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The Slap

3.12 of 5 stars 3.12  ·  rating details  ·  15,403 ratings  ·  2,261 reviews
At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the slap.

In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first cent
Hardcover, 485 pages
Published October 11th 2008 by Allen & Unwin Australia (first published 2008)
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Lou Nixon I haven't got far into it so I haven't got a holistic view just yet but I think it's just all about the richness of the characters and how complicated…moreI haven't got far into it so I haven't got a holistic view just yet but I think it's just all about the richness of the characters and how complicated relationships, emotions and people are. How drastically different people's viewpoints and perspectives are. I'm enjoying it.(less)
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Best Modern Australian Literature
11th out of 318 books — 378 voters
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20th out of 541 books — 290 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 23, 2012 Paul rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
Thank you Christos Tsiolkas... you finally made my mind up for me and I have flung your horrid novel away from me in a graceless convulsion which mixed repulsion and depression in equal parts, with a dash of glee.

Because for many pages I was desperately seeking a casus belli. Something I could put my finger on. I was a closet Slap-hater at this point. I couldn't quite admit the horror of this novel to myself. I needed to find something definite, a line in the print where I could say

thus far an
Jay Kristoff
I likened reading this book to sitting down in front of a television, watching two weeks of bad Australian teledrama without any preamble, then standing up at a random point in the story and wandering away.

There is no real introduction. There is absolutely no climax and no closure. This is a snippet from the lives of a singularly miserable cast of misogynists, adulterers and straight up train-wreck human beings, without a single redeemable character among them.

The incident of 'the Slap' is not
Patrick Johns
I do not consider The Slap to be a great piece of writing - I feel it was created to provide mass appeal. I found the quality of writing a little patchy, and in places offensive.

The basic premise is an interesting one - the "incident" at the party and how it affects the lives of the people involved, which in turn leads to a description, history and character study of a group of loosely interrelated people. The big moral question of whether the actions and reactions following the "Slap" were nec
Jessica Bell
This isn't any old review. My opinion on this book has sparked an idea for a discussion I'd like to have with you about offensive content in novels. I'd like to know how you react to it. But first, let's get to my review of this book.

This book was written by a very highly acclaimed Australian/Greek author. I have to say, that I admire him and his blatant honesty. And this is the first book I've read of his. I find it hilarious how so many people who have read this book have given it bad reviews
Having seen this spoken of so highly and having read the initial idea of how one instant can change so many lives i thought i'd give it a try. i was disappointed. Tsiolkas has an appalling view of humankind.

The way people think of each other and treat each other and stick with each other for the most ludicrous of reasons in his universe is depressing in the extreme. The characters are all either racist, sexist, drunken or sluts or indeed, in a few cases, all of the above.

The idea of tracing the
At a suburban barbeque, one slap will change the lives of these people. Christos Tsiolkas unflinchingly looks at domestic life in the Australian suburbs in the twenty first century. The slap and its consequences cause everyone to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires. A gripping novel of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth from the very start to the end.

You’ll either love it or hate it; Christos Tsiolkas’ controversial novel The Slap i
I read constantly. I read for information, for enlightenment, for pleasure. I read anywhere from 2 to 5 books a month, and have for some 45+ years. I was excited when I first saw this title, as I am one who shamelessly admits to ofttimes judging a book by it's cover. I own to liking the look of the book, and the title just jumped out at Me. "The Slap"... Intriguing. The synopsis -- Someone slaps a child who is not their own... Oooh..., you've got Me.

A more apt title would have been "Slaps All Ar
Nov 03, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who want to immediately form a bad impression of Australians
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 50p thrift store bargain
I've never been to Australia. My knowledge of Australia is based entirely on several books both historical and fictional, a conversation with an Australian work colleague who informed me that "No, she could not bring me back a bush-baby" (apparently they're native to continental Africa, not Australia - who knew?) and many many episodes of Neighbours and Home and Away. If this book was my only source of information regarding the denizens of Australia I'd definitely be striking it from the holiday ...more
Sean Kennedy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Banafsheh Serov
A group of people are gathered at a suburban Barbecue. During the afternoon an incident between one of the guests and a four year old result in consequences that directly, or indirectly, affect all who are present.

