Published by Crown/Archetype on June 3rd 2014
Genres: Family Life, Fiction, Literary, Psychological
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset that Ralph is gone, but as a high profile doctor to the stars, Marc can't hide from the truth forever.
Can I strongly recommend that you do not read that full synopsis? I’ll give you a trigger warning that is included in the synopsis though, some of this book does deal with sexual assault, but that portion of the book is not especially graphic – so maybe look at the full synopsis if this is a trigger for you.
I did not read the synopsis before I read the book, I picked the book up because I so thoroughly enjoyed The Dinner that it was going to be pretty hard for Herman Koch to unimpress me. Summer House did not disappoint. I thought that it was paced well and the narrator (Dr. Marc Schlosser) is just as delightfully unreliable, completely demented, and totally unlikable as the narrator in The Dinner.
I liked the meandering pace and tone that slipped in and out of present time, past events, and other recollections. Koch is a master at keeping the line just taunt enough to propel the story forward while at the same time leaving the reader wondering where the hell he’s going with all of this. At the end, I’m still not completely sure – but I know I had a good time.
That being said, Marc is disturbed. His thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are all colored by how disturbed he was and that is – well – disturbing. But I don’t think that we’re meant to like Marc, I think that we’re meant to think about him. Just like The Dinner, I think that there’s something more deep and important to ponder about Summer House that’s lurking just below the surface. This could be a GREAT book club book. There’s LOTS to talk about. Just make sure your book club doesn’t mind deranged.
I can’t wait to see what Herman Koch comes up with next.
We’re back to talking about unreliable narrators, Reader. Can you like a book when you dislike all the characters, what if you really dislike them?