Join Christos Tsiolkas to talk about THE SLAP - our March Book of the Month - on Weds 23 March, 8-9pm

(175 Posts)

Our March Book of the Month has inflamed critics, readers and journalists across the world. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, is also a Top Ten bestseller in the UK, Australia and Canada. A zeitgeist-capturing exploration of multiculturalism and the limitations of liberal values, it will definitely provoke some strong reactions...

Atlantic books are offering 100 copies of The Slap to Mumsnetters. To bag your copy before they run out, please email SarahPocklington@atlantic-books.co.uk with your full postal address and "Mumsnet The Slap offer" in the email subject line.

We'll post on this thread once the copies have all been sent out but if you're not lucky enough to bag a free copy, buy it here instead.

We are delighted that Christos will be joining us on Wednesday 23 March, 8-9 pm, for the bookclub discussion - look forward to seeing you all there...

chocoholic Mon 28-Feb-11 17:31:31

Ooh, I got one too.
Looking forward to starting it now to see what is so hateful about it. smile

Haribojoe Mon 28-Feb-11 19:53:08

Having read everyones comments I'm really intrigued now, am definitely gonna get reading smile

Blonditindrels Wed 02-Mar-11 20:25:47

Worst example of Australian writing, threw it on the fire.

Jajas Wed 02-Mar-11 22:45:52

Made me laugh that it said something on the cover about it becoming the first great Australian novel - well god help Australia and its authors if that is the case shock!

blimey Thu 03-Mar-11 17:49:42

I am really enjoying it!
I don't think the characters are shallow - I think having access to people's dark thoughts and contrasting that with their outer behaviour is fascinating. And I think that we get to understand why the character's became who they are from their childhood and culture. I find my sympathies shifting all the time and I don't think it is misogynistic - there are several strong and sympathetic female characters. Isn't it just about the ugliness we all try to hide?

blimey Thu 03-Mar-11 17:51:03

OMG gratuitous apostrophe

TheMonster Thu 03-Mar-11 19:17:18

I am completely determined to read it now that I know people have reacted so strongly. I can't wait for my copy to arrive and for the discussion to start!

Bessie123 Thu 03-Mar-11 22:59:04

I'm not going to be around for this chat but could someone please ask the author for me how the slap continued to be relevant to the characters through the novel? It seemed a peripheral theme that had v little to do with the misogynistic, cock-obsessed caricatures that populated the book. Ta v much.

poppygolucky Fri 04-Mar-11 18:42:21

I do find it frustrating that this book keeps being dismissed as misogynistic. The only misogynist in the book that is given his own chapter is Harry: of the other three, Hector doesn't hate or fear women, he is merely weak and can't live up to his wife whom he feels inferior to; Manolis is a product of his age and culture - he is no more a misogynist than any male of his generation; Richie is a wonderful and sympathetic character who displays unwavering loyalty to the women in his life.

And the women may not all be depicted as saints (big shock - we're not all perfect) but they are well drawn and believable.

I can understand objecting to the sexual content in book, and perhaps the violence that is implicit in some of the sexual thoughts and actions. I think it's a book that will not be to everyone's taste; many readers do not wish to be confronted by the disturbing facets of human behaviour and peverse thoughts that usually remain unarticulated. But don't be lazy and write it off as misognistic - just say you didn't like it.

Jajas Fri 04-Mar-11 21:00:08

I didn't like it - it's half read in the box for the charity shop..

poppygolucky Fri 04-Mar-11 21:09:07

Fair enough Jajas! I recently had that with The Other Hand by Chris Cleave - just wasn't for me, although know others who rave about it.

I'm looking forward to 23rd March to see what Tsolkias has to say as regards the criticisms of this book. Imagine there'll be quite a lot...

Jajas Fri 04-Mar-11 21:11:10

I didn't mind The Other Hand although that's also in the charity box as hardly a classic!

