Christos Tsiolkas is the author of Loaded, which was made into the feature film Q. This book revolves around a central, powerful incident: the titular slap. The Slap may refer to: The Slap (film), French / Italian comedy film; The Slap (novel), novel by Christos Tsiolkas; The Slap (TV series), Christos Tsiolkas’s fourth novel uses the familiar Australian template of a family barbecue in Melbourne’s suburban hinterland to set the.

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O ccasionally, a novel bursts from the confines of the literary pages and becomes a subject of more general interest. Often, this is simply a question of sales. But sometimes the phenomenon is more complex, having to do with expressing a public mood or hitting some kind of cultural pressure point. Over the past couple of months, you will have been tsiolksa pressed not to have noticed the buzz surrounding Christos Tsiolkas ‘s The Slapa novel about the fissures that result from a man striking somebody else’s child at a Melbourne barbecue.

The book has sold extremely well nearly 40, copies so farearned glowing reviews and sllap been longlisted for this year’s Booker prize. But the fascination that The Tsiklkas has engendered is about more than sales, hype or even its frankly dubious literary merits. Its zeitgeist-capturing qualities can be summed up in a single sentence: I use the phrase “middle class” here advisedly. I don’t mean to conjure up the familiar British stereotypes. Set in the suburbs, it centres on a close-knit, affluent community made up of predominantly second-generation Greek Australians, but also including white Tisolkas, descendants of Aborigines and ethnic Indians.

Within this complex milieu, a number of credos uneasily co-exist. There’s the socially conservative, macho culture of the Greek characters, with its emphasis on family and hierarchy. Here, adult males embody a sort of community-sanctioned authority, which gives them licence, among other privileges, to take responsibility for disciplining other people’s children.

Sllap this sense of solidarity carries with chrostos less attractive traits: The Greeks in the novel think nothing of referring to non-whites as “wogs” and use pousti Greek slang for homosexual as a term of abuse. They disapprove of the fact that Hector, stiolkas host of the barbecue, has an Indian wife. This traditionalist outlook rubs up against two other mentalities, which are themselves in collision.


One is the ethos of consumerism, with its emphasis on material comfort and hedonism particularly the sexual variety. The embodiment of this philosophy is Hector’s cousin, Harry, a successful businessman and the dispenser of the titular slap.

Harry is a bigoted, extraordinarily slp figure for whom women are sexual objects his preferred salp for them is “whores” and who cares about little besides filling his home with plasma-screen TVs.

He pithily sums up his worldview in the following harangue to Hector, who has just expressed some mild anxieties about global warming: One of the main objects of Harry’s ire is liberalism — the third plank of The Slap ‘s ethical taxonomy.

Its chief representatives are the parents of the child whom Harry slaps, Gary and Rosie.

They espouse a philosophy whose main tenets are a belief in “nature” and the sanctity of childhood. They implement these beliefs by letting their son, Hugo, run wild, so that, at four years old, he is still breast-feeding and generally behaves like a brat.

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas – Reading Guide – : Books

For a British reader, the most striking thing about the society depicted in The Slap is how insubstantial this third, liberal plank is. Gary and Rosie are cartoon figures whose convictions are shown to be wholly superficial.

Rosie’s ideals are a defensive cover for her general insecurity and guilt about her sluttish past. Gary, her husband, is an alcoholic failed artist whose true motivation for hating the bourgeoisie is jealousy. Rosie and Gary are as bigoted as everyone else.

By making them his mouthpieces for liberalism, Tsioklas appears to be suggesting that progressive convictions are rare in contemporary Australia; in so far as they exist at all, they are a cloak for tsiokas impulses. Unsurprisingly, given the racism and misogyny in which so many of its characters indulge, The Slap has proved a divisive book. While some have proclaimed it a hard-hitting chronicle of our times ” Neighbours as written by Philip Roth,” as one reviewer put itothers have objected to its crude vision of life.

The journalist India Knight wrote: You get the slaap that if he’d been forced to read ‘literary’ fiction, Raoul Moat would have gulped it down. Tsiolkas’s initial conceit is undeniably clever and the narrative has a compulsive quality.


Yet it has serious flaws: Yet what makes The Slap such an interesting phenomenon is not the question of its literary merits, but why it has struck such a chord.

Why has a book tsioloas Australian suburbanites resonated so strongly with British middle-class readers and let’s face it, the majority of The Slap ‘s readers cgristos be middle class? There are two ways of accounting for its success.

Christos Tsiolkas on how he wrote The Slap – Guardian book club

One, it offers the voyeuristic thrill of observing a world less “nice” than our own — where racism is endemic, the characters indulge in endless porny sex and there are very few ethical moorings. This thrill, moreover, comes guilt free. Most readers would feel uncomfortable reading a similar account of life within one of Britain’s ethnic communities. Yet transposed to Australia, it becomes a spectacle we can observe at a distance — with the comfort of smugly telling ourselves: But there is a second possibility.

Could it be that British readers have flocked to The Slap precisely because the novel’s bleak portrait of modern middle-class life, and the liberal values that supposedly underpin it, resonates with their own experiences? Does the world of The Slap have more in common with modern Britain than we might suppose? I am not suggesting that most of The Slap ‘s British readers are closet racists or misogynists. But what does seem possible is that, by exposing the shallowness of contemporary liberalism, the novel plays on a set of anxieties that many British people feel.

If there is even a little truth in this, then The Slap ‘s popularity isn’t something we should be too pleased about. On the contrary, it should make us more than a little worried. Topics Christos Tsiolkas Opinion. Order by newest oldest recommendations.

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