Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

This book literally starts with you meeting this pretentious doctor. He introduces his practice and how he gives his patients the illusion that he cares, when in reality, he knows everything way quicker than the time he spends with them. Dr. Marc Schlosser is basically the complete opposite of what you would hope for in a doctor.

There were a lot of instances where Marc was really annoying to me. And I don’t even know if annoying is the right word. He was just so condescending and a character you were supposed to hate. Like when he would try to judge how he acted by stating that it was due his practice or his work. He was using his unique practice to justify some of the borderline unethical things he was doing in his practice. He just really got on my nerves, but I still wanted to read the book to see how it was all going to unfold.

Throughout the book, Koch used this amazing writing style to describe how the body worked. While these were incredibly descriptive and sometimes really in-depth in terms of body function, I really enjoyed the imagery. The human body is a fascinating topic and I feel like Koch really embraced that in his writing.
It was war. You’re better off winning a war than losing it. History teaches us that.  And biology. You’re better off beating someone to death, than being beaten to death. From time immemorial, the man has guarded the entrance to the cave. Intruders are sent packing. People. Animals. A persistent intruder can’t say later that he hasn’t been warned.” (pg. 195)
My only real complaint is the slowness at the start of the book Koch sets up the relationship between the Schlossers and the Meiers and the subsequent death of Ralph. And with that explanation and background information, the timeline at the beginning of the book is weird. Koch switches between the present after Ralph’s death, the summer leading up to his death, and his time in med school. At times it seems out of place even though it makes sense towards explaining what is happening in the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, especially the writing. This book has been translated into English from Dutch, but it is not noticeable and Koch’s imagery and language is translated beautifully. I was only slight disappointed by the end. I feel like it did not completely wrap everything up, but I guess that is the nature of the story Koch was telling.

*I received this book from BloggingForBooks in exchange for an honest review*

4/5 Stars

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