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"The Dinner," by Herman Koch

Jeff Glor talks to Herman Koch about, "The Dinner."


Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?

Herman Koch: I was inspired by an actual event that happened in Barcelona about seven years ago. Two teenagers did something to a homeless person similar to what I write about in the book. But they seemed so nice. My first thought was these could have been my sons. The next thought was they could have been anybody's sons.


JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?

HK: That I didn't know beforehand where the novel would go. I trusted my characters in the beginning, but they proved to be not that thrust-worthy at all.


JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?

HK: I would have been a retired soccer player. Or an almost retired soccer coach. Or a singer in a band who should have retired years ago.


JG: What else are you reading right now?

HK: At the moment I am reading the biography of J.M. Coetzee: always nice to be confirmed in your idea that writer's lives and writing problems are more or less the same everywhere, and that you are not alone. Recently I was also very impressed by "The Yellow Birds" by Kevin Powers.


JG: What's next for you?

HK: Another book... I am finishing a new novel this year. There is no retirement for a writer, and I am happy with that.


For more on "The Dinner" visit the Random House website.

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