The Slap Paperback – 17 Mar 2011
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are a lot of hardcore curses and soft porn style sex scenes. It fits the tale. There's low level racism, real world and unpleasant but still part of the tale. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Mrs. B. Mitchell
You no all about this already, right?
The way the book is broken up by character means some chapters are great, others aren't.
But I'm glad I read it.
A truly ghastly book! I abandoned it after the first chapter. I'm not a prude but I found the language unacceptable, the characters unlikeable, and the child most definitely... Read morePublished 2 months ago by jac
I had to force myself to carry on reading this book. Offensive throughoutPublished 2 months ago by michelle hatton
I was okay. I read it for my book club. The story begins with a man slapping somebody else's child at a party. The book then goes on to reveal the lives of all the party guests. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Yvette