Giveaways

Sneak Peek of Summer House with Swimming Pool

Dive into this sneak peek of Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch. What do you think of books with a narrator who isn't likable or trustworthy?

I am a doctor. My office hours are from eight-thirty in the morning to one in the afternoon. I take my time.

Twenty minutes for each patient. Those twenty minutes are my unique selling point. Where else these days, people say, can you find a family doctor who gives you twenty minutes? – and they pass it along. He doesn’t take on too many patients, they say. He makes time for each individual case.

I have a waiting list. When a patient dies or moves away, all I have to do is pick up the phone and I have five new ones to take their place.

Patients can’t tell the difference between time and attention. They think I give them more attention than other doctors. But all I give them is more time. By the end of the first sixty seconds I’ve seen all I need to know. The remaining nineteen minutes I fill with attention. Or, I should say, with the illusion of attention.

I ask all the usual questions. How is your son/daughter getting along? Are you sleeping better these days? Are you sure you’re not getting too much/too little to eat? I hold the stethoscope to their chests, then to their backs. Take a deep breath, I say. Now breathe out nice and slow. I don’t really listen. Or at least I try not to.

On the inside, all human bodies sound the same. First of all, of course, there’s the heartbeat. The heart is blind. The heart pumps. The heart is the engine room. The engine room only keeps the ship going, it doesn’t keep it on course.

And then there are the sounds of the intestines. Of the vital organs. An overburdened liver sounds different from a healthy one. An overburdened liver groans. It groans and begs. It begs for a day off. A day to deal with the worst of the garbage. The way things are now, it’s always in a hurry, trying to catch up with itself.

The overburdened liver is like the kitchen in a restaurant that’s open around the clock. The dishes pile up. The dishwashers are working full tilt. But the dirty dishes and caked-on pans only pile up higher and higher. The overburdened liver hopes for that one day off that never comes.

Every afternoon at four-thirty, five o’clock (sometimes earlier), the hope of that one day off is dashed again. If the liver’s lucky, at first it’s only beer. Beer passes most of the work along to the kidneys. But you always have those for whom beer alone isn’t enough. They order something on the side: a shot of gin, vodka, or whisky. Something they can knock back. The overburdened liver braces itself, then finally ruptures. First it grows rigid, live an overinflated tire. All it takes then is one little bump in the road for it to blow wide open.

I listen with my stethoscope. I press against the hard spot, just beneath the skin. Does this hurt? If I press any harder, it will burst open right there in my office. Can’t have that. It makes an incredible mess. Blood gushes out in a huge wave. No general practitioner is keen to have someone die in his office.

At home, that’s a different story. In the privacy of their own homes, in the middle of the night, in their own beds. With a ruptured liver, they usually don’t even make it to the phone. The ambulance would get there too late, anyway.
 
Excerpted from Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch. Copyright © 2013 by Herman Koch. Excerpted by permission of Hogarth, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
 

Congrats to Joy H., Gayle B., Mark L., Jennifer B., Jodi R., and 195 other members of the Read It Forward community! Their entries were selected at random to win an Advance Reader’s Copy of Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch.

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About the Author

HERMAN KOCH is the author of eight novels and three collections of short stories. The Dinner, his sixth novel, was published in twenty-five countries and was an international bestseller. He currently lives in Amsterdam.

  • angel

    I won a copy of this book and I am thrilled to add it to my spring reading list !

  • priscilla

    Thank you so much for the book. I can’t wait to read it. It sounds great, especially since I am married to a doctor :)

    • priscilla

      I received my book this week. Thank you, again!!

  • Melissa I.

    This one looks awesome especially with my particular views on the medical topic so I opened my email like a kid on Christmas morning, but I’m a loser. I did want to to stop by to thank Read It Forward, the publisher and author for a chance at this. Also, I thought it was really cool that the those who don’t win are sent emails that we didn’t win so we know. That was really cool to see even if it’s a bummer feeling. Mysteries/thrillers are the best genre ever for me followed by romance of all kinds. to all who won ~*Congratulations & Happy Reading*~ Thank you, again for the great opportunity! :)

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Thanks so much, Melissa, we helping us spread the word! We love reading your thoughtful comments. (Sorry you had trouble posting – thank you for typing again!) We agree that it’s much more fun to talk about a complex, flawed narrator.

  • Melissa I.

    This one looks awesome especially with my particular views on the medical topic so I opened my email like a kid on Christmas morning, but I’m a loser. I did want to to stop by to thank Read It Forward, the publisher and author for a chance at this. Also, I thought it was really cool that the those who don’t win are sent emails that we didn’t win so we know. That was really cool to see even if it’s a bummer feeling. Mysteries/thrillers are the best genre ever for me followed by romance of all kinds. to all who won ~*Congratulations & Happy Reading*~ Thank you, again for the great opportunity! :)

    As far as the question for today: I believe it all depends on the book, the person and what they did to make them “not likable”. Many books I still root for the bad guy because underlying in many books there are still redeemable qualities in the person. I don’t like to think of the bad things that are done or that those bad things should go unpunished, but I do try to see both sides and the good in people. It makes for a more fun read when your both angry and feeling sympathy for the narrator. I’ll tweet this forward as well. Tweeted and pinned the contest page so I’ll do the same with the winner/question page so hopefully more people will get involved in he discussions here on RIF. Enjoy the book, everyone :)

  • Melissa I.

