At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own. This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event. In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic ...
At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own. This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event. In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first century. The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires. What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity - all the passions and conflicting beliefs - that family can arouse. In its clear-eyed and forensic dissection of the ever-growing middle class and its aspirations and fears, The Slap is also a poignant, provocative novel about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth. 'Like all Tsiolkas' work, it is wildly energetic and fearless, thrillingly about our lives now.' - Helen Garner 'I can't recall an Australian novel that so perfectly encompassed the Australian middle ground while at the same time veering so far away from presenting traditionally white-bread characters. It's often said that the best politicians are those who can instinctively divine the zeitgeist of their country's centre. For the ones who can't, I would place The Slap as mandatory bedside table reading.' - Venero Armanno, Weekend Australian.
Publishers Weekly, 2010-02-01 This astute exploration of suburban aspirations and failings, winner of the Commonwealth Prize and Tsiolkas's first novel to be published in the U.S., opens at a barbecue in Melbourne, Australia, where nearly two dozen characters are introduced in the opening vignette. The reader barely has time to absorb their names and relationships before the pivotal event occurs: a man, Harry, slaps a bratty child who is threatening his son. At the center of the altercation are Hector, Harry's cousin, and Hector's wife, Aisha, who is friends with Rosie, the mother of the boy who's been slapped. When Rosie and her alcoholic husband press charges, longstanding relationships threaten to fall apart. Told from eight perspectives, each of which gets a novella-like chapter, the novel vividly demonstrates the wide-ranging effects of a single moment's rash decision on characters as varied as Harry's 71-year-old uncle and a high school student coming to terms with his sexuality. Beyond simply igniting the plot, the fateful slap draws attention to generational and philosophical differences regarding family life and the complex political, social, and ethnic milieu of contemporary Australia. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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