'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.
Australian identity, families, identity, middle class values, morality, multiculturalism, relationships
Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Information and communication technology, Intercultural understanding, Literacy
'Percy Bysshe Shelley once described poets as the 'unacknowledged legislators of the world'. If this is true, Australian political scientists have shown curiously little interest in the role that literary figures play in the nation's political life.
'Novel Politics takes the relationship between literature and politics seriously, analysing the work of six writers, each the author of a classic text about Australian society. These authors bridge the history of local writing, from pre-Federation colonial Australia (Catherine Spence, Rosa Praed and Catherine Martin) to the contemporary moment (Tim Winton, Christos Tsiolkas and Kim Scott). Novel Politics unpicks the many political threads woven into these books, as they document the social world as it exists, while suggesting new possibilities for the nation's future. As political commentators of a particular kind, all six authors offer unique insights into the deeper roots of politics in Australia, beyond the theatre of parliament and out into the wider social world, as imagined by its dreamers and criticised by its most incisive discontents.'(Publication summary)