Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The Slap - Discussion Questions

The Slap Christos Tsolkias

At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own. This event has a ripple effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.
In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsolkias 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 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 deeply provocative novel about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth. (Book dust jacket)


1. Did this book make you question your immediate resonse to Harry slapping the four year old Hugo.

2. Did Rosie breastfeeding Hugo at that age affect your opinion of her?

3. Every nationality seemed to be represented at the B.B.Q. - do you think there is a reason Tsiolkas did this? (Greek, Vietnamese, European, Indian, Aboriginal,)

4. Did you think Tsiolkas's character speech was effective?

5. There seemed to be many marital issues brought up throughout the book, infidelity, domestic violence, alcoholism. Do you think this is a true picture of a group of friends or has the author thrown in too many provocative issues for effect?

6. Do you think The way we treat our children says a lot about our culture and our society?

7. The anger in The Slap is quite confronting – so many of the characters are wracked by frustrations and ready to snap. Do you think this is an endemic problem of Australia's middle class?

8. Do you think Australia is in an age of new conservatism and over-the-top political correctness? What are your feelings about that?

7 comments:

trashalou said...

Wow! Those are some questions!

I think i need to read this book.

Kell said...

Jen,
Are these the questions for BG? and if so, I have some serious thinking to do.
Am loving the book - almost finished!

Jenny said...

Don't worry Kell - I'm not leading BG this month. Just thought I'd post some as people had been looking for ideas for Book groups.

pazv said...

This book was recommended to me by a friend after listening to that book whore, Mariella Frostrup in conversation on the Radio with the author...I got up to the Manolis chapter and then went and left my copy in a basket at the self service section of Tesco! Of course it was not handed in to customer service and I am loathed to pay £16.99 for another..Anyone care to enlighten me on what happens after the case is lost, do friends gradually move away from Rosie & Gary?

Anonymous said...

I'm scared to read this book because I think it'll make me too angry. This sort of issue - do you smack or even yell at your own kids, and do you have the right to discipline anybody else's kids - has been so divisive in my social group that I'm not sure I want to revisit. We thought we were alike, but when we had kids we discovered a deeper layer of values. We ranged from "treat your high-octane little boys like puppies so they know their boundaries" right through to touchy feely "breastfeed on demand at any hour of day or night or they'll feel rejected" through to "I let my mother babysit every day because motherhood cramps my style". All very fraught - it's actually a very hard time to parent; too many deeply held opinions which oppose each other completely.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the questions I'll use them at my book group! Thanks again !

Jerome said...

I just purchased "The Slap" last week Monday(10/01/12 or 01/10/12) at my local library(50 cents USD or 49 cents AUD) here in Los Angeles on a whim not knowing what to expect from this book since I have never heard of it or looked it up on the Net after I purchased this book. So far I'm not at all disappointed in what I'm reading between the tensions between family members, friends as well expectations and disappointments in their personal lives.
The chapter I am at now is Rosie and I at odds with her and if she was a real person I would so be against her, furthermore speak my mind of how she's not raising Hugo.

In questions three you asked "Every nationality seemed to be represented at the B.B.Q. - do you think there is a reason Tsiolkas did this? (Greek, Vietnamese, European, Indian, Aboriginal,)"
I was wondering aren't the characters Australian nationals and their descent or ethnic origin Greek, Vietnamese, Indian, Aboriginal and isn't Greek European? Just wondering. One more thing if a person was born in Australian and they're not Aboriginal or WASP/white aren't they Australian nationals?

Thanks for the questions and I'll pass them along to my friend who just started reading "The Slap".