The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas

No-one in our book group could work out why The Slap had received good reviews and awards. It was generally agreed to be pointless, crude and selfish, and that if this really reflects modern life then there is not much good in this type of life.

The book supposedly revolves around a “shocking” incident of a man hitting a child, however the circumstances of this slap were such that it was impossible to feel sympathy for the child or his hysterical mother. These caricatures of modern middle class individuals were hard to feel sympathy for, even when their lives were hard, and they all seemed to have purely selfish motivations.

The book is then twice as long as it needed to be, with a strange focus on some characters who are quite unnecessary for the rest of the book, and events which seemed detached from the rest of the story. These seemed to lead into active plot points then stop suddenly, as though the author had done a poor job of editing the novel down.

The style of using a series of first-person narrators was reminiscent of Jodi Picoult’s style, but without bringing us back to the same characters later in the book is was hard to gauge whether any development had taken place, or whether they were merely being viewed through different sets of eyes.

I wouldn’t bother to reread this, and advise against buying it.

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