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The Slap [Paperback]

Christos Tsiolkas
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.99
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Book Description

July 19 2010

The reverberations from the slap are far-reaching, affecting the marriages and friendships of all those who witness it. What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex, marriage, and the fury and intensity that family can arouse.

In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas brilliantly weaves together a maze of complex relationships. Told through the eyes of eight different characters, the slap and the ensuing emotional maelstrom become catalysts for an unflinching and all-seeing journey into the modern family and domestic life. Children come of age, marriages teeter on the brink and midlife crises erupt against a backdrop of lust, jealousy, deception and inadequacy.

In its penetrating and incisive examination of the evergrowing middle class and its fears and aspirations, The Slap is a fiercely intelligent and provocative story about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth.


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Review

?What makes this novel a winner are its originality and the amazingly wide range of its characters. . . . Like canada?s Mordecai Richler, tsiolkas is unflinching in depicting the hypocrisies of his own community, but his portraits are never one-dimensional.?
-- Winnipeg Free Press ()

About the Author

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of three novels: Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A no-holds-barred tale of modern family life Aug. 10 2009
By MD
Format:Paperback
The Slap is a very modern tale of families, relationships, careers, lifestyles, and coming of age. Told from 8 different perspectives, including high school students, a single unmarried woman, married women and men, and an elderly grandfather, we see the struggles that each face in their own life and in their interactions with each other. At times, the dialogue, sexual conduct, drug use and alcoholism are shocking, but yet also utterly believable and even relatable. I found myself comparing my own feelings to those of the characters - sometimes completely opposed, and other times completely understanding.

As another reviewer points out, despite being set in Australia, this story could just as easily take place in Canada or the US. An easy read, interesting, fun, and suitable for both men and women.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Started strong Nov. 25 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first few chapters were very engaging and I really wanted to know more about the other characters. But by the end, that interest faded to mild curiosity. This could have been 5 chapters shorter and it would have been more powerful.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Excess bad writing Nov. 5 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I felt that there was far too much bad language and sex that was completely un needed. I felt like i had to take a shower and scrub my brain after reading it for only a few chapters. I made it as far as the Connie chapter then called it quits. I feel that it was a terrible book, good idea just badly written
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4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... Oct. 23 2013
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In "The Slap," a small incident turns into a big novel: the slapping of a four-year-old brat at a BBQ in suburban Melbourne balloons into 500 pages that follow the lives of eight witnesses. Hector, a civil servant of Greek origin, and his Indian wife, Aisha, host the event while Hector's cousin, Harry, administers the slap to Hugo, spoilt son of ex-hippy Rosie and alcoholic Gary. Hector's parents as well as Anouk, a Jewish, single, 40-something friend of Aisha's round out the cast of main characters.

As the novel digs into the lives of these individuals, the actual slap gets sidetracked as Christos Tsiolkas deftly concentrates on Australia's multicultural relations, balancing tensions, animosities, fissures and relationships. Certainly, his prose sometimes reads awkwardly and some characters pique more interest than others but, on the whole, this edgy book constantly pushes boundaries and questions assumptions. From racism to the contradictions of liberalism to the crisis of masculinity, "The Slap" invokes unease while providing a gripping read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing content Sept. 9 2013
By Sarah
Format:Kindle Edition
I bought this book because I thought the premise would bring up interesting points of view and human dynamics, which it did. I have, however, found the book disturbing because of the derogatory remarks about every racial group imaginable, the misogynistic violence, sometimes only in thought, but still very vitriolic, of the men in the story. I am not sure I would recommend this and certainly don't feel it represents typical life in the modern world - at least not in my experience.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Boring May 21 2013
Format:Paperback
I was unable to finish the book. The characters were generally so unattractive that I could not care what happened to them, And I like Australians.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult book to actually review... Sept. 22 2010
By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
and it was a difficult book to actually read.

Another reviewer, who definitely didn't like the book, used this description .."Let's see... teenage sexuality, Muslim conversion, racism, child rearing, breastfeeding, assault and child abuse, adultery, drug taking, alcoholism, selling out to popular culture, family, role of parents, multiculturalism, John Howard's policies, Aboriginality... " to enumerate "The Slap's" plot points. And she was dead-on right. Author Christos Tsiolkas takes on almost every issue in today's society in Australia - the good along with the bad. Does he do a good job at it? I think he does, but, boy, I can sure see why other readers didn't think so.

"The Slap" is told in eight different voices; those of eight people who had been guests at a Melbourne picnic where a man slapped a naughty child who he thought threatened his own child. Lives were changed because of this slap, some minor, others major. The center of the book, does someone have the right to discipline another person's child? In this case, the three year old child, "Hugo", was receiving no parental guidance. He was allowed to run wild and had upset many guests at the party. This child was just cruisin' for a bruisin'!

The book has overt sexual scenes and obscene language. I can see how that might offend some readers. But, I didn't think the sex and language was used in a gratuitous way. It seemed intrinsic to the story. Tsiolkas writes very well and movingly about relationships. Relationships of all sorts; between parents and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters. Even between bosses and employees. No main character gets off easy in Tsiolkas's telling. All have faults - some more grievous than others - and most are not likable.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too many characters and a plot with no substance Sept. 22 2009
Format:Paperback
"The Slap" made me want to do two things, "slap" the author silly for his long-winded, dull and boring novel and secondly, heave the cumberson drivel into the nearest trash bin. First of all, there are far too many characters: Hector, Aisha, Adam, Melissa, Connie, Brendan, Tasha, Elizabeth, Sava, Angeliki, Koula, Ari, Raf, Harry, Sandi, Rocco, Bilal (also known as Terry,) Shamira, Ibby, Bilal, Sonja, Manoli, Harry, Rosie, Gary, Hugo, Anouk, Rhys, Ravi, Dedjan, Ritchie, Tracey, Leanna - all within the first 40 pages! Give me a break!

As one reads further, there is another new endless batch of characters, none of whom inspire, captivate or seem to have any significant importance to the book. Perhaps because there are so many characters floating around in this endless, exhausting saga, with the exception of Hector and Aisha, the characters are not well developed and definitely not interesting enough to hold the reader's attention. The plot, if there is one (a child is slapped at a barbeque by Harry,) drags on...and on...and on. Would I recommend this tedious, mindless, yawn-inspiring tale of woe - definitely not. Root canal work would be less painful.

What would I recommend? Try Linda Holeman's " In a Far Country" or Kate Morton's "The Forgotten Garden." Both are fantastic literary works of art.
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