Herman Koch (1953-) is a Dutch actor, TV producer and bestselling author. He was born in Arnhem, The Netherlands. When he was two years old, Herman moved with his family to live in Amsterdam where he grew up and where most of his novels are set. Even if little is known of his early life, it is a very well-known fact that he was expelled from Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam school quite early. However, the writer developed an interest in learning foreign languages and discovering new cultures at an early age. He spent some time learning Russian and had lived in Finland at some point in his life. Despite the fact that he received very little education, Koch is multilingual and has a good command of English, German and Spanish. He is married to a Spanish woman, Amalia Rodriguez and has one son, Pablo. Since he made his debut in 1985 as a novelist, Koch has risen to eminence in literary and artistic circles, both in The Netherlands and abroad.
Order of Herman Koch Standalone Novels
It was in 1985 that The Passer-by – Koch’s first book- was published. It was a collection of stories that follow the protagonists as they strive to adjust to their surrounds. Taken together, the stories are Koch’s first attempt at addressing human existence and the place of man in his immediate world. They introduce the reader to such questions as loneliness, the individual and society, nature versus nurture etc. All of these themes are to appear in his late works. Four years later Koch’s first full-length novel, Save Us Maria Montenelli appeared. The question of human existence seems to have a special appeal to the writer as it continues to influence his later works . Novels like War At Last (1998), Eating With Emma (2000) and Odessa Star (2003) depict a number of characters who try to come to terms with their empty existence. The protagonists of these novels set to explore new ways of existence that would earn them some recognition in society. Koch’s success came to its peak with the publication of his novel, The Dinner in 2009. It was translated into more than 20 languages and sold over a million of copies around the world.
Herman Koch’s Awards
Koch’s novel The Dinner was a huge success and it won the won the 2009 NS Publieksprijs award (NS Audience award).
Herman Koch’s Books Into Movies
Koch seems to have peaked with his 2009 novel, The Dinner. This novel was so successful that it was made into a film in Holland in 2013 directed by Menno Meyjes. A year later, an Italian version of the movie appeared, produced by Ivano De Matteo. An English version of the movie is underway directed by Moverman. The novel was also brought onstage in Holland in 2013.
Best Herman Koch Books
Save Us Maria Montenelli: Save Us Maria Montenelli was Koch’s first success as a novelist. The story is reminiscent of J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye in its approach to schools and the educational system. The novel attacks the Montessori system of education and its emphasis on developing inner discipline for students. Through the story of a victim of this system of education, Koch launches his attack at the defective educational system of his time, maintaining all the way through that it fails to recognise the individual learning needs of students. The novel has some affinities with Koch’s personal life and can be interpreted as his attempt at accounting for his own school failure. Whether it is an autobiographical account of the writer’s own school life or not, Save Us Maria Montenelli epitomises Koch’s satirical style that would characterise most of his subsequent novels.
The Dinner: The Dinner is perhaps Koch’s most mature novel. The novel was a huge success and was translated into almost 29 languages around the world. It was with this novel that the writer won 2009 NS Publieksprijs award. The Dinner forcefully engages the reader and leads them to think of numerous issues, such as parenting, politics, and restaurants. Two brothers and their wives meet for dinner in one of the fashionable restaurants in Amsterdam. They meet to discuss their sons’ implication into some criminal act that is being investigated by the police. Their conversation turns to very general subjects like politics, the pretentious menus of restaurants, vacations etc. It seems that these topics help the couples delay the horrific subject they have gathered for. In this restaurant, Koch manages to literally put the question of parenting to the table.