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The Slap [Paperback]

Christos Tsiolkas
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (454 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

17 Mar 2011
At a suburban barbecue one afternoon, a man slaps an unruly boy.

The boy is not his son.

It is a single act of violence, but this one slap reverberates through the lives of everyone who witnesses it happen.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Reprint edition (17 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848873565
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848873568
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (454 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


The must-read novel of the summer. --Guardian

Honestly, one of the three or four truly great novels of the new millennium. --John Boyne

The Slap is nothing short of a tour de force. --Colm Tóibín

About the Author

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of four novels: Loaded (filmed as Head-On) The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. The Slap won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize 2009 and was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the ALS Gold Medal. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
302 of 333 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Throw another Point Of View on the barbie. 30 May 2010
By doublegone TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a long book and it took me a while to get into it. I was in fact on the point of abandoning it when it eventually did pick up a bit. One of the problems is that at the start you are confronted by a large cast of characters and I for one was a bit bewildered trying to keep up with who everyone was to begin with. Anyway, I did persevere and I am quite glad I did although this is by no means a perfect book.

An adult smacks someone else's misbehaving child at a barbecue and the ripples from this event spread out through a chain of eight different people whose point of view we are given one after the other. If you pick up the book and have a glance at the blurb you might get the impression that it sets out to explore the rights and wrongs of the slapping incident - but the smack seems to be there merely to offer a link between the characters. The book is really a portrait of contemporary and cosmopolitan Australia. As such it is reasonably interesting but plot wise its difficult to glean any point to the story as we meander through the lives of the eight narrators.

I must add that I am quite surprised how many other reviewers have been upset by some of the language used in this book. The dialogue contains fairly run of the mill swearing and its puzzling to imagine there are poor flowers out there over the age of 8 and outside of a convent who are offended by this. Similarly some of the characters exhibit casual racism but we are it seems to me supposed to disapprove of them for this. Exposing such racism makes this an anti-racist book in my opinion. There is racism in Australia, and sometimes people swear. Its odd to think some readers think this is the author's fault. It seems an honest and accurate depiction of a society to me.

This is a flawed book though, and not as engaging as I would have wished.
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141 of 161 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Melbourne book for Melbourne people 17 May 2010
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Christos Tsiolkas is a Melbourne writer and The Slap is a Melbourne book. It delivers a number of portraits of Melbourne types - the Greek car dealer; the Indian vet; the soap opera world; the gay teenager; the bogan mother and more. The portraits are all loosely linked to one another, deriving from a barbecue at which the horrid bogan toddler is slapped by the Greek car dealer. But the novel is not plot driven, it is 100% character focused. There is no great ending to draw it all together; the novel might as well be seen as a set of short essays.

The demographics, the reported movement of families around the northern and eastern suburbs was revealing. Melbourne is undergoing great social change right now - as it has probably done since its foundation. There is a reference to the soaring real estate prices, with a knowing assertion that a million dollar shoe box is still a shoe box - although more colourful language was used to make the point. The implication, clearly, was that the people living in it might have become millionaires but they are still what they ever were.

The Slap also charts the changing social attitudes in Melbourne. There are three distinct generations in the piece - teenagers; forty-somethings; and the grandparents. Each generation had thought they were the rebels; the trailblazers but then get swept aside by the next generation. It's all a matter of perception, and after reading old man Manolis's section one can't help but think that today's young rebels, rude, brash and arrogant have a somewhat easier life than their ancestors.

