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The Slap: A Novel Paperback – 2010

21 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2010
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143117149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143117148
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 3.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,272,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By MD on Aug. 10 2009
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on Oct. 23 2013
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By simonado on Oct. 4 2014
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
What a vitriolic novel! I've never read a novel where all the characters were so superficial and lacking in empathy. Supposedly divided into eight unique voices, it's just a repetitive cacophony of self-indulgent, self-centered horrible people. It's also lacking in the voices that I think would have been more interesting: Bilal and Shamira, Gary, even one of the kids Hugo or Adam. Instead, again and again, eight chapters of awful people.

Moreover, I felt manipulated throughout the whole piece, like the author was trying to make us pick a side. Didn't work for me. I disliked everyone equally. What a horrible portrayal of Australians. I'm embarrassed for my Aussie friends that this book got all the press it did.

I think I'll probably remember the book for awhile. But I don't think there's really much else to recommend it other than it being memorable for being so antagonistic to the reader.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 22 2010
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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