'At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own.
'This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.
'In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first century. The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires.
'What unfolds is a powerful, haunting novel about love, sex and marriage, parenting and children, and the fury and intensity - all the passions and conflicting beliefs - that family can arouse. In its clear-eyed and forensic dissection of the ever-growing middle class and its aspirations and fears, The Slap is also a poignant, provocative novel about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth.' (Publisher's blurb)
'Meet Hector [...], a public servant, husband, father and valued friend on the cusp of his 40th birthday. Meet Aisha [...], Hector's beautiful and intelligent wife who is planning his party filled with friends and his very boisterous Greek family. Sounds like the makings of a great day, right? Wrong.
'As Hector tries to navigate family politics, awkward friendships and the young woman he is dangerously captivated by, the built-up tension explodes when Hector's hotheaded cousin slaps another couple's misbehaving child. Everyone is understandably stunned, and the party abruptly ends with the child's parents vowing legal action. What the hosts and guests don't know, however, is that this moment will ignite a chain of events that will uncover long-buried secrets within this group of friends and family... and vigorously challenge the core values of everyone involved.'
Source: NBC (http://www.nbc.com/the-slap). (Sighted: 3/2/2015)
Unit Suitable For
AC: Year 11 (Literature Unit 3). This unit could be suitably adapted for study at a tertiary level also.
Controversial and challenging, The Slap, has gathered as much criticism as it has awards. It is hailed as a modern Australian classic, an “unflinching interrogation of the life of the modern family.” Tsiolkas’ critical eye offers an insight into Australian suburbia as it is today, shattering the sentimental myths surrounding our suburban and multicultural Australian identity. In discussing the ABC television adaptation of his novel, Tsiolkas expresses his relief at a depiction of an “urban Australia that actually looks and sounds like the Australia we live in, and not some kind of fantasy,” (BBC Hard Talk, 2011). Debating this concept will be the theme for this unit.
Please note that this novel contains graphic depictions of sexual behaviour and frequent very coarse language.