Tuesday, 24 January 2012
The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas
The Slap will make you wonder - fact. You may even feel 'slapped' yourself.
The story is set in suburban Melbourne and is about a man losing his temper and slapping a child across the face at his brother's barbecue, but the problem is that the child in question is not his. Mayhem follows and each of the guests, people who are directly or indirectly involved find themselves also 'slapped'. Is it an issue of a man teaching a disgustingly spoiled three-year-old some discipline, or an incident of child abuse and physical assault?
And most importantly, whose side are you on?
Familial and romantic relationships are challenged, dysfunctional families come to light and ethics are questioned.
However, what sets this novel apart is the profound cruelty with which Tsiolkas treats the characters, with a good amount of racism, sexism and adultery thrown in, making it scaringly realistic, controversial and daring. And that's all set in the most ordinary and simplest of settings - a barbecue - despite the questions raised being far from simple or straightforward.
Although it's not everyone's cup of tea and even myself wasn't sure at the beginning, I highly recommend it. But please, don't watch the TV adaptation. Although it's fairly watchable on its own, when compared to the book it's a disgrace.
Anyone else read it? Any thoughts? :)