I was lucky to be able to Ask the writer of The dinner a few questions via E-mail ,so here are his answers ,you can also see my review Here and A look at the food in The dinner here .
1 Which writers have influenced you ?
I started with reading the Russians when I was sixteen, I think they still have the biggest influence: Tcheckov, Turgenev, Tolstoj and Dostojewski.
2 How did you come up for the idea for the dinner ?
It starrted with a real event in Barcelona where two boys molested a homeless person in a cash machine. The boys looked so nice, so normal, they were laughing and having fun, and I thought: “They are ruining their whole future in five minutes….” So from the starting point I identified with the boys, not with their victim. That was the trigger for the book.
3 How many meals out did you have before deciding on the menu for the meal ?
I tried to remember all the absurd meals I had in the past twenty years. And I thought of all the restaurants where I would never go back again. That was my research.
4 Are the brothers problems meant to be seen in a wider context of Holland itself ?
No, I don’t think their situation applies particularly to Holland. More to Europe, or the ‘Western world’ in general. Although you will find some exaggerated political correctness in our country.
5 I have previously ask both Cees Nooteboom and Gerbrand Bakker to describe what makes Dutch literature so unique. What are your thoughts ?
I am not sure. We live in a rather boring and spoiled country. Maybe Dutch literature is only unique in that it wasn’t noticed in the past 200 years in the rest of the world.
6 What are you favourite Dutch books ?
For me there is only one, I think it has been translated into English: The Dark Room of Damocles by W.F. Hermans.
I put this up today as part of Iris on books Dutch Lit fortnight