Christos Tsiolkas is the author of four novels: Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. He won Overall Best Book the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award and won the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal for his latest novel, The Slap. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne.
A group of family and friends gather for a backyard barbecue in suburban Melbourne, and the adults are all drinking a bit too much. The children are squabbling over computer games when a four-year- old with a temper tantrum brings on a disciplinary slap from an equally short-fused adult. The repercussions of this incident set off an ever-widening tsunami as the boys' parents threaten a lawsuit and their once tight-knit group lines up on one side or the other. Through the stories of eight of the partygoers, it becomes increasingly clear that everybody lies. These family-loving, house-proud, mostly successful Greek Australians could be kissing cousins of the American Sopranos. This essentially amoral crew own backstories rife with affairs, business misdeeds, and racial slurs. Verdict This 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize winner will appeal to those who prefer their novels complex and multilayered. While there is not a lot to admire about most of the players in this exceptionally well-written story, their intertwined lives and slowly revealed connections make for a singular reading experience.-Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.