Author: Christos Tsiolkas Publication Date: 2008 Category: Contemporary adult fiction, Australian. Who'll want to read it? Everyone! Especially people in book clubs - there is so much controversy to discuss. Point of no return: The writing draws you in from the very first page. Classic line: I don't recall a standout line - it is all fabulous. What's it all about? It's a brilliant story set in the multicultural middle class suburbia of Melbourne. The central event of the story takes place during a game of backyard cricket at barbeque. A very very naughty and exceedingly irritating little boy is slapped by a man who is neither his parent or a relative. As the book explores the fallout of this incident you realise it's not just about the "slap". Each chapter features a different character and different facets of the incident. Each intracately drawn character has their own distinct voice, their own politics, perspectives, prejudices and lifestyles. None of the characters are one dimensional, and EVERYONE is flawed - which makes it all the more realistic.
What I enjoyed most about this book was how my opinions on each person changed so dramatically with each new chapter. One minute I loathed one of the characters - minutes later I was completely sympathetic to their situation. Then later, I sometimes found myself returning to my first opinion. I felt so manipulated, and because of that, felt I was implicated in the action - I really felt I could have walked into the book at any time.
Christos Tsiolkas deserves every prize he gets for this book!
Publisher: Allen & Unwin - see the publisher's web-site for reading group guides.