Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

Reviewer: Liza Perrat, author of The Bone Angel trilogy (Spirit of Lost Angels, Wolfsangel, Blood Rose Angel) and new release, The Silent Kookaburra.

What we thought: The first of Christos Tsiolkas’ books I’ve read, I thoroughly enjoyed the honest, raw, in-your-face style of The Slap. At a backyard barbecue in suburban Melbourne, a man loses his temper and slaps a badly misbehaving child. This slap sets off a whole range of opinions, in which friends and families find themselves in battle against each other when the child’s parents take the offender to court.

Told through eight different viewpoints, this highly-acclaimed Greek-Australian author depicts our dishonesty, brutality, vanity, infidelity and homophobia, along with a whole plethora of other ugly traits. Coupled with the unbridled profanity, this is perhaps what has alienated many reviewers who have reacted badly to this story and to its very flawed characters. I did not find any of the grossness gratuitous. For me, it is simply the cold, harsh truth about humankind. It is human nature laid bare. Like it or lump it, this is what we are. These are the messy, nasty complications of relationships and family life, and I see the story as the author making a plea to his readers for understanding and tolerance; to lay aside prejudices against those different from ourselves.

Quite simply, a great book.

Listen to JJ Marsh’s interview with Christos Tsiolkas on Words With Jam here.

You’ll like this if you enjoy:
honest accounts of human nature

Avoid if you don’t like: blunt criticisms of the people in today’s world, profanity, adultery, homophobia.

Ideal accompaniments: barbecued lamb chops, a schooner of beer and a comfy chair in a leafy Aussie backyard.

Genre: General Contemporary Fiction

Available on Amazon

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