Told as a collection of short stories through the perspective of eight characters, all with different background, age, ethnicity and value systems, The Slap is a provocative, unflinching novel that explores our inner most beliefs and the conflicting issues we face. I enjoyed having a d
I positively HATED that book. I only finished it, because when I start a book, well I just finish it.
First of all... Language. There is at least one occurrence of the word “fuck” “fucking” or even “cunt”... I am no prude, but in this case, it was way too often, and totally unnecessary. That was one of the first thing that ruined this book for me. Especially when you have the 70 something greek granddad, talking to his long lost friends and saying” hello you cocksucker”... totally unrealistic and
The Slap wasn't really anything like I was expected. From the title and the description, I expected the plot to be focused around the aftermath of Harry slapping his friends' child. Instead, it really just focused around the relationships of all the acquaintances and their personal lives. The Slap was mentioned a few times throughout the book but it really felt like it was in the background. I found it very hard to like any of the character as they were all incredibly selfish and hate-filled but ...more
This was one of the best books I've read in a long time. Filled with despicable but ultimately somehow sympathetic characters, a microcosm of friends and family becomes a commentary on the social make-up of the city of Melbourne, the country of Australia, and perhaps the world. That the story is told from multiple perspectives but still chronologically (ie. the episode around which the plot is centred isn't retold again and again) is genius and the complex, nuanced emotions of, reactions to and ...more
I’m probably one of the few people in my group of friends that actually finished this book. I don’t think I have ever read a book that has left me with such raw and mixed emotions before. I was totally drained! There were at times when I wanted to fling the book against the wall in utter disgust and there were others where I felt such sympathy for the characters inner turmoil that I wanted to embraces them and tell them it was all okay. This was a very hard book to read. But the thing I really l ...more
Stephanie Patterson
This book has occasioned a lot of controversy with many people thinking that it is misogynistic. It's overly simplistic to see this story as full of misogyny, but even if the charge held, novelists are under no obligation to be politically correct.

This is in many ways an old fashioned novel. It has a beginning, middle and an end.
Christos Tsiolkas is giving us his version of social reality and satirizing the concerns of the middle class of the 21st century. Maybe there's more cursing and sex than
From very early on I just didn't care about any of the characters, they were all awful!! I finished it, but hate that I wasted my time on this book and these horrible people.
Simone Ramone
I was really looking forward to this book, but although I'm not certain whether I found it engrossing or just gross.

There were a few things I liked about this book, sadly they were not related to any of the main characters.

The story of the slap itself is nothing and my interest in the principle players was almost nothing as well.

However, some of the sideline characters were great, but that actually only served to frustrate me more.
This book was written about the wrong people. WHY would he want
The Good - An easy enough read with interesting topics of debate (whether it's appropriate to hit a child, fidelity, drugs), and a modern/diverse cast of characters. I read somewhere that it's like a long episode of neighbours,but souped with with lots of swearing... pretty accurate.

The Bad - The title of the book. The opening chapter - characters are introduced at a very fast pace so you've not a clue who is who. Language used isn't amazing, cliches, lots of pointless swearing (Too much use of
n* Dalal
The Slap is about New Australia, an uncomfortable country of people living the direct contradiction between the white western world and an immigrant life; a fractured country where class, religion, and all those other big ideas break friendships and families apart.

