Summer House with Swimming Pool
by Herman Koch
Published by HogarthMore information:
This book is way different that most I've read. Different in a good way. Marc's story isn't told in a linear fashion, but rather through a series of flashbacks. We start and end at the end of his story, and the middle is dedicated to everything that led up to that point. It actually reminded me an awful lot of the novel We Need to Talk About Kevin (which I highly recommend if you haven't read!) which is also told in past tense as a recollection of events. Or even like Memento (a favorite movie of mine.) My point is that the format definitely kept me interested, since the book opens with the ending. I've decided that if someone was to draw a timeline of this book, it would need to be drawn by someone who builds roller coasters.
This book was translated from Dutch and for the most part takes place overseas. Unlike other translated books I've read, there wasn't a lot of foreign words that were difficult for me to read. I had worried about that when I realized it was originally in Dutch but it was not an issue at all.
One of the most interesting things was how Marc's thought process worked. It reminded me a lot of my own. While Koch would be writing about an event Marc was remembering, he would interweave other events and memories, including other experiences that he felt were similar. It made the scenes play like a movie in my head, and kept me engaged.
It seems like recently, all of the books I have read included an assault on a young woman. This book is no different. And though Koch made it a major part of the storyline, I felt like it wasn't dealt with properly by the characters. In fact, I feel like the victim was wronged twice by the lack of justice she was given. I did like how Koch dealt with the aftermath of the attack and showed how the life of the victim was effected.
Overall, I found Summer House with Swimming Pool to be a very engaging and different read. I especially enjoyed the format and felt it was a refreshing change of pace. I give this book five stars and would recommend it to anyone who might be getting burnt out on reading.