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Summer House with Swimming Pool Kindle Edition
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014 "This is a novel of ideas (Have fun, book clubs)...[Koch] makes Nietzsche sound like Dale Carnegie."--Janet Maslin, New York Times "Caustic...Poisonous ... I couldn't stop reading this... Chapter by chapter, it is shockingly cynical and infected with a strain of humor so toxic that it should come with a bottle of Purell....Ghoulishly fascinating."--Ron Charles, Washington Post "The opening pages grab us with a mordant view of socialized medicine and a chilled insight into the anxieties of the flesh... Disturbingly good...Psychologically rich...Deftly paced...Compelling."--USA Today "Summer House With Swimming Pool is a gripping read, an assault of unexpected twists and thumbscrew-turning tension."--Entertainment Weekly
"Sick, twisted--and more important--highly entertaining... Balmy temperatures and sunny skies won't stop the chill that runs up and down your spine as the story unfolds...A modern-day Agatha Christie... [This] could be the most talked-about book of the summer."--Chicago Tribune "Bound to satisfy fans of The Dinner...A new psychological thriller about nasty people on an opulent vacation."--Boston Globe Twisty, thrilling.--New York Post There are all kinds of scary novels, and this one, out of the Netherlands, Herman Koch's "Summer House With Swimming Pool," is perhaps the most unsettling sort. It's devilish...You'll be hooked.--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Gripping...Koch uses language like a stethoscope, so that we can hear the beating hearts of his characters and their visceral feelings of envy, love, fear and hatred...The novel anatomises our most unsavoury impulses with scalpel-like prose...For fans of thrillers such as Gone Girl, this should be the summer's essential reading.--The Guardian This book is horribly thrilling, and utterly entertaining. There is a manic clarity and gleefulness to its writing...Take this book to the beach, you'll be gripped and chilled.--The Independent "In Koch's equally devious follow-up to The Dinner, civilization is once again only a thin cover-up for man's baser instincts...Make no mistake: very few real-world events will distract readers from finishing this addictive book in one or two sittings."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"[In The Dinner, ] Koch's wry wit and sardonic approach to marriage and children transformed a grisly act of violence into fodder for parental and ethical contemplation. Here, he once again probes the limits of parental protection...[and] continues to illuminate ways in which our Freudian unconscious takes dreadful revenge on the ego."--Library Journal (starred review) Just as he did in his bestseller, The Dinner (2013), Dutch novelist Koch tells a sinister tale through the eyes of a questionable narrator...Koch's deft and nuanced exploration of gender, guilt, and vengeance make his second novel to be translated into English an absorbing read.--Booklist "In this disquieting novel from Koch (The Dinner, 2013, etc.), sex, celebrity and medical ethics become inextricably tangled as a summer idyll goes nightmarishly wrong...A sly psychological thriller lurks within this pitch-dark comedy of manners."--Kirkus Herman Koch (The Dinner) dishes up another rich stew of language, character and cynicism...[with] a summer vacation mystery.--Shelf Awareness Praise for Herman Koch's The Dinner "A European Gone Girl...The Dinner, a sly psychological thriller that hinges on a horrific crime and its consequences for two families, has become one of spring's most anticipated suspense novels." --The Wall Street Journal
"Poised to shake up American publishing...Koch tells a story that could very well take away your appetite." --USA Today.com [Koch] has created a clever, dark confection...absorbing and highly readable. --New York Times Book Review
"[A] deliciously Mr. Ripley-esque drama." --O, The Oprah Magazine "You'll eat it up, with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." --Entertainment Weekly
"Koch's ability to toy with the reader's alliances while using one family's distress to consider greater societal ills gives the novel a vital punch." --Daily Beast "A tart main course that explores how quickly the facade of civility can crumble. It's hard to digest at times, but with a thought-provoking taste that lingers." --Cleveland Plain Dealer "The novel has been called the Gone Girl of the Continent, and not without cause: Like Gillian Flynn's bestseller, it's a tale told by an unreliable narrator, full of twists and skillfully executed revelations, ultimately registering as a black parable about the deceptively civilized surface of cosmopolitan, middle-class lives...What Koch achieves with his prose--plain but undergirded by breathtaking angles, like a beautiful face scrubbed free of makeup -- is a brilliantly engineered and (for the thoughtful reader) chastening mindfuck. The novel is designed to make you think twice, then thrice, not only about what goes on within its pages, but also the next time indignation rises up, pure and fiery, in your own heart." --Salon.com "Briskly paced and full of ingenious twists--a compulsive read...for those who can tolerate the unsavory company, The Dinner is a treat they'll gulp down in one sitting." --Dallas Morning News "The Dinner begins with drinks and dark satire, and goes stealthily and hauntingly from there. It's chilling, nasty, smart, shocking and unputdownable. Read the novel in one big gulp, and then make plans with friends--you'll be desperate to debate this book over cocktails, appetizers, entrees, dessert...and then you still won't be done talking about it." - Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
