll start here. Maybe the Swimming Pool book...

  5. Too bad! Being disappointed by an author you've enjoyed is the worst. I liked his other books, too.

  6. Since I did not particularly like The Dinner, I have not read anything further by Koch. Perhaps if I were Dutch I would be interested in what seems to be a theme with him: politics and personal life in his country.

  7. I haven't read a Herman Koch novel yet! Sorry to hear this one didn't grab you like the others. I definitely need to go back and read The Dinner - I;ve heard so much about it!


    2019 Big Book Summer Challenge

  8. I've heard good things about Koch, but I've never read anything by him. I guess I won't start with this one. Ha ha.

  9. This book frustrated me to no end. I don't understand the ending and the significance of the ditch, despite several readings.


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