Had I seen Christos Tsoilkas' blurb review (which features on the back of The Dinner) before choosing this book, I might not have read it. That's how much I hated The Slap. And there are similarities between the two- all the characters are horrible and the plot centers around a violent act and its repercussions.
But there are differences also: there's less misogeny in The Dinner for one. I think that Tsoilkas writes better, but that could be the fault of translation... There were some sentences that just smacked of translation issues. For example, an exchange between a drunk couple: "And which of us is in any state to drive?" just doesn't ring true.
The premise is good: two couples meet over an expensive dinner to discuss the terrible act their sons have committed. The fact that their crime has been caught on camera provides another layer of conflict, as does the political role that one of the fathers holds.
As I say, all of these characters are unlikable, even the minor characters who do little more than describe the food or overfill the wine glasses are represented unfavorably. The narrator starts off justifiably horrified by what his done has done, but soon enough we learn about his own violent tendencies. As always, the nature/ nurture debate.
The Dinner certainly is gripping and leaves an aftertaste.