"Funny, provocative and exceedingly dark, this is a brilliantly addictive novel that wraps its hands around your throat on page one and doesn't let go." - SJ Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep "Herman Koch has written a sneakily disturbing novel. He lures us into his story with his unfailingly reasonable tone (just acidic enough to be entertaining), and before we know it we've found ourselves in places we never would've consented to go. The Dinner is a smart, amiably misanthropic book, and it's tremendous fun to read." - Scott Smith, author of The Ruins "The Dinner is a riveting, compelling and a deliciously uncomfortable read. Like all great satire it is both lacerating and so very funny... Intelligent and complex, this novel is both a punch to the guts and also a tonic. It clears the air. A wonderful book." - Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap "What a tremendous book. I loved every single gripping and strange thing about it." - MJ Hyland, author of Carry Me Down
"By the end of The Dinner you'll have to rethink everything, including who you are and what you believe. This is a book you won't forget." - David Vann, author of Dirt
"Mesmerizing and disturbing... fast-paced and addictive...The Dinner, already a bestseller in Europe, is sure to find an enthusiastic American readership as well." - Book Page
"This chilling novel starts out as a witty look at contemporary manners...before turning into a take-no-prisoners psychological thriller...With dark humor, Koch dramatizes the lengths to which people will go to preserve a comfortable way of life...this is a cunningly crafted thriller that will never allow you to look at a serviette in the same way again." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A high-class meal provides an unlikely window into privilege, violence and madness...Koch's slow revelation of the central crisis is expertly paced, and he's opened up a serious question of what parents owe their children, and how much of their character is passed on to them...a chilling vision of the ugliness of keeping up appearances." - Kirkus
International Praise for The Dinner
"The perfect undemanding, credible, terrifying beach read." --Financial Times
''[The Dinner] proves how powerful fiction can be in illuminating the modern world...The reader does not rise from his table happy and replete so much as stand up suddenly, pale and reeling. Bored with Fifty Shades of Grey and all that brouhaha? Read The Dinner--and taste the shock." - The Economist
"I'm confidently predicting that The Dinner will become this summer's literary talk of the town--and the Twittersphere--here in the UK, as it already is in Continental Europe, where the novel has sold more than a million copies. Order yours now." --Evening Standard "Shivers kept shooting up my backbone as I became engrossed in Koch's darkly disturbing tale of family life. . .As the dinner disintegrates into mayhem, we discover just how far the middle classes will go to protect their monstrous offspring." --Daily Mail "Rather like The Slap it is set to become a contentious must-read. It may thrill, chill or cheat, but it is undeniably riveting." --The Independent "This tense and thought-provoking family drama is set to become a major literary talking point as it asks the question: Just how far would you go to protect your family?" --The Bookseller "Hugely accomplished and surprisingly subtle." --Readers Digest (UK) --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B00JD1WT4W
- Publisher : Text Publishing (25 June 2014)
- Language : English
- File size : 2765 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 335 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 285,338 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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i really enjoy Hermans style of writing. There is a perfect blend of sarcasm and humour, real life experience and a plot that is believable. do yourself a favour!
Top reviews from other countries
The narrator is Marc, a doctor, who despises his rich patients, but has found a way to make money out of them without expending too much energy. Marc has an attractive wife, Caroline, and two vapid daughters, Julia and Lisa. One of Marc's patients, Ralph Maier, an actor, invites Marc and his family to their holiday home, and against his better judgement (or is it?), Marc winds up there. Caroline is pursued by Ralph, and Marc amuses himself with Ralph's wife, Judith, who seems to be up for a dalliance. Marc considers himself a "charming" man, although again I suspect this concept is satirical - presumably men like Marc must consider themselves charming and irresistible to women. Julia, the older daughter, has a mild relationship with one of Ralph's sons. Marc professes to love his daughters, and is protective of them, but as the book unfolds, I started to wonder if this was love, or possession. Marc is quite happy to look lustfully at other men's daughters, and there is a rather disturbing scene later in the book where Marc's relationship with Julia seems just a little closer, for a father and teenage daughter, than I'm comfortable with.
