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The Slap Paperback – January 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 485 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin; First Edition (5th printing) edition (2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741753597
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741753592
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (208 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,592,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

In my opinion, the characters were not very well developed nor realistic.
Book Thirsty
The language, the sex, even the drug use in the first third of the book was off-putting, just too over the top.
I found myself not really caring about the characters or what happened in the book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Patterson on August 21, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has occasioned a lot of controversy with many people thinking that it is misogynistic. It's overly simplistic to see this story as full of misogyny, but even if the charge held, novelists are under no obligation to be politically correct.

This is in many ways an old fashioned novel. It has a beginning, middle and an end.
Christos Tsiolkas is giving us his version of social reality and satirizing the concerns of the middle class of the 21st century. Maybe there's more cursing and sex than readers of literary novels like, but it's not gratuitous cursing and sex. It does contribute to the picture he paints of his characters. The men and women are ambivalent about one another. The characters are not always easy to like, but Mr. Tsoilkas helps us understand them.

I found Rosie, the indulgent mother of the 4 year child that is slapped, only too believable. Her child menaces an older child with a baseball bat and later in the novel spits on an elderly man out of pure malice and--that most insidious of 21st century diseases--entitlement Yet Rosie oblivious to her son's faults, is walking around with dirty hair explaining to a friend that she and her husband are trying to teach him about water conservation. But I felt sorry for her as well. She is isolated from her narcissistic mother and overly protective of her difficult husband and her young son, but enraged when her friends seem to favor family loyalties over loyalty to her.

One of the more sympathetic characters in the book is Manoli the elderly uncle of he man who delivers the slap. Manoli struggles to understand why his daughter-in-law would side with Rosie, rather than with her family.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Karie Hoskins VINE VOICE on June 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are different levels of knowing a character in a story. There's the upper level...where you know what actions a character takes - what happens to a character. There's the next level, where you know many of the character's thoughts and start to know how s/he is feeling, getting some sense of what the person might do next. And then there is the level that is reached in "The Slap". The reader knows what the characters do, how they feel...and what they really think. By that I mean even those nasty, fleeting thoughts that one can't control and that one rarely acts on...but that have settled down in the murky depths of our animal souls.

I am glad I read this book - it was interesting how my opinions changed of the eight characters the reader is given full access to as I experienced more of their thoughts and actions. In all cases but two, I went from liking them or only mildly disliking them to thinking they were truly awful people. Well drawn and realistic people, which almost made me like them even less.

The pivot point of the book is right there in the title - the slap that happens at a barbeque. Friends and family gather for what promises to be a pleasant evening, too much food but only the usual everyday human dramas...when everything changes. As the cover says, "a man slaps a child who is not his own..."

Each character has his or her own ties to the man and to the child, has their own opinion of the right and wrong of what happened. While not all of their lives are as deeply affected by the act and by the events that follow - they are all touched by this unexpected and shocking event.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By SJM (aka Cookie's Mom) on January 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
I did purchase this book, but not through Amazon. I was hooked by the tag line for this book. I thought, being a mother, the subject matter might be of interest to me, and the book had received several accolades. The book was nothing like I expected, and not in a good way. I enjoyed components of the book, but the only reason it didn't get turfed on the shelf or into the recycle bin after the first few chapters is because I wanted to see these nasty characters get what they deserved. I kept reading because I just had to see justice prevail. I was dissatisfied in that respect also. I was so annoyed by this book that you might wonder why I gave it 3 out of a potential 5 stars. The writing was good, save the over-use of profanities, which reminded me of a comedian's use of profanity to make up for a lack of content (compare Eddie Murphy - e.g in his movie Raw - to Bill Cosby, for example - one feels the need to swear to be funny, and the other doesn't). Tsiolkas was capable of making me vehemently detest some of his characters, and that does require skill. As I was reading this book, I must have complained at least every chapter about how much I loathed this book, yet I continued reading. Clearly I loathed the characters, and wasn't fond of aspects of Tsiolkas style, but it was a good enough book to warrant a middling rating. It's certainly not a book I'd read again, but it's possible that in some remote region of my subconscious, I'm somehow better for having read it.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Matt on November 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Oh, how gratified we Australians are, and particularly Melburnians, to have a book set in a place we recognise. "I might have had a drink in that bar opposite Federation Square." "Yes, I've sat on a restaurant balcony in St Kilda looking at the Bay." And then the Australian-based awards flow like honey. As they have for The Slap.

You are not likely to read anything that will engage your passions, or even intellectual interest, on the subject of slapping as a method of child discipline. You probably already have your views, and this book won't change them. But it's a handy enough device for kicking off a story that keeps rolling along well enough, with the changing point of view through eight disparate characters keeping you reasonably engaged.

It's basically a book about ordinary enough people doing ordinary enough things. Most of it wouldn't be out of place as a screenplay for a Neighbours episode. (For those who don't know, Neighbours is a long-running Australian TV soap opera watched by a few Australian teenagers and many Brits of all ages.)

The one aspect that I found repellent was the constant emphasis on race. No characters are introduced without immediate mention of their race, and even second and third generation immigrants appear not to feel at home in Australia or even seem to want to do so. It's an ugly picture of a society of splintered tribes, which I don't think reflects current Australian reality and I hope it never does.

Like Tsiolkas' other works, this one features plenty of raw sex scenes, though most of the ones in this novel are heterosexual. Don't read it if you don't like these; if you don't mind, then go ahead. As other reviewers have said, the sex scenes are written from a masculine and phallocentric perspective. And why not, there's no reason why all sex scenes have to be in Mills and Boon style
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