Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Man Booker The Slap

I am half-heartedly predicting that The Slap ,Christos Tsiolkas, will win the Man Booker. Because I think it is a great novel? Because it broke boundaries, charted new territory? Nope. Because I really, really really didn't like it. And as Number Guy pointed out, I have a history of not liking prize-winning novels.

The plot is simple: people at barbecue. Child behaving like spoiled brat. (child is spoiled brat.)Someone slaps child. General outrage. Examining aftershock through the different characters present At The Time.

The first couple of sections were OK and I was somewhat interested in the characters. But lordy, according to Tsiolkas, your average Australian male can't keep his mind away from his groin for more than about, oh, 5 seconds. I got pretty fed up, pretty fast, with the sex obsession.

Another issue for me was the Australian vernacular. It just didn't sit with me, it felt forced and unrealistic. I asked my Australian friend if 'wog' was really such a common word to be heard in the Antipodes these days. She choked on her wine, fell off her seat and had to be rushed to casualty. Well, ok, I made up the casualty bit (what, you couldn't tell?) but she was somewhat taken aback. No, as far as she is concerned, the 'w' word doesn't get many outings. Phew.

I has sympathy for only two of the characters in the book. Aish, related through marriage to the man who slaps the child, and her Greek father-in-law. As a result of the pressures of the aftermath of The Slap, and the bias and bigotry of her mother-in-law, this relationship crumbles. In fact, not only were these the only two characters that I liked, the examination of their relationship was the only part of the book that felt real and held any kind of fascination.

I tried to slog through to the end, but I lost interest in the characters, and was losing the will to live, about 2/3 of the way through. it is Unfinished.

Scores on the door: 1/10


  1. Wait a minute. You have a history of not liking prize winning books, but you decided to read the titles nominated? That's kind of silly.

    I also have a history of not liking prize winning books and tend not to read them! Gretchen

  2. BUt I also like some of them, too. I have decided to broaden m reading and try to work out what it is that some people feel make a book prizeworthy. Of course, I am not going to agree with them all, but I am interested in the process. The reading of the list goes on :0)

  3. I'd have to disagree with your Aussie friend, who I suspect I know ;-), out where we lived, the W word was used *all the time*. Srsly. I meant to tell you today, that you telling me how bad it was, and now reading this, has made me want to read it too. It's like a challenge to me.