I'm surprised at the level of negative criticism on Amazon directed at this book - although it makes a pleasant change from the usual uniform plaudits. I really enjoyed this book and thought that the author really captured the zeitgeist of his class and generation in Australia. It really gave a good insight into Australian urban society especially with regard to the ethnic diversity.
Alot has been said about the unsympathetic characters - I disagree. I think the author painted a well rounded picture of their flaws - mainly pride and stubborness - all quite true to reality. It takes a while to really get going - it wasn't until the "Connie" chapter that the book really gripped me. My favourite chapters were those centering on Connie and Rosie. Rosie, in particular, comes accross as vulnerable and her relationship with her deadbeat husband is so well portrayed it is eerie in its grittiness.
I think this is a book that speaks to a certain generation, what used to be descibed as Generation X. Those that came of age in the late 80's and 90's (my generation). It reminded me alot of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, that other great zeitgeist defining novel. Whereas Trainspotting explored the lives of the Scottish underclass, the Slap's characters are largely middle class.
Readers of a sensitive dispostion should probabaly steer clear. Like Trainspotting there is lots of gratuitous sex and drug taking. No doubt many of those prudish book club members who were given this as their novel for the month came in for a nasty shock. That can only be a good thing. A classic.