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The Jesus Man

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  337 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Author(s): Christos Tsiolkas ISBN: 9780091839420 Binding: Paperback Published: 1999-05-07 What happens to a family when something unspeakable shatters its core? Something so shocking the whole world wants to know about it? No-one knows what made Tommy Stefano do what he did that night. Was it his family, their clumsy ambivalent love? Was it a curse, the bitter crow that ha ...more
Paperback, 403 pages
Published May 7th 1999 by ADULT LOCAL VINTAGE - MASS MKT (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.34  · 
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notgettingenough
I’ve read two Tsiolkas books now, and the trend is for them to end with an unprepossessing young homosexual male giving his opinions on his world, that being a very dull place indeed. In the case of The Slap it’s fair enough. The book is orchestrated so that something he does becomes the logical end. But here? There seem to be two books here. The one Tsiolkas wants to write about (so it seems) himself, and the other. The good book. I use those words advisedly.

We begin with the former, but the go
...more
Dimitris
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genius writer, his writing shocks me, makes me think, gives me enormous pleasure, almost changes me, though at the end of each one of his books I exclame: "thank God I'm nothing like him, nothing like his characters, I'm sooo normal!"
Pechi
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
We all must have that one writer to whose writings we turn to in times of depression or loneliness or ennui or any kind of gloom. The kind whose writing would rocket you away from all your worries. For me it’s Christos Tsiolkas. I feel a special connection, a secret kinship with his books that I find impossible to put into words. His books struck a chord with me from the very first word and among all his brutally honest, unpretentious, compassionate, confused, angry, lovable and violent characte ...more
Kimbofo
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Christos Tsiolkas is one of those writers who divide opinion: you either love him or hate him. I fall into the former camp.

The Jesus Man is his second novel. It’s not quite as over-the-top grungy as his debut, Loaded, but it is definitely confronting and just as sexually explicit. It’s also quite violent, perhaps gratuitously so, and there are scenes within its pages that are truly stomach-churning and, well, distasteful. It makes the hard-hitting nature of The Slap (pun not intended) tame by co
...more
Simon Yorke
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant and compulsive book. Be prepared for a ride into the darkest depths of humanity and the darkest depths of modern society too. A book that makes you want to vomit but at the same time somehow salvages you, gives you an incredible chance of having compassion for not only yourself but the rest of humanity too. Tsiolkas's understanding of the human psyche is incredible and with that he can uncover and deal with taboos that I don't think many writer's can. This is an important book for th ...more
Declan Melia
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Gosh! What and angry book. I'm reminded of an Eminem lyric: “So much anger aimed/ at no particular direction/ just sprays and sprays”. I'm quite surprised this book is as beloved as it appears to be in the below reviews. I would agree that it's a very dark read, an interesting look into the mind of people in a society most of us would rather ignore or insulate ourselves from. That said I didn't find it as confronting as, say, Coetzee's Disgrace or A Little Life and I think the difference was the ...more
S'hi
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Have written notes elsewhere about early impressions reading this book, but also have many other layers because I resist the insistence upon pornographic interpretations of every encounter, knowing there are many other ways in which people connect or kept their distance from each other. I accept now that this is a metaphor rather than a reality in Tsiolkas’ writing. But that makes it even more imperative to get the right balance in approaching the balance within his material.

For now I just want
...more
Kerryn Tredrea
Jun 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
essentially 3 short stories that happen to involve the same family this gives tsiolkas both room to move & a box to hold his characters. the sees the underside of modern life & captures it in all it's gruesome, soul drenching, pitiful intolerable beauty. it should shock you, but it should also make you think. ...more
Michael Taouk
Apr 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Tsiolkas takes us to the miserable depths of drug addiction and sexual perversion. I'm not sure for what reason. No matter the reason, Tsiolkas does it very well. Some of the characters give us a glimpse of hope, but Tsiolkas doesn't allow us to enjoy it much.
Now that I have read the book, I don't know what to do with it.
Alan  Marr
Jun 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
This is the 2nd unfinished book in a week. I think Christos Tsiolkas is a great writer but i don't enjoy him. This one was too much for my puritanical psyche.
Booksy
Sep 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013
Christos Tsiolkas in his book “Jesus Man” continues to explore controversies around immigration, racism, family values, what is means to be Australian, what it feels like to have no God in heart, what you make of your culture, history of your people in a new country, “the beauty and despair of this exile”, love and hatred and death of loved ones.
I really love the author’s individual style: the staccato of his prose, austerity of his dialogues, sharp, angular brushstrokes of his descriptions.
An
...more
Shaun Huntington
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I wanted to read one of the Writers earlier works having read Barracuda.

