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The Slap Paperback – 17 Mar 2011

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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: 12.9 x 3.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (495 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of Loaded (filmed as Head-On), The Jesus Man, Dead Europe and The Slap, which won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize 2009, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010 and shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the ALS Gold Medal. Barracuda is his fifth novel. He lives in Melbourne.

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


"Riveting from beginning to end." (The Guardian)

"... this is a beautifully structured and executed examination of the complexity of modern living; a compelling journey into the darkness of suburbia." (The Independent)

"One of Australia's pre-eminent contemporary novelists." (The Age)

"The Slap is a disturbing book but it is also funny and endearing, presenting the diversity of the Australian experience with a big, warm heart in the middle." (The Independent Weekly)

"...the great thing about The Slap is that it cannot be neatly summarised. Tsiolkas uses his premise as a guide-line to stabilise his larger structure, but his real talent is for exploring the inner lives of his eight primary characters, four women and four men, ranging in age from 18 to 70. And each of these characters is a sharp observer of those around him or her, so many more lives are illuminated as well." (The Guardian) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Juliet Bravo on 29 May 2013
Format: Paperback
Yes, it's quite shocking and visceral. Yes, the characters are unlikeable. But I think it's quite an accurate portrait of modern suburban society in maybe any Westernised city in the world. Who knows what really goes on behind those curtains, at those barbecues? What people are really thinking while they're being outwardly polite to you?
People ARE casually racist, people swear, people have bad sex, people commit adultery and have abortions.
I found it quite fascinating as a portrait of multiracial Australia, I have never been to Australia and I guess my idea of Melbourne comes from Neighbours, where everyone is white Anglo-Saxon (or at least they were when I used to watch it). This book certainly casts Neighbours in a whole new light...
Ok so some of the stereotypes were a little overdone, particularly the extended breastfeeding mother. At first I baulked at the crude way she was criticised, but people really do think things like that about women who breastfeed toddlers (who by the way don't always have dysfunctional children!). Yet the chapter about Rosie was so well drawn in the way it explained her decisions and background. I also really liked the chapter about Manolis (the old Greek dad), which was quite poignant. Harry was horrible, Aisha was shallow, Hector wasn't much better - but don't we all know people like that?
I think it's well written, funny and gripping. And I don't read "trash" novels, I read good stuff generally, it's taken me a few years to get round to this one.
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312 of 346 people found the following review helpful By doublegone TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 May 2010
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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146 of 167 people found the following review helpful By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 May 2010
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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