Published by Unwin and Allen
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
BOOK DESCRIPTION -
When a man slaps a child who is not his own at a neighbourhood barbecue, the act triggers a series of repercussions in the lives of the people who witness the event-causing them to reassess their values, expectations, and desires.
I was fooled by this book cover, the aggressive positive marketing and the award won. It did not live up to expectations. The central point of the book is – the slap- which happens at a barbeque. After the slap everything changes. The man who slapped the child is not his father and the people at the barbeque all have their own feelings about what happened. I don’t think this book will change any of your opinions about corporal punishment; you are either for or against. The problem I think, and why I have not rated this book highly, is that the characters are just not believable enough to make you like or dislike them. There are strange disjointed sex scenes which bear no real connection to the plot, which itself becomes wandering, and there is an immense lot of swearing.
Rosie is the mother of the four year old child who gets slapped and for me, she was the most annoying person in the book. She seems to be unrealistically oblivious to any of her sons terrible behaviour, and her parenting is mostly abusive, (still breast-feeding him at the age of four, for her own needs). The characters all seem to have the same voice and number and type of swearwords, and strangely enough they all swear in their thoughts too. It is just too far fetched for virtually all the characters to be taking drugs, and alcohol, and arguing and swearing, all in the presence of the children, just too much. The only adults not drinking and drugging are an aboriginal couple who are Muslim.
Surely this is not even close to a portrayal of modern Melbourne life. I did finish the book and found the ending satisfactory but a bit rushed in style-
Lots of reviews of this book state that it is not worthy of the awards won (commonwealth prize, for one) or the super hype marketing. I would mostly have to agree, and would also have to say that the editing missed some real bad syntax and grammar mistakes. All in all a disappointment.