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June 6, 2015 / Leslie

Summer House with Swimming Pool

A Rapid Review

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

SummerHousePublisher: Hogarth | April 2015
Format: Paperback | 387 pages | Rating: 3 stars

When a medical procedure goes horribly wrong and famous actor Ralph Meier winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser needs to come up with some answers. After all, reputation is everything in this business. Personally, he’s not exactly upset Ralph is gone, but as a high-profile doctor to the stars, Marc can’t hide from the truth forever.

Dr. Marc is a disgruntled physician who doesn’t think much of his patients, or the human race in general, and he finds many of them disgusting. He lets them ramble on and barely pays attention, mentally blaming them for their ailments and repulsed by their bodies. They go to him because they think he empathizes with them and also because he will write them any prescription they want. His ethics are questionable at best.

Right from the very first chapter Dr. Marc is a dislikeable character. I don’t have to like a character to enjoy a book, but I need to at least find them interesting or engaging, and Marc’s crudeness put me off from the start. It wasn’t until the end that I could even find anything to empathize with and even then, he was still disgusting. And I suppose that was the point.

The book was too slow-moving for me. It wasn’t until the halfway point that the plot even begins to get interesting. And after investing that much time in the book, I needed to know how it ended. Readers that don’t mind a totally unreliable narrator and completely disgusting characters (Marc wasn’t the only repulsive one) might enjoy this more than I did.

An Under My Apple Tree Rapid Review
Source: Review copy provided by Goodreads First Reads.
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Leave a Comment
  1. Betty Escobar / Jun 6 2015 11:55 am

    Now you just have me curious about this book, would give it a good read to see just what you mean and would have to finish it also lol


  2. BermudaOnion / Jun 6 2015 4:00 pm

    I agree – a character doesn’t have to be likeable but they do have to be interesting. Sorry this wasn’t better.


    • Leslie / Jun 6 2015 4:51 pm

      He was too repulsive! I would call him a sociopath, but sociopaths are usually engaging, this guy was just gross. And a few of the other characters weren’t too much better. But I have read positive reviews; this one is just not for everyone.


      • Leeswammes / Jun 7 2015 2:19 pm

        I loved this character. I mean, he was awful, but the way he talked/narrated the story, I loved it. I did enjoy the story, although not as much as The Dinner (another book with dislikeable characters!).


      • Leslie / Jun 8 2015 12:19 am

        Your review must have been one of the positive ones I read. I really thought I would like this one. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for the story.


  3. Mary / Jun 6 2015 4:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book. I think I’ll pass.


    • Leslie / Jun 6 2015 4:53 pm

      Judging from the type of books you usually feature, I wouldn’t recommend this one to you!


  4. Suko / Jun 6 2015 5:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts about this book. I don’t think I’d enjoy it much.


  5. Diane / Jun 9 2015 6:07 am

    The top 2 appeal to me as well — enjoy


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