Mark's Reviews > The Slap

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
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Jan 09, 13

bookshelves: really-loathsome-villains
Read in January, 2011

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 lives of witnesses to the slap in question would have been interesting if a) they had been believable and not monstrous caricatures b)You felt any fellow feeling for them at all c) the slap had had an effect on their lives, which reading the novel it didn't. Tsolkias attempts to use it as the hook on which to place the unravelling or quaking of various relationships and there is a certain cleverness to the way the stories interreact and relate but the slap is of no real significance except for the totally unbelievable reaction of arrests and court cases.

The language is laughably foul. I don't know many elderly greek men admittedly but is it likely they would greet another old friend at the funeral of another with ' How are you you old cocksucker? '. The f and c words litter the dialogue and their internal thinking. Almost every page has one. The racism and brutality of relationship is horrible. I have no problem with earthy language and vicious dialogue if it is necessary for character or even atmosphere but i am very dubious here.

I don't think there is a single person who I would be interested in getting to know. Tsolkias does give you a certain insight into the child's mother's upbringing. Her parenting skills are ridiculous and unrealistic but its her neediness and abuse which gives at least a glimmer of ' ah, I can see why' and partially redeems the storyline.

Actually maybe he should write the sequel. Has Hugo, the brat, risen above his dreadful start? Has he managed to break from the circle of madness. So I correct myself; I would not like to meet any of these self-obsessed, self-centred adult idiots at any time in my life but perhaps Hugo could redeem them all by actually turning out well. maybe one slap might change the world or at least this putrid corner of depression
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Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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Shovelmonkey1 Reading your review makes me glad I only paid 50p for this book which is currently gracing my TBR pile.


Mark Yep i have to say, as perhaps you captured from the above, a tad disappointing. I thought the idea was clever but the delivery...well i leave it to you


Shovelmonkey1 Mark wrote: "Yep i have to say, as perhaps you captured from the above, a tad disappointing. I thought the idea was clever but the delivery...well i leave it to you"

ps i tried to follow your reviews but was informed by GR that you don't allow followers... can i friend you instead as I've read quite a few of your reviews and would like to be able to follow them in my updates?


Mark Shovelmonkey1 wrote: "Mark wrote: "Yep i have to say, as perhaps you captured from the above, a tad disappointing. I thought the idea was clever but the delivery...well i leave it to you"

ps i tried to follow your revi..."

yep of course. It'd be my pleasure though I didn't know I didn't allow followers. i had better look into that


message 5: by Brian (new)

Brian Robbins In a case of one-downmanship, after reading your review I'm glad I've never paid a penny for the book, and don't think I will.


Mark Brian wrote: "In a case of one-downmanship, after reading your review I'm glad I've never paid a penny for the book, and don't think I will."

you can have my copy beloved bro in law. That's how generous i am !!


message 7: by Brian (new)

Brian Robbins I feel you should bring benefit to a worthwhile charity shop with it. But thankyou for such a kind offer.


Shovelmonkey1 After reading this book I loaned it to an Australian friend of mine whose family background is west indian and english. She said that growing up in Australia as a kid in the 1960s and 70s she experienced terrible racism at school and in day to day life because of her combined heritage. She said the book picked up on a number of themes which might seem over played for the book but were actually quite accurate in some ways.


Mark that is interesting cos a number of people have said the same thing to me so maybe it has value but i still found it crammed with horrendous wankers who i would never want to encounter. it was his viciously spiteful vision of a whole community that i struggled with


message 10: by Cecily (new)

Cecily I've only seen the TV adaptations, which wasn't good enough to tempt me to the book (though normally I prefer to read the book first anyway), and many of the reviews I've read echo yours, Mark.

However, I do like your idea of following up on Hugo.


message 11: by Mark (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mark I think the Hugo character, who is appallingly spoilt and a total brat, at least has reasons for his dreadfulness and therefore, so early in his life, perhaps there would be a chance for some sort of change. I do think it would have made for an interesting development but something tells me that would not be Tsiolkas' modus operandi.


Maruša I've only read 20 pages of it or so, the author truly writes in an abhorrent manner. Such chauvinism really stops you to dig any further ...


message 13: by Mark (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mark Sadly Marusa, in my opinion it really gets no better


message 14: by Henry (new)

Henry Avila Great review,Mark, but did you like the book? HaHa


message 15: by Cherie (new)

Cherie Mark, reading your review makes me want to run and remove this book from my TBR list! What say you?


message 16: by Mark (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mark Henry......eh....no.


message 17: by Mark (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mark Cherie, many have spoken of this positively and powerfully but I saw it as quite unnecessarily vicious and fairly unlikely. it was a wasted opportunity of a good concept it seemed to me.


message 18: by Cherie (new)

Cherie Understood!


message 19: by Cherie (new)

Cherie Understood!


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