Sunday, September 26, 2010
THE SLAP by Christos Tsiolkas (2009)
Winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book and long-listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, THE SLAP is both profound and profane.
At a suburban BBQ in Australia, peopled with relatives and neighbours and long-time friends, a man slaps a misbehaving child who is not his own. That gesture reverberates throughout the multi-voiced narrative that follows. You might think it easy to take sides, but in a web of complex relationships, where each character seems to be protecting secrets from his/her past, morality is complicated, multifaceted and perhaps ultimately ambiguous.
Tsiolkas has written about domestic life in an unflinching portrayal of midlife crises, fragile marriages, and adolescent coming of age.
THE SLAP will haunt you long after you've turned its final page and acknowledge gratefully, like Richie, that "soon, unexpectedly, like the future that had begun to creep up on him, sleep did come."