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The Slap cover art

The Slap

By: Christos Tsiolkas
Narrated by: Alex Dimitriades
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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling cult author of Loaded and Dead Europe here turns his blowtorch onto the belly of middle-class suburban Australia and its notions of child-rearing and acceptable behavior.

At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own. This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the incident. In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the 21st century. The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires. What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity - all the passions and conflicting beliefs - that family can arouse.

In its clear-eyed and forensic dissection of the ever-growing middle class and its aspirations and fears, The Slap is also a poignant, provocative novel about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth.

©2008 Christos Tsiolkas. (P)2009 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"With The Slap, Tsiolkas secures his place as one of Australia's most important novelists." ( The Age)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

High rating for a book I hated

Attempted this years ago and put aside early. Now read and finished in two long bursts. Definitely not what I was expecting, i.e. follow up on a child slapped, (which eventually brought about a law in New Zealand where to slap a child became illegal.. another story lies hidden here!). Instead it harrowingly delves into the lives of a group of multicultural people in Melbourne from mainly Greek and Aussie backgrounds who witnessed the slap. Most characters are portrayed by highlighting their generally ugly inner thoughts both of their peers and their world, their baseless self-arrogance, their lack of control or any care and empathy, and express themselves crudely in foul language. The nicer characters are overridden and struggle weakly beside these others. I hated this book and most the characters so intensely it compelled me to keep reading.. human nature can be so challenging, disheartening and disturbing.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

This is NOT how all Australians are

This book had so many unlikeable characters, so much horrific language that wouldn't be used by most Aussies and really had very little point.
I found their intertwining stories to be boring and really unrelated to the situation itself and if it was trying to be like the movie Crash, it failed.
Narration was inconsistent and every second the person would have a new voice.
People reading or listening to this book from overseas would be horrified and this is a pretty poor portrayal of "Aussie life".

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A masterpiece of truths from the kaleidoscope of this authors lens

How is it even possible for the author, a man, to know women so intimately? Christos Tsiolkas shows unnerving genius in revealing every complexity of the female body mind and heart. Sitting with his characters as they get drunk together, seek intimacy and find life’s true meaning feels like eavesdropping in every sense. And as if this wasn’t enough he fleshes out this extraordinary book with the stories of people - good people- who struggle with the fallout from a polarising moment when a young child is slapped at a family gathering.
You take sides. You question your beliefs about appropriate behaviour and punishment. You crave forgiveness for the guilty and feel breathlessly tense when it rushes to an agonising moment of potential disaster.
Read by actor Alex Dimitriades, who went on to play Harry in the TV mini series, this book is rich warm and unflinching- taking the reader into the homes of a middle class Australia soaked in alcohol and soothed by family loyalties.
I think this is a masterpiece. I adored Alex’s read - although for the first few chapters it felt rushed. By the time he reads the story of Manoly his accents are delightfully, wickedly, heartwarming.
Thoroughly recommended!

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3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Don't bother

Really disappointed in this book, I'd heard lits of positives about it.
The characters were annoying and there really wasn't much of a story.
It dragged on and on, I got bored and returned it.
Also, being from Altona, the author's description of it was way off. it was like he drove past it once without bothering to visit and made a snap judgement.

Alex Dimitriades was a great narrator though. Could listen to him for days if he had decent material!

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but racy

Really enjoyed this book but found the descriptions of sex unnecessary & pornographic. The story itself was great.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A thought provoking tale.

I really enjoyed The Slap. It was thought provoking, challenging and heart breaking. Beware the C word!

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Complicated

I was extremely interested in the book and couldn’t wait to start listening. I feel like I have just finished listening to an overrated story that was very little about “the slap”, but rather more about over complicated lives with sexual content that the story line seemed to want to shock the listener.
The narrator was annoying and difficult to listen to and I often felt I needed to yell -“enough”.
I wanted to like this book so much that I had to listen to the end to know why the book and the television series was rated highly. What a disappointment and underwhelming novel. I wished I hadn’t wasted my time. By chapter 3 the drama of the slap was over with another 10 chapters of nothing memorable.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly slow

Had seen so many great reviews for this book, was really looking forward to reading, but I was really disappointed and struggled to get through it.
The pace is slow, the slap storyline is only a small portion of the storyline and most of the characters are very unlikeable.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

a slice of society

A sometimes uncomfortable reflection on Australian lives lived across our multicultural society. Earts and all. The whacky mother of the slapped child is a reflection of the loss of good parenting skills - letting the child call the shots with no boundaries and forgetting who is supposed to be the adult.
I do think the author has a pretty poor/low opinion of women though ... through words spoken or the thoughts of the characters. But that is a sad reflection of the misogynistic and paternalistic history and culture of Australia... and that is very annoying.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great story

Another bold story from Christos that hooked me. Life gets messy! A great narration by Alex.

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