The Slap does a great job in giving life and expression to ordinary Melburnians. It offers a convincing vision and conveys a strong sense of place. It is long, involved and very much a slow burner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A long slog 15 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The publicity for this book has been about the narrative pivot: the ramifications of a man hitting someone else's child. I say `pivot' rather than `focal point' because that is not really what the book is about. It is really just a device to tie together a series of stories, some connected, others only linked to the over-arching stories by contrivance. The book's real aim is less to explore the issue of `the slap' itself, and more to present a panoramic picture of life in suburban Melbourne. In that regard it is only partially successful.
The key strengths are flashes of original writing (the first 20 pages or so seemed especially fresh to me), and a measure of psychological insight. But these are overshadowed by the weaknesses. Few of the key characters (around a dozen) are very interesting in themselves, and most are superficially drawn. Insofar as there is psychological insight, it is never sustained for very long. The episodic structure gives very little sense of characters changing over time, and overall the novel is light on `plot' as such. These shortcomings make the book much harder work than it ought to be, and there is little to compel the reader's attention.
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559 of 647 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Slap 28 Aug 2010
By TomCat
If Christos Tsiolkas had wanted to name his novel after its most prominent moment or topic, then he should have called it `unpleasant people having repetitive, unpleasant sex' rather than 'The Slap'. The novel's titular event is barely a footnote to the plot, and Tsiolkas seems morally afraid to engage with the issue on any significant plane: 'The Slap' is neither emotionally nor intellectually demanding and offers no insight into the ethical conundrum posed by its blurb.

At a BBQ in Melbourne, Australia, a four-year-old boy named Hugo is acting every bit the insufferable, entitled, disruptive and unpleasant infant his parents have brought him up to be. In an effort to calm the rowdy and precocious boy, a man who isn't his father slaps him in front of the entire gathering.

The domestic corporal punishment of children is a contentious issue; even more so when the chastisement is delivered by a non-parent. In some countries (not Australia) it's completely illegal, and in most parts of the world the concept is associated with a niche of old-fashioned parenting, perhaps synonymous with the traditionalist right.

Child slapping has also received an unprecedented amount of media attention in recent years; it's an issue about which everybody has an opinion - even if you've not been a parent, then you've been a child - making it perfect fodder for the popular novel. Perhaps this universal interest accounts for the novel's ridiculous sales record; it's currently the best-selling book of the 2010 Booker Prize longlist, and according to some sources, it's sold a staggering 5000% more copies than its closest competitor, Room by Emma Donoghue.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Slap
This is an enjoyable and clever book, looking at one incident from the point of view of several guests at a party. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Christine Cole
3.0 out of 5 stars Good!
Well written but I was disappointed as I thought it was more psychological lesson. Might be a good read for people looking after children.
Published 1 month ago by Nellie
2.0 out of 5 stars Great premise but dissapointing execution
At first sight this is a really interesting premise for a book, but it seems to lose its way and becomes cliched and incredibly frustrating.
Published 1 month ago by Sarah
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking
interesting book, which I feel tries to encompass too many issues at once, less might have been more in this cast. worth reading though.
Published 1 month ago by Wonder Woman
1.0 out of 5 stars Filthy
I was interested in the principle of whether a slap is ethically and morally right but the language is disgusting, it is crude and an embarrassing read!
Published 1 month ago by Kristine Dickson
1.0 out of 5 stars Someone Slap The Author
I'd seen this novel advertised everywhere.

And I'd read the almost universal praise: it's amazing, funny, thought-provoking, smart, life-changing, genius, original, a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by George Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars couldn't let goof it
I hardly read as I prefer to listen to audiobooks. This was very different, heard about this book through the book review podcast on bbc and the story sounded familiar to me:... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Basel
1.0 out of 5 stars Characters were awful
This had been recommended to our book club to read. It was dreadful, there wasn't one pleasant character in the whole book, needless to say the person who chose it still gets some... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Heather DUNCAN
4.0 out of 5 stars Bold and Modern
As I have a married daughter living in Melbourne, it was interesting to read an authentic-sounding novel of part of the city's ethnic scene. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rev Erie
2.0 out of 5 stars high hopes not realised
I found this book very hard going Could not warm to any of the characterrs. The story was tedious and did not hold my interest . Read more
Published 2 months ago by pat krause
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