Although this is Australian author Tsiolkas’ fourth novel, it is the first to be published in the U.S. With its raw style, liberal use of profanity and racial epithets, and laserlike focus on the travails of suburban life, it is a down-and-dirty version of Tom Perrotta’s best-selling Little Children (2004). At a barbecue in a Melbourne suburb, a man loses his temper and slaps the child of the host’s friends. This incident unleashes a slew of divisive opinions, pitting friends and families against each other as the child’s parents take the man to court. Told from eight different viewpoints, the novel also deftly fills in disparate backstories encompassing young and old, single and married, gay and straight, as well as depicting how multiculturalism is increasingly impacting the traditional Aussie ethos. For good measure, the author also throws in male vanity, infidelity, and homophobia. Tsiolkas’ in-your-face style is sure to alienate some readers—the child’s parents, for example, are among the book’s most unlikable characters—but his novel, which won the 2009 Commonwealth Prize, fairly radiates with vitality as it depicts the messy complications of family life. --Joanne Wilkinson
"A layered, briskly paced story about complex people. Think Tom Wolfe meets Philip Roth. Or 'The Sopranos' meets 'The Real Housewives of Orange County."
-Oscar Villalon, Los Angeles Times
"Brilliant, beautiful, shockingly lucid and real, this is a novel as big as life built from small, secret, closely observed beats of the human heart. A cool, calm, irresistible masterpiece."
-Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee
"The Slap is nothing short of a tour de force, and it confirms Christos Tsiolkas's reputation as one of the most significant contemporary storytellers at work today. In his new book, Tsiolkas puts a microscope to family life and presents us with a vision both of unflinching honesty and great tenderness. The luminosity of his prose and the brilliance of his characterisation render the ordinary quite extraordinary. Here is a novel of immense power and scope, reminiscent of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and Don De Lillo's Underworld."
-Colm Toibin, author of Brooklyn and The Master
"Like all Tsiolkas' work, it is wildly energetic and fearless, thrillingly about our lives now."
- Helen Garner, author of The Spare Room
"This is a rich and engrossing novel, full of vivid incidents and intricate patterns...Tsiolkas's subtle character drawing, fast-moving narrative, and above all, fierce moral commitment make The Slap a worthy winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize."
"Riveting from start to finish."
-Jane Smiley, author of A Thousand Acres and Private Life
"Radiates with vitality as it depicts the messy complications of family life."
"Complex and multilayered. ...intertwined lives and slowly revealed connections make for a singular reading experience."
"With The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas secures his place as one of Australia's most important novelists...It is thrilling to have our life reflected back at us so accurately...Tsiolkas has written an absolute ripper."
"The best politicians are those who can instinctively divine the zeitgeist of their country's centre. For the ones who can't, I would place The Slap as mandatory bedside table reading. It's a perfect social document... More importantly, it's also a hell of a read."
"Strikingly tender...it claws into you with its freshness and truth."
-Sydney Morning Herald
"A controversial and daring novel, The Slap uses the iconic scene of a suburban Australian barbecue to examine identities and personal relationships in a multicultural society. Offering points of view from eight different characters, it taps into universal tensions and dilemmas around family life and child-rearing. This book is sure to challenge readers and provoke debate."
-Committee for The Commonwealth Writers Prize 2009