But this book is also about the small things, the tiny lines people draw, the boundaries we fret over and keep us safe. Christos Tsiolkas explores the ideas that create generational difference. In a lot of ways, I intimately understand
Alyssia Cooke
I seriously need to stop impulse buying. I also need to start ignoring three for two offers. In addition I need to read the first couple of pages before buying instead of just relying on the book cover. My brother can get away with that kind of behaviour, I can’t. I just end up with tat, as this purchase once again showed. However, my best defence against buying this sort of tat is to stop wandering into Waterstones to ‘have a look around’. That is the most lethal mistake I can ever make. I can’ ...more
The Slap is a novel looking at a cross section of Australian life by taking the viewpoints of eight characters, all whom were present at the BBQ where the eponymous slap took place. Hector is first up, a Greek bureaucrat, married to Indian Aisha but considering an affair; then Anouk, a hard Jewish writer who cannot see the problem with hitting a child - and, in general, has no understanding of, or liking for, children; Harry is next - Hector's hot-headed cousin who delivered the slap. Connie is ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
The Slap is an exploration of the ugly truths hidden beneath the facade of Australian middle class. The slap incident is really only a small part of the novel, but provides a catalyst for exploring 8 different characters. The thing is Im not sure how to feel about the book. Most of the characters are incredibly disturbing and its a very dark and bleak view of people, family and society in general. It's crude in a way that is both shocking and recognizable, drug use, sex and violence are casual f ...more
The story begins with a slap--someone slaps a child that is not his (it's a friend's kid) at a backyard, suburban BBQ. The narrative, almost five hundred pages in total, spirals outwards from there. While the child's parents report the assault to the police, there are a variety of reactions to "the slap" fueled by different loyalties and beliefs. But that is only half the story. The slap functions as a device to hold together what is really a sprawling narrative about desire. These desires are e ...more
I had hoped a book as popular as this was popular because it was good - I was wrong.
This novel places its merits on its characters, not on its writing or even its ability to tell a great story. I found none of its characters interesting or worthy to read about. Manolis was perhaps the only character I began to warm to, but as soon as I did, like every other character, a sordid, sexual deviancy was thrown in.
And then there was the character of Richie, who was not only boring, but whose chapter in
I didn't care for this book -- and it wasn't a cultural or language thing. I have Australian friends and Greek friends, so I'm familiar with both the slang and terminology used, as well as the references to the structure of Greek family life. I can't even really say why I didn't like this book overall -- but I can give some specific gripes. First, I thought there were way too many characters, and some of them were spotlighted too much, and others not enough. Also, I felt most of the characters w ...more
A man at a weekend barbecue slaps someone else's child in anger, and the act reverberates through his circle of friends and family.

I'm a bit mystified as to why this book has such a low rating here on Goodreads. But there were a couple of things I really admired about the book; uncoincidentally, those same theories might explain why some people seemed to dislike the book so much.

First of all, Tsiolkas takes a nonjudgmental attitude toward his characters. They not only do things we probably don'
The word c**t and completely emotionless/hate-filled sex plus casual drug use does not make a story either good, controversial or interesting. There feels like there is only one character in this book, but it assumes different ancestry and genders. Just one hate-filled, drug and alcohol-fuelled zombie, playing all the parts. I hate this book, hate it, hate it, hate it, if I could unwrite it, I would. Books don't have to be angel sparkles, ginger beer and licky happy dogs, I don't mind anger/hate ...more
Everyone in Melbourne Australia is talking about this tiresome book and it has won plenty of prestigous prizes, but 5 years from now it will be forgotten because it has nothing important to say. See my review at
This book is about 'family' and what goes on under the surface. A great Xmas read if you happen to be with your family, which I was! It's a very good read and he is an inspiring writer. Tough and uncompromising and surprising. I keep returning to it.
What did I think? Well, this is a pretty awful and pedestrian book, in need of immense editing and demonstrating only a passable talent: however, I felt throughout--and especially once I finished--that it also raises some fundamental questions and that, at the very least, it is a necessary book. Not necessarily as written, perhaps, and more than likely it would have become a tighter, more coherent and more humane novel by anyone other than Tsiolkas. Nonetheless, something real also sizzles under ...more
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What do you think of BBC4s adaptation so far? 18 154 May 08, 2014 03:24AM  
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Christos Tsiolkas is the author of five novels: Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe,which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. He won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, long listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and won the Australi ...more
More about Christos Tsiolkas...
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“It is possible the world is divided into three genders - there are men, there are women and then there are women who choose to have nothing to do with children. How about men without children, he answered quickly, aren't they also different from fathers? She shook her head firmly, daring him to contradict her: no, all men are the same.” 4 likes
“Hugo pulled away from Rosie’s teat. ‘No one is allowed to touch my body without my permission.’ His voice was shrill and confident. Hector wondered where he learnt those words. From Rosie? At child care? Were they community announcements on the frigging television?” 4 likes
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