Ralph is Marc's patient, and he dies under Marc's care. Marc is under investigation for medical negligence, but the suspicion in the mind of the reader is that he may have committed murder. At the end of the book, Marc and his family decamp to the USA, to avoid Marc's malpractice investigation and to live with Stanley, who is in the process of setting up Julia and Lisa as "models". Marc seems fine with this - apparently Julia has now graduated to womanhood, and can be exploited by Stanley and his ilk in the same way as other women are.
I love Herman Koch's writing. He's a ruthless observer of human nature, and he doesn't spare the reader. You're left feeling very exposed - could YOU be as bad as these characters if the situation arose? Maybe we're all just a step away!
Additionally, it's very clear as it progresses that the author is much, much older than his characters and has very sexist ideas - do either of the wives have jobs? We hear about the husbands' incessantly! No mother of an 11 or 13 year-old girls would let them play "Miss Wet T-Shirt" (!!) with older boys, for instance. And it gets much worse. Anyone against the sexualising of tween and barely-teen girls should avoid this as if it were the plague.
There's a fashion at the moment for books with unlikable heroes and SHwSP definitely feeds on that fashion. Marc, the doctor, is openly lazy and disinterested in his privileged clients but has learned how to con them into thinking he's a really good doctor just by giving them longer appointments. Much of those appointments are spent with Marc musing over just how revolting the bodies of his clients are. This book goes into a degree of graphic anatomical grossness that will disturb many readers but is essential to establishing just how unpleasant Marc is.
His client has just died at the beginning of the book - so no spoilers there. The book then takes us on a disturbing journey, unlayering the complexities of how the man came to die. Most readers will agree that the actor's death is no great loss. Interestingly - and in some ways similarly to the characters in Koch's better known novel 'The Dinner', there is a common thread of just how far people will go to protect their children.
If you need a hero don't buy this book. If you like your protagonists warts and all (and don't mind him musing on where those warts might be) then it could be perfect
It is the story of a disaffected GP who is at that point in life where his life is settled but he doesn't feel satisfied. He takes his family on holiday, something catastrophic happens and the remainder of the book deals with how he comes to terms with that - and finds his own solution to the moral dilemma it throws up. The story structure may not be earth shattering but it is what Koch does with the themes and ideas thrown up that makes this book so good. Put simply: it does what a good book should, it makes you think.
The Dinner was a genuinely different read, one that challenged your preconceptions. In many ways I feel this is a better book: there are the same themes of moral dilemma but the book is not as constrained by its premis in the same was as The Dinner. The characters are free to move around the world and consequently the book is literally and emotionally more wide ranging.
If the book has any fault it is perhaps that the 2nd tier characters are less fully drawn than you might expect. Koch is very strong in the central idea, and draws the main protagonists well, but the other characters do end up feel a little hazy and slightly anodyn. But it is a small criticism that doesn't detract from the main aim of the book, to challenge preconceptions.
I read this book straight after Gone Girl, which in some ways tries to perform the same trick of challenging preconceptions and assessing morality. Gone Girl has collected thousands of reviews, endless plaudits and been turned into a film. By contrast this book has an overall lower rating, a handful of reviews and isn't being made into a film. But it is better in every possible way - better written, better story, better evaluation of its themes, better ending.
I rarely give books five stars but this one wholly deserves it. Take a chance and try it.
A couple of times throughout the novel, the narrator Dr. Marc Schlosser talks about how we have those moments in our lives when –if only we had a remote control- we needed to pause things, go back, analyse in great detail where things went wrong or which one was a crucial moment for us to be able to understand what happened. The great thing about the narrative and the plot in this novel is that you actually feel the same as reader. When Marc goes through what happened and asks himself “Is this the moment? Is this how and when everything started?”, you can’t help ask the same question several times. Although, I believe, you will also ask yourself “is this the moment when I should have put the book down?” since the characters and how they are dealing with each other and life are so incredibly disturbing.
Most of the characters in this novel are not likeable. The holiday where and when everything happens, in the summer house with swimming pool, is an awful, awful one. If you have ever found yourself in the company of people you don’t know very well, especially on holiday, when you need to do what they want to do, eat what they want to eat, without having any privacy or alone time, the misery is too real, their dishonesty, excruciating.
These days when the weather is getting slightly better and warmer and in most countries the summer holidays are approaching, do yourself a favour; choose a night when you don’t need to sleep a lot –because it’s not going to happen, you will not be able to put the book down- and sit down to read Summer House With Swiming Pool.