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Review of Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

February 15, 2017

Review of Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch
Reviewed by Fiza Pathan20170121_161017This book was an ‘epic read’ as my students would have said it. In my words, it was ‘superbly awesome.’ Herman Koch’s unputdownable book simply titled Summer House with Swimming Pool is a work of art. It’s dirty—but deep, it is poignant— but drifting, and it is disturbing, but exciting all the same. Narrated by the main protagonist who is a GP called Marc, the story flows into a rhythm of suspense and plot twists that makes the reader stare in complete awe at the masterpiece of a thriller that he is reading. The characters here make you laugh, smile, sneer, gag, hate, etc., drawing out the emotions necessary on the part of the reader to complete the story and understand its implications to perfection. Sam Garrett translated the English version of this Dutch novel.  I applaud the translator for doing such an efficient and excellent job with Herman Koch’s original masterpiece, for you feel that you are reading a Lee Child or a Patterson or a Nesser or a Baldacci. But it’s better! Ten times better and richer! I’m so overwhelmed by this book and its master of the craft ‘synopsis’ that states the main mystery without divulging too much about the plot, which is the best thing possible where this fabulous book is concerned. I am dying to head back to my library or the bookstore and pick up another book by Herman Koch, most probably his bestselling work, The Dinner. Summer House with Swimming Pool is a 409-page book but does not make heavy reading. There is a healthy blend of reflection and storytelling with a bit of philosophy tossed in at crucial moments, but for me, I thought I was watching a Hollywood movie at the edge of my seat —the book was that spectacular. The climax is a complete surprise, and you will be up all night thinking about it even after the story is done and over with. This will happen because of the poignant questions asked by the writer through his protagonist, who is quite a shady character himself. If you want to be shocked and scandalized with the thrill of a perfect, viciously funny thriller, then Herman Koch is the writer for you. All in all a perfect read by a master of the craft, Herman Koch. And thanks once again to the translator for a job well done.

Copyright ©2017, Fiza Pathan

  1. What an enthusiastic review. I can feel your enthusiasm for this book crossing the miles!

    • Thank you ma’am ! It is really one of the best books I’ve read since 2017 started. Do read the book too. 🙂

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