THE SLAP

Christos Tsiolkas

In this powerful and riveting novel, literary phenomenon Christos Tsiolkas unflinchingly exposes the inner workings of domestic life, friendship, and parenthood in the twenty-first century, and reminds us of the passions and malice that family loyalty can provoke. When a man slaps another couple’s child at a neighborhood barbecue, the event send unforeseeable shock waves through the lives of all who are witness to it. Told from the points of view of eight people who were present, The Slap shows how a single action can change the way people think about how they live, what they want, and what they believe forever.

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In this powerful and riveting novel, literary phenomenon Christos Tsiolkas unflinchingly exposes the inner workings of domestic life, friendship, and parenthood in the twenty-first century, and reminds us of the passions and malice that family loyalty can provoke. When a man slaps another couple’s child at a neighborhood barbecue, the event send unforeseeable shock waves through the lives of all who are witness to it. Told from the points of view of eight people who were present, The Slap shows how a single action can change the way people think about how they live, what they want, and what they believe forever.

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  • Penguin Books
  • Paperback
  • February 2015
  • 496 Pages
  • 9780143128700

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$16.00

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About Christos Tsiolkas

Christos Tsiolkas is an internationally bestselling and award-winning novelist, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter. His novel The Slap has sold more than one million copies worldwide and has been published in twenty-eight countries.

Praise

A novel of immense power and scope, reminiscent of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections and Don DeLillo’s Underworld.”

Cólm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn and The Master

Wildly energetic and fearless, thrillingly about our lives now.

Helen Garner, author of The Spare Room

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

Discussion Questions

As you read this book, what was your response when Harry slaps Hugo at the barbecue? How would you have responded if this event took place in your own backyard?

Tsiolkas has chosen to tell his story—or arguably, stories—from the perspective of different characters, devoting a chapter to each. What does telling the story through these different perspectives accomplish that a single narrative point of view can’t?

In Tsiolkas’ Melbourne, most of the characters are doing drugs on a regular or casual basis. Is there a narrative purpose for this or is he merely reflecting reality?

Most of the families in the community depicted in The Slap seem to be upwardly mobile, with some characters resisting bourgeois stereotypes. Is money a positive or corrupting influence for the characters in this book?

Besides the fact that they were each present at the barbecue, what else do these seemingly disparate characters have in common with one another?

Throughout the book the characters debate a simple moral question: whether an adult can or should lay hands on a child under any circumstances. Where do you stand with regard to this issue? Which characters do you agree with?

In a moment of overwhelming emotion, Connie tells her friend Richie an explosive secret that is a lie—or at least an exaggeration of the truth. What, in your opinion, prompts her to do this?

The saying goes that “blood is thicker than water”—meaning, family loyalty is stronger than any other. Is that true for the characters in this book? If so, how?

In this novel, each of the characters offers his or her own version of the truth—tinted, of course, by his or her own motives and feelings. Which did you find most compelling or most believable?

When Aisha and Hector hit a bump in their marriage, Aisha has an epiphany: “Love, at its core, was negotiation, the surrender of two individuals to the messy, banal domestic realities of sharing a life together.” How does this theme play out among other relationships in the book?

Are any of the characters in The Slap happy with their life choices? Do any have the potential for happiness? If so, how?