The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

 The Slap earned a reputation as one of the most controversial books of 2009. It got some very good reviews including some from well-known writers. This makes me think that my reaction to the novel may say more about me than  it does about it but, for what it’s worth, I did not find the characters particularly interesting and I thought the exploration of the aftermath of the notorious slap was not sufficiently developed.

 The ‘slap’ , from which the novel takes its title, takes place early on in the story at a party where one father hits another’s child for misbehaving. The reactions of various individuals then take over – in theory at least – for the remainder of the novel. I found the characters – with the possible exception of Aisha – were not engaging – nor particularly well-drawn. There’s a lot of sexand aggression in the novel which perhaps is meant to lend veracity to the domestic scenes but which seems unnecessary and does not drive the story forward.

All in all, I was disappointed with The Slap. It might be a good choice for book clubs because the slapping is an issue that could provoke a good debate. It’s just a pity that a bit more of that debate didn’t emerge in its pages.