Review: The Slap

The Slap
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! I’d started this book before but not carried on, I was influenced by someone who told me that it was just full of swearing and ugly people and I wasn’t in the place where I needed to read that stuff and I put it down. Then another friend told me I must read it, it was brilliant and beautifully written and to get over myself. So I did. Good decision.

There is so much to say about this book, and I’m totally incapable of doing it justice. Here is a small attempt. Firstly the characters, this book feels like Australia, a certain demographic, a certain sector of society, the middle class wannabes, the immigrant families who want their children to be higher up the economic/educational scale than they were, the harshness that can exist in that country and the fantastic vernacular that colours the conversations in Australia. It speaks of the political correctness that pervades in current society and the completely different set of values of young adults today compared to people who have gone before. Racism is there in it’s horrifying but inherent in the species, the whole these people are different from me and therefore inferior to me style. This is social commentary via the family. It is powerful and the conversations are so well done, I was completely engrossed.

This book is breathtaking in it’s power. It gets you thinking about your own attitudes and horrifies you as the characters act badly and unexpectedly. Everyone has secrets and they are all flawed, but then these are very real and believable characters. They act the way that people really do. We know these people, we might even be these people. These grasping and selfish people who live their lives with misguided loyalties, or are they misguided, who have family conflict, who have friends who are crazy lunatics but who are still our friends, regardless of their faults.

Along with Tim Winton, but with a completely different take on Australia, I think this author must be one of the best in Australia today. Yes, the swearing is rampant but it is the way that people really talk, and it gives power to the story and without it the book wouldn’t have been so powerful. Highly recommended.

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