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image of person or book cover 6275587955263169017.jpg
Image courtesy of publisher's website.
y separately published work icon Loaded single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1995... 1995 Loaded
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Families can detonate. Some families are torn apart forever by one small act, one solitary mistake. In my family it was a series of small explosions; consistent, passionate, pathetic. Cruel words, crude threats... We spurred each other on till we reached a crescendo of pain and we retired exhausted to our rooms, in tears or in fury.

'Ari is nineteen, unemployed and a poofter who doesn't want to be gay. He is looking for something - anything - to take him away from his aimless existence in suburban Melbourne. He doesn't believe in anyone or anything, except the power of music. All he wants to do is dance, take drugs, have sex and change the world.

'For Ari, all the orthodoxies of family, sex, politics and work have collapsed. Caught between the traditional Greek world of his parents and friends and the alluring, destructive world of clubs, chemicals and anonymous sex, all Ari can do is ease his pain in the only ways he knows how.

'Written in stark, uncompromising prose, Loaded is a first novel of great passion and power.' (From the publisher's website.)


form y separately published work icon Head On Andrew Bovell , Ana Kokkinos , Mira Robertson , ( dir. Ana Kokkinos ) Australia : Head On Productions , 1998 Z796585 1998 single work film/TV (taught in 6 units)

Set over the course of one night, Head On focuses on Ari, a handsome nineteen-year-old boy of Greek descent who finds himself torn between his traditional upbringing and his sexual identity. As he attempts to come to terms with where he fits in, Ari careens between hanging out with his friends and bickering with his family while also becoming involved in several heterosexual and homosexual encounters.

Loaded Dan Giovannoni , Christos Tsiolkas , 2020 single work drama

'The 1995 debut novel from Christos Tsiolkas (The Slap, Dead EuropeBarracuda) makes its mainstage premiere 25 years after the fact.

'Ari (Roy Joseph, Five Bedrooms) is 19, unemployed and aimless. He doesn’t want to be gay. He doesn’t want to be Greek. He doesn’t want to be anything. He finds an escape, of sorts, via sex, drugs and dance clubs. But, he doesn’t really fit in with the queens at The Peel any better than with family in his theía’s backyard.

'This is the story that established Tsiolkas as a provocative master of the written word. Adapted for film in the 1998 underground hit Head On, and now, in close collaboration with playwright Dan Giovannoni, Tsiolkas rewrites Ari’s odyssey for the stage with a 21st century perspective.'

Source: Matlhouse Theatre.


  • Dedication: For Wayne van der Stelt and Alan Sultan. And for my family.
  • Epigraph: The immigrant child has the advantage or the burden of knowing what other children may more easily forget: a child, any child, necessarily lives in his own time, his own room. The child cannot have a life identical with that of his mother or father. For the immigrant child this knowledge is inescapable. -- Richard Rodriguez An American Writer.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Milsons Point, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Vintage Australia , 1995 .
      image of person or book cover 6275587955263169017.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 151p.
      ISBN: 0091831083 (pbk.), 9780091839413
    • London,
      United Kingdom (UK),
      Western Europe, Europe,
      Vintage UK ,
      1997 .
      image of person or book cover 4127113445133257308.jpg
      Extent: 151p.
      Reprinted: 2011
      ISBN: 0099757710, 9780099757719, 0099757710, 9780099757719
    • London,
      United Kingdom (UK),
      Western Europe, Europe,
      Vintage UK ,
      1999 .
      image of person or book cover 7146299883650668089.jpg
      Extent: 160p.
      ISBN: 0099284731 (pbk.)
Alternative title: Unter Strom
Language: German
    • Berlin,
      Western Europe, Europe,
      Albino ,
      1998 .
      image of person or book cover 835015855500613781.jpg
      Extent: 199p.
      Edition info: 1st ed.
      • Editorial staff [redaktion]: Björn Bossman and Gerhard Hoffmann.
      ISBN: 3861875144

Works about this Work

Australia in Three Books Justine Hyde , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: Meanjin , Winter vol. 77 no. 2 2018; (p. 21-24)

— Review of Loaded Christos Tsiolkas , 1995 single work novel ; Suck My Toes Fiona McGregor , 1994 selected work short story ; The Monkey's Mask Dorothy Porter , 1994 single work novel

'Literature is a reflection of the culture that spawns it. As a queer teenager growing up in Sydney’s outer western suburbs, my access to literature was limited to the books we had at home—airport novels—and the small collection at my high school library, mostly classics. So far as I knew, old white men wrote books; Ruth Park, Ursula Le Guin, Virginia Andrews and Danielle Steele were the exceptions.' (Introduction)

Queering and Querying the Australian Suburbs : Reimagining (sub)urban Identities Nicholas Manganas , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Coolabah , no. 24/25 2018; (p. 352-362)