I didn't much like Room either although everyone seems to rave about it.

MrsKwazii Mon 07-Mar-11 14:19:29

I've just finished reading this book and will be getting it back to the library posthaste. I was ready to give up on it but was glad I read the final chapter as it seemed the only one with any kind of life or light in it.

I tweeted earlier that I wasn't sure I wanted to finish the book as I thought that the characters were an assembly of arseholes. Aside from Tracy, Richie, Tasha and - up to a point - Connie, I stand by that.

I thought it was full of shallow and materalistic people and the associated casual adultery and normalised drug-taking was just depressing. Perhaps I just live in a bubble, but I don't know real people like this. It also felt like the writer had a list of racial backgrounds and ishoos that he was making sure he shoehorned into the stories to reflect a particular picture of modern life.

I suppose that part of the point is to dislike some/most of the characters, but there was just nastiness and bleakness to so many of them and they way they related to/thought about each other. TBH, I'd wanted to slap pretty much all of them!

The feel I got from this book was very much the same as when I read Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty. Unsympathetic characters in a privileged and overblown world. I hated that book too grin

Earwigging Tue 08-Mar-11 16:27:04

Ooh, got my free copy today, will be back once I've read it, not sure I would have bought it after some of the reviews but looking forward to seeing if I agree.

TheMonster Wed 09-Mar-11 19:57:07

Mine came today. I can't wait to get started. I just need to finish my current book.

This has to be the most talked-about bookclub choice in our three year history...

Hope that you can all come on Weds March 23 to put a few questions to the author, and to continue the debate. Whatever your feelings about the characters, it is absolutely a novel that inspires discussion.

Looking forward to it.

samantha26 Thu 10-Mar-11 15:47:28

how do i join this book club and how do i find out what the books are bout????

MrsKwazii Thu 10-Mar-11 16:32:25

Samantha, all the info is here www.mumsnet.com/books smile

AlmaMartyr Fri 11-Mar-11 10:01:47

My free copy arrived on Wednesday and I read it yesterday. I enjoyed reading it, and agree with Poppygolucky (I think) that the teenagers seem to provide some hope. I did find it quite misogynistic though and I really didn't like any of the characters (maybe the point?). I didn't really empathise with the female characters and could feel very strongly that they were written by a man. The women's chapters felt like they could have been written by the men that had already judged them if that makes sense? I would have liked to have had a chapter by Sandi but not sure if would have been that insightful. Like MrsKwazii, I don't actually know anyone like that in real life so I found it quite depressing.

gailforce1 Sun 13-Mar-11 18:51:56

Alma - Pleased to see you read it in one day as I am still waiting for a copy from the Library. I am one of 46 waiting so fingers crossed I can make it for the 23rd!!

TheMonster Sun 13-Mar-11 19:42:43

People (mainly colleagues) have been shocked when I said I was going to read it. I've been told it's full of characters that you can't like, and that it presents a negative view of Australians. I've started it (only just) and I am enjoying it so far. It'll take more than a few negative comments to put me off!

TheMonster Sun 13-Mar-11 19:43:44

ANd so far it's only the Greek that come out looking bad grin

MrsKwazii Mon 14-Mar-11 20:33:29

BofE - hate any other characters yet? wink

I have to say I find I agree with the majority here; it's quite a misogynistic and depressing book. It's a shame that in the numerous male characters, none seems to have a good relationship with or opinion of women... even down to Hugo who seems to view his mother as a giant boob!

And when strong female characters are just about to bloom they let themselves down. I agree with almaMartyr that it was very obvious the author was male. I found the chapters surrounding the female characters pretty hard to identify with. The depiction of race I found a bit too over-done and exaggerated too.

I'm really looking forward to the chat. I hope Tsiolkas is able to withstand criticism wink

TheMonster Tue 15-Mar-11 19:38:40

I haven't found that I hate any of them yet. I do tend to bond with any old character though!

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