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The Slap: A Novel [Paperback]

Christos Tsiolkas
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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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
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... Oct. 23 2013
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I hated and loved this book. I almost gave up reading it, but I kept going and I'm so happy I did. It's not that the book improved towards the end, but because I could get a better understanding of the whole view and approach of the author. He did an amazing job describing the reality of this world in regards of oh so many modern taboo subjects. Yes, I did find it vulgar and disturbing at times, but unfortunately this is a very realistic picture of the actual society. It would be much more comfortable to read fairy tales.
I found the characters to be very complex, not at all the black or white / good or evil type, which I appreciated a lot.
So, yes, I would recommend this book and advise anybody interested in a good writing to be patient and keep reading. It's going to worth it!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult book to actually review... Sept. 22 2010
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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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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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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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
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.
Published 17 months ago by John F. Brinckman
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring, Crude, Lifeless
It is hard to believe that this book got the recognition it got! The characters are uniformly dull and crass, the sex scenes are gratuitous and seem to be inserted to make up for... Read more
Published on May 24 2012 by Lucy Mack
5.0 out of 5 stars good novel
Author gets inside the heads of his characters very convincingly, women and men both whether young or old. It feels real, the characters feel real. Well written - a very good book. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2010 by Emmaursula
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Read
I am not sure what all the hype is about this book. I certainly don't understand why it was short-listed for the Man Booker. Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2010 by Beggsy
1.0 out of 5 stars Too many characters and a plot with no substance
"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. Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2009 by The Mad Hatter
5.0 out of 5 stars stick with it
This is a terrific novel. I had trouble at first with the opening chapter. It introduced so many characters that I had a hard time keeping people straight. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2009 by sheri
1.0 out of 5 stars I didn't even bother finishing it
I was totally turned off by the book with the vulgar language and unnecessary adultery. It's almost like the author thought he had to include that to make the book seem more... Read more
Published on Sept. 14 2009 by J. Os-Tail
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