The protagonist in both stories share many characteristics, struggling to come to their place in the world mainly as presented by the author driven by their sexuality.

Characters are well formed and believable. There is a lovely interplay between the family matriarch and her three sons, who are all very different boys then men.

The landscape is familiar to Melbournians in particular and allows the reader to suspend any disbeli
...more
David Beards
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another absorbing page turner by Australian author Christos Tsiolkas. The way the author articulates postmodern Australian society and creates 4th dimensional characters draws one completely into his world. I say '4th dimensional' characters because Christos delves deep into the physc of his main characters and presents their strengths, weaknesses, and inner most thoughts that resonate with us on some level. It's dark, but it's raw honesty about life in Australia will absorb and challenge you.
Jodie
Jan 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
This book went from disturbing and boring in the beginning, to just plain boring by the end. I couldn't finish it.
People have said "The Slap" had no point, but at least you could become immersed in the characters. I found it very hard to relate to anyone in this book. I'm generally a fan of controversial or risque novels, but I couldn't stand this one.
Ann Tonks
"I like it" is the wrong rating for this. It's a tough, challenging, ugly work but with extraordinary power. I may be naive but I hate the image he paints of men, forever sex-obsessed and masturbating. However, it combines the immigrant experience with 20th century culture and relationships in a bold way.
Louise Tobin
I never thought gruesome details from a book would make me think 'fuck' and flinch, but tsolkias has achieved this.

The book climaxes half way through, and then prods on till the end. Sort of like the lives of the characters. The important shit is in the middle.
Dave
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
A real disappointment, and the only misfire in Tsiolkas' otherwise impressive body of work. Selfish, pointless characters doing selfish and pointless things, but not in any kind of way that can make you feel rewarded for reading their exploits.
Hikachi
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
The synopsis at the back cover told me pretty much the idea of how the story would be. After reading some first few pages, I thought it'd be something like Sue Miller's Family Portrait. But alas, I was wrong.
For this is more much less subtle and the details were gruesome.
Jane
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread, read-in-2014
I remember reading Loaded years ago and being blown away. Similarly with Barracuda more recently.

The Jesus Man is just as confronting, and a fascinating read, but I don't understand what drives the characters as much.
Alex
Sep 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Probably Tsiolkas' most "shocking" book. I recommend it to everyone.
Rwp
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Another excellent book by Tsiolkas !
Liz
Aug 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: australian
I think of this as kind of a failed version of dead europe
but I really really liked dead europe so...
Tom
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not as good as Loaded but still very absorbing.
Mark
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gruesome and gritty with quite good character development - all of the characters are realistic with their fair share of flaws. Not a good book to read if you are feeling down.
Lee Zebe
Mar 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Dark but well written and realistic.
Benjamin Danx
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Deep, intense & confronting. Tsiolkas truly has a gift in magnifying characters in the uttermost sinister situations. The Stefano brothers will always haunt my thoughts. ...more
Prateek Samantaray
I was looking for a dark novel for a change. Few reviews I read were harsh. But in reality, they expressed the dislike for the dark genre itself. Book definitely deserves a higher rating.
My first impression was this book describes the life of some psycho killer (which some would argue is). First few pages were tough to correlate but once I was in sync, it turned out to be an easy read.
The events definitely did not turn out the way I expected. And by the end of the book, it was on a whole new not
...more
Jelly Welly
Jul 02, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew Chidzey
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this novel - it’s one of Tsolkias’ earlier texts, written shortly after Loaded (his best in my opinion), and has the familiar grunge and authenticity which is somewhat lacking in his later novels (The Slap and Barracuda) which are more mainstream. I enjoyed the grittiness of this story and how Tsiolkas remained true to his traditional, tell-it-as-it-is style. Let’s hope his future novels revert back to this approach.
Tegwynn Shepherd
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Admire this man🤔

After reading and watching
The
Slap, the
Australian version
I became a fan of this author. This book is bleak and cynical but so refreshing giving insight into people you didn't even know you were interested in. A real pageturner ! 👏👏👏
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Christos Tsiolkas is the author of nine 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

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