The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

I loved this book. The Slap is an edgy, daring, in-your-face story of some very interesting and crude characters living in and around Melbourne, Australia. The writing is forceful, almost violent in its direct intensity. The author pulls no punches and writes about the casual depravity of ordinary people in an ordinary suburban setting.

At the center of the story is an incident that happened at a nice Sunday picnic in a Melbourne Park. Bratty 3-year-old Hugo is terrorizing the adult guests and bullying the other children. When he goes too far and physically threatens a child, the father slaps him. Of course havoc ensues and the reader gets to hear from all the voices of the guests at the picnic.

The book has overt sexual scenes and obscene language which might offend some readers. However, 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. But do characters in a book need to be likable? No, but they have to be interesting. The reader has to be interested enough in them to continue on to the end of the story. And these characters ARE interesting. Interesting uptake on modern suburban life.

Find and request this book in our catalog.


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