The Nopes: Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

I should have had a review up this week for Summer House With Swimming Pool, but I don’t. I made it to page 50 and said, “Nope.”

nope octopus

Here’s why. The narrator is a doctor, a GP. Somehow, probably because he plays fast and loose with the prescription pad, he has a lot of patients who are artists and actors. He is a terrible doctor. He tells them what they want to hear and rarely listens to anything they tell him. He puts off tests, because sending his patients off to specialists will lose him money and he doesn’t like specialists anyway. He doesn’t care about them or their health.

I thought maybe I could get past some of this, then this happened. He relates how when his patients come to see him, and he or she gets undressed, he imagines them having sex with their spouse. And he describes those thoughts in detail.


I’ll put up with a lot of questionable stuff when it comes novels but apparently I have my limits and I believe pill-pushing, pervy doctors is it. I know this guy is not someone to admire right from the beginning but I cannot stay in this guy’s head. It’s…ewwwww.

This guy has no empathy, no compassion, and he’s just gross. At the beginning of the book, he’s getting read to appear before the Board of Medical Examiners. I hope he went to jail. I hope he went to jail, did not pass go, and did not collect $200.

Is Herman Koch trying to be like Vladimir Nabokov when he wrote Lolita? With Lolita I was seduced by the language, I was just grossed out by Summer House With Swimming Pool. I didn’t see anything there for me, or a reason to continue. In fact, someone on Twitter told me that things just get worse. So, no. It didn’t work for me.

This was a DNF. Thanks to Crown for the review copy via Netgalley.


  1. Best GIF ever, and very fitting. I think this would freak me out, too.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. I felt Nope-ish about it, too.


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