Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

I didn’t realise this was an Australian author until I started reading - and it is based in Melbourne! I also didn’t realise that he’s written a couple of other very successful novels. I might look up his other books, given some time.

The lady in the Collins bookshop said that all the characters in the books were assholes, when I bought the book. She wasn’t wrong! They are nasty people. They are racists. They are drug users. They are unstable. I really hope that the internal dialogue that these characters have is not the norm amongst real people. It is shocking that people can be so hateful and dishonest with those around them.

The book has quite a lot of acclaims itself. It does battle some social issues, but it’s more like a character analysis - there’s no real story or direction to it - it’s just a look at a period of time through the eyes of a number of different people.

Overall, the The Slap made me angry. The only character that I felt any connection with was Connie - but it was because she was the only character that I pitied.

I didn't question Hector's initial response to Harry slapping Hugo. I always rolled my eyes and thought that Rosie was overacting, and that Gary was just using it as an excuse to be vindictive. It wasn't an assault. It was justified in the situation. I think it was just Harry's horrible character that was actually able to slap someone else's kid. It should have been Hugo's parents.

I hated that Rosie was still breastfeeding Hugo. He is old enough to remember breastfeeding when he gets older. He's old enough to speak in full sentences. He has teeth - that should be reason enough to stop.

Maybe The Slap questions the new-age conservatism, and over-the-top political correctness. It also portrays middle-class Australia as a very unhappy and unfulfilled group of people.

I'm just left feeling angry by this book, angry that the world could be exactly as it is portrayed in this book, and angry that we have let the world get this way.

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