The Dinner by Herman Koch (review) was one of my favorite books of 2013. It was controversial and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it. I was recommending it to everyone and anyone who would listen. So it should come as no surprise that I went into Summer House with Swimming Pool with pretty high expectations. It was good. It wasn’t great, but it was a solid good.
One of the things I really liked about The Dinner is that it left me questioning how I really felt about the characters. Did I like them? No wait, I hated them, didn’t I? Without a doubt, Marc, the narrator of Summer House is unlikable. I don’t have a problem with unlikable characters, though the one thing I appreciated about The Dinner was that the characters were revealed in such a way as to make you like them and then hate them or the other way around. Overall it was a more nuanced novel.
Am I avoiding talking about Summer House With Swimming Pool? Yes. Like The Dinner, it is hard to talk about because of spoilers. Let me just say that Summer House makes a great summer read. The setting is perfect, the story is a little creepy but keeps you turning the pages and it raises a lot of great discussion points.
Who would like this book? Again, like The Dinner, I think Summer House would make a great book club pick. There is lots to talk about and much that is troubling. However, if you’ve also read The Dinner you may be disappointed by Summer House, as I was. It did not rock my world the way The Dinner did. I might also slide Summer House in along side other novels set in, well, a summer house: Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann and Swimming Home by Deborah Levy. All three have a predatory feel to them and ill advised actions.
This book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.