Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch is a fiction novel about a doctor being investigated for negligence in the death of one of his patients–a famous actor.
On Tuesday at 9AM, Dr. Marc Schlosser is due before the medical board to discuss the death of one his patients, Ralph Meier. Ralph Meier is a famous actor, and the events surrounding his death appear to be more suspicious than accidental.
Dr. Marc Schlosser has a successful private practice. His office stays busy with patients, and has a waiting list of those trying to get in to see him. He clearly defines his patients as seeing him as the best because he spends more “time” with them. In other words, he diagnosis them within three minutes and spends the rest chatting them up as if he is really being attentive, but could honestly care less.
It is not until a famous actor, Ralph Meier, visits Marc’s office because he got word that Marc is a doctor who likes to freely write prescriptions. Afterwards, Ralph begins inviting Marc to various events in hopes of developing a relationship with his newfound doctor.
After attending a backyard barbecue hosted by Ralph, Marc and his family are invited to Ralph’s family summer vacation home. Caroline, Marc’s wife, is hesitant and does not want to go because she thinks Ralph is scum, which is the same vibe Marc received from Ralph at a previous event they were invited to. Despite this knowledge, Marc is drawn to going because of his infatuation with Judith, Ralph’s wife.
On his own family vacation, Marc decides on a camping spot not far from Ralph’s summer house, and Caroline is furious once she discovers this fact. Caroline wants absolutely nothing to do with Ralph, but gives in because of her daughters and don’t want to come across as rude.
Eventually Marc and his family are invited to actually stay at the summer house with Ralph and his family, which is when the story really begins to unfold and the events leading to Ralph’s death are revealed.
In the beginning I was highly turned off by the main character, Marc, because of his nonchalant and smug attitude–the way he talked about his treatment of his patients made you think he was tying his shoes. However, as the book progressed I came to like him a little and understand his situation. You have to have an open mind about Marc, and be open to his point-of-view to really understand the story.