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frankie

Herman Koch

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I couldn't find a thread for Herman Koch on here so decided to start one. I went to the bookstore yesterday and found a whole new novel by him that I'd not even heard of, it's his latest I believed. It's called Dear Mr. M. I couldn't find it on Amazon yet, though, so maybe the English translation is still in progress? I found something on it in English, though:

 

"Following his ruthless dissections of the hypocrisy of the moneyed classes and corruption in the medical profession, Herman Koch turns his dystopian gaze on the literary world. In his new novel,Dear Mr M. he tells the tale of a fading writer held grimly to account by a neighbour with a score to settle. Did Reckoning, the novel that cemented Mr M’s literary success all those years ago, culpably distort the facts of a mysterious missing persons case?"

 

I really like it that the main character is a writer! :smile2: I'm most definitely going to read this novel. Has anyone read it already? Athena? :) 

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I saw the book in the book shops when it first came out in Dutch, but I don't own a copy (it's called Geachte Heer M. in Dutch). It does sound good though! I shall see if I can borrow it from the library some time, a book by a somewhat famous Dutch author, they must have it I would think :yes:. Thanks for making this topic :)!

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I'm sure you have loads of copies at the library :smile2: The Helsinki metropolitan area libraries have 83 copies, and 228 reservations  :D I've reserved one. 

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My library doesn't say on their website how many copies they have, I would be very curious! 83 copies, that is a lot! Their website just says they have one or more copies available (it says that for all books, if they are available). They do have the audiobook too and two other editions of it which I think might be big lettered editions or such? So I should be able to find the 'normal' book there if it remains available :).

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I'll definitely be buying this one!  Thanks for the heads up. :)

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I forgot to post but I found the book at the library. They didn't have the normal version unfortunately (it was loaned out), but I managed to find a big letter version (the book is split up into two books). I borrowed them, I'm going to try to read them. If the font proves too big and uncomfortable to read, I'll bring them back and wait until a normal version becomes available. We'll see.

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Thanks :)! I think it will be the next book I read after finishing my current read.

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Well I finished the book, but I'm sorry to say I didn't like it very much. I much prefer Het Diner.

 

Here's a copy of some of my review:

 

The book is partially told through what are I think letters from the downstairs neighbour to the author living above him. There is also the point of view of the author himself, and there are parts where we read about the past (to do with the disappearance). Once there was a chapter with the author's wife's point of view. The book consists of five parts (titled, not numbered). Some of the people in the book are only known by their first name, first letter of their first name, first letter of their last name or first name plus first letter of their last name. This made the book a bit harder to read at times, though it's also slightly less distracting perhaps.

 

I didn't like this book as much as I liked Het Diner. There were quite a few things I didn't like about this book (don't worry, there were also some things I did like). The story is a bit slow. Sometimes the tension ramps up, but then the book becomes slow again (too slow for my liking).

 

The book would sometimes go off on tangents, when the characters are thinking to themselves or such. It was chaotic in places. Sometimes there were flashbacks that kind of came out of nowhere, and we went back to 'contemporary times' all of a sudden too. I felt it would have been better if it had been clearer whether something is a flashback or not (or at least, perhaps some more white space or such). There is an interesting story in the book somewhere but it could have been shorter and clearer.

 

I didn't like most of the characters. The author guy was unlikable and I didn't like the downstairs neighbour either. Their attitude regarding women bothered me. I didn't really feel connected to any of the characters in the book.

 

What I did like about the book where some of the parts about books, writing and authors. I enjoyed reading some of these bits a lot, they were interesting to read. I wonder if the views are based on anything the author of the book himself has experienced.

 

I also quite liked the writing style (minus the tangents, slowness, jumping around etc), some of the sentences flowed very well. Some descriptions were pretty nice.

 

Overall then I have to say the book was okay, meh, allright, but it could have been much better. There were a lot of things that bothered me. I did like some parts of the story and the suspenseful bits were nice, but overall I struggled with the book and mainly just finished it off relatively quickly so I could go and read something else, and also because it's due at the library. It's not a book I think I'll ever re-read, but someone else might enjoy it.

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Uck.  Sorry you didn't like Dear Mr. M as well as Koch's previous book(s). 

 

I don't remember your mentioning Summer House With Swimming Pool, but I'd recommend it to you.  I read it last year, and have to say I liked it a bit more than The Dinner

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I don't remember your mentioning Summer House With Swimming Pool, but I'd recommend it to you.  I read it last year, and have to say I liked it a bit more than The Dinner.

The library has Zomerhuis met Zwembad so I might borrow it some time, thanks :)!

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I just finished the book (Dear Mr. M.) last night and came here to read Athena's review of the book. Some of the things that bothered you, Athena, bothered me too. :unsure: It wasn't as good as The Dinner, I'm afraid. But I still liked it, and I'm happy I read it. :) 

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It's nice to know you noticed the same things I did :). I'm glad you still liked the book though :).

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I thought some of you might like to know that Herman Koch writes the Boekenweekgeschenk of 2017 (Dutch link). De Boekenweek is our national book week in the Netherlands. It's a yearly event, and every year one author gets chosen to write a novella for this occasion. During the week, if you purchase over, I think, €12,50 worth of Dutch books, you get the novella for free. There is also a national children's book week (de Kinderboekenweek), where a children's book author is asked to write a book. I don't know if the Koch novella would be translated into English, but I thought I'd post about it for anyone who's interested.

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Just found out I could preorder Dear Mr. M through Amazon....!  But it isn't coming out until September 6th.  /sigh/ :)

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Herman Koch has written another novel! 😊  I've only just found out so I haven't even googled what the original title is and what the English title might be. Mayor, perhaps? 

I've reserved a copy 😊

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I think the Dutch title is 'De greppel', at least that's the most recently released book I could find using Google. And it involves a mayor so it may be the same book. I hope you enjoy it :)!

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It must be the same book! :) I can't wait to get to it. I'm sure there's a long line of reservations before me, but I'm too scared to take a look to see just how many there are. 

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I own both Het Diner (The Dinner) and Zomerhuis met zwembad (Summer House With Swimming Pool), but have yet to read them both!

 

I'm not sure why I'm putting it off - I guess I'm kind of scared that he's such a hype that I will be disappointed.

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