Shelf Control #10: Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch (2014)

Shelf Control is a weekly book meme @ Bookshelf Fantasies in which we write about one book that we want to read and already own. Read our hostess Lisa’s choice for this week over here.

Love the cover

The tour-de-force, hair-raising new novel from Herman Koch, New York Times bestselling author of The Dinner and Summer House with Swimming Pool

Once a celebrated writer, M’s greatest success came with a suspense novel based on a real-life disappearance. The book was called The Reckoning, and it told the story of Jan Landzaat, a history teacher who went missing one winter after his brief affair with Laura, his stunning pupil. Jan was last seen at the holiday cottage where Laura was staying with her new boyfriend. Upon publication, M.’s novel was a bestseller, one that marked his international breakthrough.

That was years ago, and now M.’s career is almost over as he fades increasingly into obscurity. But not when it comes to his bizarre, seemingly timid neighbor who keeps a close eye on him. Why? 

From various perspectives, Herman Koch tells the dark tale of a writer in decline, a teenage couple in love, a missing teacher, and a single book that entwines all of their fates. Thanks to The Reckoning, supposedly a work of fiction, everyone seems to be linked forever, until something unexpected spins the “story” off its rails. 

With racing tension, sardonic wit, and a world-renowned sharp eye for human failings, Herman Koch once again spares nothing and no one in his gripping new novel, a barbed tour de force suspending readers in the mysterious literary gray space between fact and fiction, promising to keep them awake at night, and justly paranoid in the merciless morning. (Goodreads)


I picked this up a few years ago at a book fair because I really wanted to try Koch. The story appeals to me greatly. It is only the length of the novel (400 + pages of a large-sized book) that makes me hesitant to pick it up. But this German Literature Month, I think I’ll give it a go.


Have you read this or any other book by Koch? Share your views.


Want to participate? Do so over here.


2 thoughts on “Shelf Control #10: Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch (2014)

  1. Interesting thoughts, although Koch is Dutch, not German. The film version of The Dinner (Italian) is quite interesting, focusing on a violent crime committed by the sons of some of the diners and whether to expose the culprits or not!! Haven’t read the book, tho!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Welcome to the blog, Ron.

    Well that just goes to show how little I know!! Always thought Koch was a German writer. The Dinner has long been on my wishlist. One day perhaps, I’ll read both the books:)

    Liked by 1 person

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