The Slap: A full-blown Aussie stoush

CoverThe Slap by Christos Tsiolkas has been embroiled in some smokin’ hot controversy since it’s July inclusion in the 2010 Man Booker long list.

The titular slap, delivered by a nasty man called Harry and received by a nasty child called Hugo during a suburban barbecue in Melbourne, is at the heart of this gritty novel exploring the morality and values of modern, multicultural Australia.

But what has got the British literati so stirred up? UK writer India Knight hated it, calling it misogynistic and saying it had “no joy, no love, no hope, no beauty…just hideous people beating each other up, either physically or emotionally.” Others such as Observer books editor William Skidelsky credits it with “zeitgeist-capturing qualities” adding it exposes “the shallowness of contemporary liberalism”. Oooh, fancy that!

Our reviewer Jane overcame initial reluctance and loved it, plus ….

  • Intrepid library editor Richard Liddicoat interviewed Christos during the first wave of Slap strife, and got Christos’s take on middle-class Australia, writing and libraries. And…
  • Christchurch City Libraries was also on the spot when Christos scooped the SE Asian and Pacific categories and best overall winner at the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ prize!

To find out what all the beef is about read The slap.

Christos Tsiolkas and our editor Richard

3 thoughts on “The Slap: A full-blown Aussie stoush

  1. Helen Lowe 25 August 2010 / 11:44 am

    Well, I think it’s a great book, one of my top reads for last year, and I didn’t get the misogyny at all … although mine is just one more opinion, of course.

  2. joyciescotland 25 August 2010 / 1:36 pm

    It almost feels like some of the detractors have forgotten they are reading a work of fiction, and that what the characters do and say is not necessarily a reflection of the author’s own feelings or attitudes.
    Having met Christos, albeit briefly, I am sure he will love the brouhaha, and it can’t be hurting his sales!

    • jane 25 August 2010 / 4:09 pm

      yes, I think that the book is about a mysogynist, not written by one!

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