Print Review: Summer House with Swimming Pool


Summer House with Swimming Pool: A Novel
By Herman Koch; Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett
Penguin Random House | Hogarth
Release Date: June 03, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8041-3881-9

Marc Schlosser is a middle-aged general practitioner in a Dutch-speaking country [presumably the Netherlands as that is where the author lives] in the 21st century who, for a medical doctor, shows a surprisingly sordid and prurient interest in the human body. Koch has created an unlikable character who nonetheless represents a member of the professional bourgeoisie, shorn of naïveté, confident of his own intelligence and decisions. However, as the narrative of Summer House with  Swimming Pool begins to unfold, it is clear that Dr. Schlosser’s hubris may not be enough to shield him from the inquires of a medical board which is looking into the circumstances surrounding the death of one of Marc’s patients. To complicate the professional crises, it is clear that there was a personal relationship between the doctor and patient as well, and that the death of the actor is somehow tied to events that occurred at a vacation rental the previous summer. The whole of Summer House with a Swimming Pool is an exposition of biological imperative that also serves as the driving force behind this taut psychological thriller told from Dr. Schlosser’s point-of-view. Some readers may be tempted to cheat and peek at the end pages, while others will rabidly devour pages in anticipation of what happens next; but care should be taken to not blow past a seemingly innocuous or irrelevant phase or sentence that proves to be otherwise. Though without Ian McEwan’s sense of humor, those who liked Solar and/or Saturday will also probably enjoy Summer House with Swimming Pool as well.


OTHER: I received an Advanced Reader’s Edition of Summer House with Swimming Pool: A Novel (by Herman Koch) through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program on August 3, 2014. I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.


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