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

(175 Posts)
TillyBookClub Thu 17-Feb-11 11:54:58

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 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...

defineme Sat 19-Feb-11 16:34:31

Do 99% of readers hate it?
I have a book group with 10 members, all female 30s/40s from Midlands, and we all enjoyed it. We found it kicked off a really interesting discussion about our experiences of immigrant communities and also our opinions of modern parenting 'issues'.
One or two of the group blanched at the language and rawness of some of the characters, but didn't find it a good enough reason to stop reading the book and found that they got past that.
I think it's one of the longest discussions we've had and that reflects the breadth of the book.
I did actually have empathy with the teenage characters and, if I'm honest, aspects of some of the adults.

KiwiKat Sun 20-Feb-11 12:46:53

I got this out of the library some months ago, and my librarian friend said, as he placed it in my hot little hands, "it will be interesting to hear what you think of it - most people don't like it". My first thought was "fools - they probably don't 'get' it", and was confident that I would be different.

Sadly I didn't like it either, probably because there was such a strong male voice shaping even the female characters. The misogyny was totally appropriate to the setting and the story, and true of the group of people he was writing about, but the failure of the women to be convincing as characters really let it down.


gaelicsheep Sun 20-Feb-11 14:23:42

It's starting to sound like an excellent choice for the book club actually, given the debate already.

noddyholder Sun 20-Feb-11 14:49:22

I really enjoyed this book as did both my book groups

Jajas Sun 20-Feb-11 19:55:52

I loathed the first 100 pages and put it back on the bookshelf in disgust - what an utter load of twaddle and cannot believe it made it on to the Booker short list shock!

gaelicsheep Sun 20-Feb-11 20:31:17

I'll say one thing for this book, which is I did manage to finish it. Unlike the nonsensical tripe that is The Time Traveller's Wife.

Jajas Sun 20-Feb-11 22:07:42

I didn't mind the TTW, The Slap was just offensive in a mind numbling boring way

mssjk Mon 21-Feb-11 10:14:33

I didn't like most of the characters either, but have to say I found the book quite thought-provoking. I don't think that empathy with the characters is a measure of the worth of a book. I do agree that it was obnoxious at times, but I think this was deliberate (well, I hope so, anyway).

noddyholder Mon 21-Feb-11 18:27:23

I agree mss you do not have to like them.I thought they were an interesting mix and you meet people that make you bristle every day!There were so many great discussions in our book group though and for that I commend it.

Jajas Mon 21-Feb-11 21:24:54

I just felt it had no depth though? I don't have to like characters to enjoy reading a book - gawd does this mean I need to go back and pick it up again?

defineme Tue 22-Feb-11 13:24:03

I think you should Jajas!
I think the characters were shallow, but that was a reflection of their society though not the book?
Suggesting something is boring because it's offensive is saying that the offensive stuff is gratuitous isn't it? I thought, again, that the offensiveness was an element of the characterization?

I really wish I was about for this discussion and I will try and think of a question!

lockets Tue 22-Feb-11 18:20:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jajas Tue 22-Feb-11 18:32:33

Okkkkkk maybe I will. Trouble is there is just so much really good stuff to read that I feel like ploughing through something I don't like is a waste of good reading time. Might try one more time.

poppygolucky Wed 23-Feb-11 12:15:00

I loved this book - everyone else I know hated it!
The redemption for me came through the younger characters - perhaps even an element of hope? I agree the middle generation characters were entirely unsympathetic but I think the author was unsympathetic towards them too. We are meant to see them as entirely flawed parents, many of them reeling from their own upringings and sense of what constitutes 'family'. Add to that the issues of race, social class, sexuality - even if you didn't like this book, at least it provokes debate.
One thing I would say is it is graphic in terms of depicting sex and drug-taking but not gratuitous. I didn't feel it was unrealistic or titillating: unfortunately some men and women do approach sex and drugs in this way, and to ignore that is naive.
Anyway I really look forward to this discussion!

Heathcliffscathy Thu 24-Feb-11 13:14:31

Mayornaze couldn't agree more...did find it diverting though and the fact that the most sympathetic character by far was a woman (can't remember name, the young girl vet assistant) closely followed by anoush (was that her name? The older writer) means that the book can't be totally written off as a piece of misogynistic twad.

DontWorryBaby Thu 24-Feb-11 13:43:53

Has anyone had their free copy yet?

MayorNaze Thu 24-Feb-11 18:34:40


"...probably because there was such a strong male voice shaping even the female characters. The misogyny was totally appropriate to the setting and the story, and true of the group of people he was writing about, but the failure of the women to be convincing as characters really let it down."

yes - i do agree about the misogyny actually, and definitely about the portrayal of women by a male writer

has anyone read much Zadie Smith? she also deals with race/sex/immigration/social class but very differently, no?

Jajas Thu 24-Feb-11 22:34:26

Ah yes I much preferred Zadie Smith, far more depth to her characters, grace too even if you don't necessarily 'like' them. Have read White Teeth, On Beauty and another one - can't remember the name of. Vastly superior to The Slap.

thunderbird69 Sat 26-Feb-11 12:24:31

If I had been picked to get a copy would I have received an email confirmation? or should I have received it by now?

kerala Sun 27-Feb-11 20:49:15

Agree Jajas. Horrid misogynistic rubbish and depressing book. Ignore it is my advice, or read "We Had it so good" by Linda Grant which is also recently out but is actually worth reading.

Jajas Sun 27-Feb-11 20:54:31

Thank you kerala will look out for that one smile

thunderbird69 Mon 28-Feb-11 13:33:11

Received an email now saying the books are being sent out this week - having read the comments on here, I'm not exactly looking orward to reading it now!

Matildathebrave Mon 28-Feb-11 13:57:52

I have also just had an email saying my book will be sent out this week.

From reading the comments above and also on Amazon it seems a strange choice as not a very well liked book by most of you.

Well, I will give it a go but won't force myself to read it if it's really that bad!

I love Room, was one of the best books I've read in a while. Currently reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult which is brilliant so far.

Books should be enjoyable so am hoping I will enjoy the Slap ............

grumpypants Mon 28-Feb-11 15:57:39

House Rules really good but i just got so fed up with them not asking him - seemed very convoluted! loved the slap.

Blatherskite Mon 28-Feb-11 15:58:32

Loved Room but like a lot on here, the Amazon reviews put me off this book. Decided I'd apply for a free copy and read it if I got one....and I did

Looking forward to reading it now and coming back to talk about it.

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