    This one looks awesome especially with my particular views on the medical topic so I opened my email like a kid on Christmas morning, but I’m a loser. I did want to to stop by to thank Read It Forward, the publisher and author for a chance at this. Also, I thought it was really cool that the those who don’t win are sent emails that we didn’t win so we know. That was really cool to see even if it’s a bummer feeling. Mysteries/thrillers are the best genre ever for me followed by romance of all kinds. to all who won ~*Congratulations & Happy Reading*~

    As far as the question for today: I believe it all depends on the book, the person and what they did to make them “not likable”. Many books I still root for the bad guy because underlying in many books there are still redeemable qualities in the person. I don’t like to think of the bad things that are done or that those bad things should go unpunished, but I do try to see both sides and the good in people. It makes for a more fun read when your both angry and feeling sympathy for the narrator. Will tweet and pin again so hopefully more people will get involved in the discussions on RIF. Enjoy the book, everyone :)

  • Melissa I.

    My comments keep disappearing :(

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      We’re seeing them, Melissa! Thanks so much.

      • Melissa I.

        Hi Mira, Thank you for letting me know. I still can’t see Amy of them except for this one. I’m so sorry for being a bother. I’ll go into the disqus account to see if I can delete them there. One was long enough so of you’re seeing all three then that just annoying. Didn’t mean to be a bother. I’m so sorry, but thank you for So kind. I’ve tweeted and Hope you see a lot more I interaction headed your way because what this is is really unique and wonderful. The discussions are so great I. This tech world where people come, go and don’t interact so much. Fantastic questions as well. Anyway, apologies and I’ll try to delete my over long replies. If not maybe you can from your end. Deepest apologies. Just a great site you have. Wishing you all the best.

      • Melissa I.

        No luck in being able to delete my comments. I can’t even see them on this page so hopefully you may be able to from your end. I’m highly embarrassed at this point. I appreciate a you do.

  • techeditor

    I won an ARC of this book on goodreads.com. I haven’t received it yet, but I look forward to the unlikable and untrustworthy narrator. If I think of it, I’ll come back here and post my review. I always post my reviews on goodreads.com and librarything.com. On goodreads, I post as “Beth.”

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Wonderful, thank you Beth!

  • Teresa Salvatore

    I’m dying to read this one! I loved The Dinner. Anxiously-Awaiting pub date!

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      I loved THE DINNER, too, Teresa! One of my faves – I felt totally manipulated – in the very best way!

      • Teresa Salvatore

        Yes, I agree absolutely. I wish I could read Dutch! Then I wouldn’t have to wait to read this one! ;)

  • Joyce Biela

    I received the e-mail on Mar. 18 that I had won a copy of this, but haven’t received this one or the other book that I was told I won the week before. Do most people get their books around 30 days after, or does it usually take longer? Just wondering. I was so excited that I won.

    • Melissa I.

      Hi Joyce,

      I was wondering the same thing last night. I had stumbled on this site and my first entry was a win of a copy of “Triple Knot” that hasn’t arrived yet and then saw it elsewhere for a shot to win it and I was unsure what to do…..just wait it out and see if the one from here shows up or enter the new contest for the same book in case the win from here was forgotten. I didn’t want to win it twice and take the op away from somebody else. Unsure what to do also.

      I had posted the same thing about being grateful for the “sorry you didn’t win this time” emails also. Something to look forward to and knowing one way or the other is a really cool thing that RIF does. Very excited to have won also so I Hope you get your books soon!! I wanted too win this one SOOOOOOOO bad, but luck wasn’t on my side for any after “Triple Knot”.

      All the best to you and Happy Reading when you do get them :)

      • Joyce Biela

        Hi Melissa, Actually the other book I won and haven’t received yet is the “Triple Knot”, too, so maybe they are on the way soon! I was so excited because I won those two right after I joined this site. Nothing since then but I’m still excited to hopefully get them soon. I saw your comment about their e-mails whether or not you win and was agreeing with you when I wrote that. I always wonder when I enter something if I won or not so it’s so nice that they let you know. But I’m hoping now that we’ll get our books soon and hopefully you’ll win again with something you really want to read. Have a good night. :)

    • priscilla

      I just received mine this week.

  • Ginny Penley

    I got an email saying I had won also, but have not received the book.

  • Jodi Redler

    Received the book as a prize winner and just finished it. What a treat. Marc is a really well developed complicated character. You don’t whether to cheer for him or not like him–I experienced both feelings–strongly. Loved this book.

    • Carol Lawman

      I felt the same way about Marc – a strong initial dislike followed by “well, I guess you’re not so bad!”

  • binabug

    ok well seeing from the feedback on here, most people don’t get the books. Which is actually a big loss for the author as I tend to repeat buy just because of an author!!!