Sunday, January 18, 2015

Summer House with Swimming Pool (Herman Koch)

Author of the bestseller The Dinner, Dutch author Herman Koch is at it again in the twisted Summer House with Swimming Pool.  Anytime you begin to read Koch, know this: puppies, kittens, and rainbows will not be making an appearance; Koch's books feature extremely unlikable characters all plotting to outwit each other in one giant chess match.

We begin with Ralph Meier, an actor, dying in a hospital.  Dr. Marc Schlosser, his physician, is under scrutiny from the Board of Medical Examiners for Meier's death; did Dr. Schlosser kill his patient on purpose or was it an egregious error?

To find out, Koch takes us back to the summer when Schlosser, his wife, and two daughters spent a summer with Meier's family, film director Stanley Forbes, and Forbes's girlfriend.  They all lived together in Meier's summer house, and things were not always what they seemed on the surface.  When a horrible event happens to Schlosser's daughter, the doctor will stop at nothing to find out who the perpetrator was.

As the story unfolds to its stunning conclusion, the reader is almost left gasping for air.  Summer House with Swimming Pool is similar to The Dinner in its sinister undertones, but I actually enjoyed this one a tad more. Checkmate.