I’m not even sure how to talk about The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas because I loved it that much. Last year I read his latest work, Barracuda and was blown away by it, but it has nothing on The Slap. The Slap is gritty, messy, at times offensive, and beautifully written. For me it was the perfect combination of writing, flawed characters, compelling story and social commentary.
But the real reason you should read The Slap is because it exemplifies diversity in a very natural way, in the way in which most of us living in a diverse world encounter it on a daily basis. Though the story is set in Australia, the majority of the characters are Greek, but there are also characters of Indian and Vietnamese descent, regular old Australians and a wide range of sexualities. In other words, it reflected the reality of life in Australia.
And just because there was this rainbow of diversity in The Slap, doesn’t mean everything was happy and beautiful, that would be too simple. There is racism of various degrees, sexism, abuse, degradation … you name it. But that is precisely what makes the novel so brilliant – nothing is black and white and it actually reflects the world we live in pretty accurately.
Who would like this book? These days it seems that everyone is looking for more diverse reads, so pick up The Slap. It does not present diversity for diversity’s sake, but more likely because it is the author’s reality. And for those who wish to be ahead of the curve, Uma Thurman will be starring in an American remake of the Australian mini-series based on the book later in 2015.