Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch


My name is Nate and I am a fan of celebrity gossip. For some reason, I love hearing about Justin Bieber and Orlando Bloom throwing punches at dinner or that Paris Hilton thinks Kim Kardashian’s backside is disgusting. But would I love it this much if I were closer to it all?

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch tells the story of Marc Schlosser, a doctor to the celebrities. He doesn’t love his job. His patients get twenty minutes of his time and are out the door. It’s not that he’s lazy, it’s because he doesn’t care. That’s basically how he lives his entire life: unsympathetic to the celebrity lifestyle. That is, until one night at an opening show’s after-party he catches the famous actor Ralph Meier hungrily gawking at his wife. From that moment on, Marc makes it his goal to ruin everything in Ralph Meier’s life, including Ralph Meier. Ralph, completely oblivious of Marc’s ill-intent, invites him and his family to join him and his family for a summer of fun at their summer home. However, what ensues is a summer full of desire, revenge and repugnance.

Hands down, Summer House with Swimming Pool is the best book of the summer. While some bloggers have said “the characters weren’t likeable” and that some of the writing was “overly grotesque”, I completely disagree. It’s too easy to read this book and suggest that the characters are unrelateable because they think horrible thoughts or do horrible things to each other, when in reality Koch is writing about each and every one of us. For example, while getting revenge in the way Marc does isn’t how most of us would exact revenge, we have all had “dark” thoughts about how we could get back at at someone. Koch takes the darkest, most disgusting thoughts from a person’s brain and makes them even more so. He manages to channel the most monstrous aspects of the human being and puts them all into Marc, Ralph and Stanley. The characters in this story are some of the “worst of the worst”, but they do it gloriously.

To go along fantastic character building is the actual story. Summer House with Swimming Pool is, at its most primitive, a fantasy story. The fantasy within the story, of course, are the character’s thoughts of revenge or being a part of some promiscuity. The fantasy for the reader comes from the thought of spending a summer at a beach house with a celebrity. For some readers it will also come in the thoughts of doing horrific things to another person, but we’ll leave it at that. The story is fresh, upbeat and entertaining; never before have I read a murder so meticulously plotted out. The only place the novel falters is that the ending wasn’t as explosive as expected, but that’s mostly me being greedy.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 – Summer House with Swimming Pool is the perfect read for any fans of the horror or medical fantasy genres, as well as for those looking for an end of the summer thriller. What begins as a story about a doctor hating his job turns into one of the best mysteries of the summer. The characters are enjoyably disgusting and the story will keep you involved until the last page.

*ARC provided by*

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