I confess I have had a copy of The Slap sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read for a while now. I do believe that wait is over.
And the motivation is from just finishing my copy of Barracuda, Mr. Tsiolkas (does anyone know how to pronounce the name?) new novel.
Reviewers have not always been kind to this writer so I started the book with no real expectations. But I finished it with total admiration.
I thought it was an excellent novel. You could be forgiven for believing it to be a tale of an adolescent kid throwing a strop because he didn’t win a race. But it is so much more than that.
This is a tour de force of adolescent angst, anger and aggression and the painful journey to being a whole person again.
I suspect the book also has much to say about the situation of sports in Australia but I am British and I can’t usefully comment on that. There is little of the sports scholarship thing in this country and I’m not even sure how it works.
But that is only part of the story and in the bigger picture just a small part.
Danny the boy is not very appealing; Dan the man breaks our hearts. To have a dream well within your grasp and to lose that dream forever is not something to get over easily. To deal with it with criminal activity is reprehensible to say the least. But to understand why you’ve gone wrong and where you’ve gone wrong is one thing and to turn it around to enrich the lives of those you care about and may have hurt in the past is something else.
I suppose you could see this as a coming of age story, a painful coming but a satisfactory and hopeful ending made this a meaningful read for me.
I loved it. So, slap me.