'This article takes an autobiographical approach to explore the changes that have occurred in Australian suburbia over the past twenty years. It considers two key queer texts—Christos Tsiolkas’s Loaded (1995) and Peter Polites’s Down the Hume (2017)—and the manner in which the protagonists of these novels express their class and sexuality in their respective suburbanscapes. Published more than twenty years apart, I argue that the process of queering Australian suburbia that can be read in both novels opens up a space to reimagine how class, ethnic and sexual mobility is negotiated in contemporary Australia.' (Publication abstract)

Craig Boreham : Teenage Kicks at Mardi Gras Erin Free , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: FilmInk , 21 February 2017;
'I Turn up the Volume and Walk Towards Home' : Mapping the Soundscapes of Loaded Joseph Cummins , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 15 no. 1 2015;
'Christos Tsiolkas’s first novel Loaded (1995) is one of the most sonically intense Australian novels ever written. Taking place over a 24-hour period, it depicts Ari – a 19-year-old child of Greek migrants – engaging in a continuous flow of sexual encounters, drug taking, walking, dancing, and listening to music. Ari’s movements through the city of Melbourne immerse him in an almost constant series of soundscapes. Traversing between venues of excess and confrontation – the city street, the nightclub, the Greek club, and a variety of domestic spaces – Ari pushes the boundaries of his identity, his sexuality, challenging what it means to exist in Australian urban modernity. In this article I will trace Ari’s engagement with sound, sound technologies, and sound spaces. I argue that Ari maps a terrain of social and historical alienation, from the values of both his parents and friends, and of the larger society. This is not to say that Ari wholly rejects his parents and society: rather, his position is shot-through with contradictory attitudes and experiences. The fault-line of this ambivalence and tension is located around sound – mostly manifest as forms of popular music – where Ari is able to reject the mainstream, but also, at times, to connect with his family, and be part of a community. To chart Ari’s use of sound technology is, I argue, to encounter the core of Loaded’s portrayal of a second-generation Greek homosexual man grappling with the demands of contemporary Australian society.' (Publication summary)
Me and My Country, Where to Now? Heather Taylor Johnson (interviewer), 2013 single work interview
— Appears in: Meanjin , vol. 72 no. 1 2013; (p. 178-188)

In a wide-ranging interview, Tsiolkas discusses film and television adaptations of his work, critical reception of his work, his politics, the role of sex in his books, and what the description of his books as 'controversial' might mean.

Another Slap in the Face of Polite Society Doug Johnstone , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 2 July 2011; (p. 24) Independent on Sunday , 26 June 2011;

— Review of Loaded Christos Tsiolkas , 1995 single work novel
Shooting Through and Shooting Up Barbara Jefferis , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 7-8 October 1995; (p. rev 8)

— Review of The Lighthouse Spark : A Novel Heather Grace , 1995 single work novel ; Loaded Christos Tsiolkas , 1995 single work novel
Young Ones Shine Katharine England , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser Magazine , 30 December 1995; (p. 8)

— Review of Bracelet Honeymyrtle Judith Fox , 1995 single work novel ; Loaded Christos Tsiolkas , 1995 single work novel ; Swimming in Silk Darren Williams , 1995 single work novel ; The Underwharf Gaby Naher , 1995 single work novel
From Bucolic Loss of Innocence to the City's Lost Souls Dennis Altman , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 9 September 1995; (p. 8)

— Review of Fruit : A New Anthology of Contemporary Australian Gay Writing 1994 anthology short story ; Fifty Ways of Saying Fabulous Graeme Aitken , 1995 single work novel ; Loaded Christos Tsiolkas , 1995 single work novel
Untitled Simon Auld , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Bookseller & Publisher , August vol. 75 no. 1061 1995; (p. 30)

— Review of Loaded Christos Tsiolkas , 1995 single work novel
Loaded with Meaning Stefan Kussy (interviewer), 1999 single work interview
— Appears in: Muse , March no. 182 1999; (p. 7)
To Be a Man and to Have a Man : Sex, Gender and Ethnicity in Christos Tsiolkas' Loaded Xavier Pons , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Commonwealth , Autumn vol. 26 no. 1 2004; (p. 11-22) Messengers of Eros : Representations of Sex in Australian Writing 2009; (p. 211-225)
A Sin that Dare Not Speak Its Name Ivan Canadas , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Overland , Summer no. 177 2004; (p. 43-47)
A Fortunate Son Richard Watts , 2005 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 3 July 2005; (p. 20)
'I'm Not Australian, I'm Not Greek, I'm Not Anything' : Identity and the Multicultural Nation in Christos Tsiolkas's Loaded Ben Authers , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 4 no. 2005; (p. 133-145)
Last amended 11 Jun 2020 14:37:49