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The Slap: A Novel Paperback – April 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143117149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143117148
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Although this is Australian author Tsiolkas’ fourth novel, it is the first to be published in the U.S. With its raw style, liberal use of profanity and racial epithets, and laserlike focus on the travails of suburban life, it is a down-and-dirty version of Tom Perrotta’s best-selling Little Children (2004). At a barbecue in a Melbourne suburb, a man loses his temper and slaps the child of the host’s friends. This incident unleashes a slew of divisive opinions, pitting friends and families against each other as the child’s parents take the man to court. Told from eight different viewpoints, the novel also deftly fills in disparate backstories encompassing young and old, single and married, gay and straight, as well as depicting how multiculturalism is increasingly impacting the traditional Aussie ethos. For good measure, the author also throws in male vanity, infidelity, and homophobia. Tsiolkas’ in-your-face style is sure to alienate some readers—the child’s parents, for example, are among the book’s most unlikable characters—but his novel, which won the 2009 Commonwealth Prize, fairly radiates with vitality as it depicts the messy complications of family life. --Joanne Wilkinson

Review

“Tsiolkas is a hard-edged, powerful writer….The novel transcends both suburban Melbourne and the Australian continent, leaving us exhausted but gasping with admiration.” - Washington Post“This astute exploration of suburban aspirations and failings . . . . vividly demonstrates the wide-ranging effects of a single moment’s rash decision. . . . Beyond simply igniting the plot, the fateful slap draws attention to generational and philosophical differences regarding family life and the complex political, social, and ethnic milieu of contemporary Australia.” - Publishers Weekly“Radiates with vitality as it depicts the messy complications of family life.” - Booklist“Complex and multilayered. …intertwined lives and slowly revealed connections make for a singular reading experience.” - Library Journal“Wildly energetic and fearless, thrillingly about our lives now.” - Helen Garner, author of The Spare Room“A gripping suburban fable.” - Men’s Style
“Strikingly tender . . . it claws into you with its freshness and truth.” - Sydney Morning Herald

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Customer Reviews

I read 150 pages of this book and wish I hadn't wasted my time.
J. Mccann
I came into this book wanting one thing; an examination of the idea that someone had slapped someone else's child, and the ramifications of that.
Pastrychef
There was far too much sex and foul language for my liking (not that I'm against it where it adds to the story - but in most cases it didn't).
Bec

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 97 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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35 of 42 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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45 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Sekou Shaffer on June 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
I read constantly. I read for information, for enlightenment, for pleasure. I read anywhere from 2 to 5 books a month, and have for some 45+ years. Never have I been moved to find a forum in which to voice my complete amazement with how utterly awful a book has been.

I was excited, as I often am, when I saw this title. As a person who shamelessly admits to sometimes judging a book by it's cover, I own to liking the look of the book, and the title just jumped out at Me. "The Slap"... Intriguing. The synopsis -- Someone slaps a child who is not their own... Oooh..., you've got Me.

A more apt title would have been "Slaps All Around", which is what I wanted to do to every character -- AND myself -- less than 40 pages in. If this author won an award that wasn't presented by his mother after a panel of close family members voted on a ballot with this single book as the entry, then I am stunned.

How can the entire premise of a book play such a minor role in the ENTIRE BOOK!? How do you manage to write a story with so many characters telling "their story" from multiple vantage points, and yet do so in such a way that the reader cares about NONE of them -- not the children, not the adults, not the seniors, not the dead, not the dying... No One. I, literally, got up from reading this book, logged onto my computer, and sought out reviews because I wanted to make sure I wasn't somehow missing something. I needed reassurance that my reading tastes had not all of a sudden left Me, and I couldn't recognize a good story, or good writing when I read it! And, by the way, for those who felt that this author was a "good writer" -- Read more.
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