The Slap Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
A guest at the BBQ, Hector, slaps a small, dangerously misbehaving child, Hugo - enraging Hugo's parents and setting off a chain of events that changes the lives of many of those present. Many of the other reviewers were put off by the author''s "gratuitous" use of sex throughout the novel as a mechanism for moving the plot forward. I was, as well. In fact, after a couple of chapters, I found myself skimming through the crudely drawn sexual episodes and the over-abundance of "c*nt" and "f*ck" and just getting on with the story. And it's a good one because it describes, better than any novel I've read recently, the effect that judgment and greed and jealously and anger have warped our modern day lives.
As you can see by the reactions of many of the reviewers, "The Slap" is a book that invites the reader's judgment of its characters, and one that also invites us to forgive them as we begin to understand the motives behind their actions. As I read through this book, I found myself. again and again, returning to earlier chapters as I began to see the characters in a new light. The Slap is a book I'll read at least once more.
I'm giving the book four stars because of my reaction to the author's overuse of crude sexuality and because the story redeemed it. Normally, I would have put the book down after two or three chapters, but the story propelled me forward through my desire to understand the characters more fully.
The Slap is not about corporal punishment but about the ideals and values of modern Australian society. Tsiolkas uses the slap as a catalyst to examine how tolerant or intolerant of differences Australians are and the picture he paints is not pretty.
The characters are all irredeemably flawed. There is no hero in this book - just real people living in a new world that terrifies them. Some readers might find these despicable characters unpleasant and the offensive nature of some of the scenes hard to get through. I didn't find any of the vileness to be gratuitous but viewed it as a call to action from Tsiolkas.
A call to action to properly address all the hidden yet simmering prejudices against people who are different from us. Tolerance and pleasantries only intensify hate and acceptance and understanding are sorely lacking. I found this book to be a blunt and much needed criticism of the world and people today.
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. When the book dealt with that, it was riveting. Unfortunately the author was constantly wandering off to describe the sex lives and drug-taking behavior of the parties. I didn't find this contributed to the story or the characterisation; dull and unnecessary.
There was a side story about a teen boy struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, and his feelings for an older, straight, married man. This was a moving, worthwhile story, but again it distracted from the Slap. Should have been saved for its own book.