*prepares to be murdered*
From the first page of this novel, I think I totally disengaged. Tsiolkas establishes the barbecue scene, and there are so many other ways he could have done it. But it was crude, it was poorly done, and I sat there thinking, "Hang on, did A&U misbind this book? Surely I'm not reading the Next Great Book?"
Alas, I was. And as I stumbled on through the thickets of prose and the mind-numbingly boring storyline, I became more tempted to put the book back on the shelf and borrow a different book from work instead.
I was close to borrowing Danielle Steel, and that's saying plenty.
I suppose perhaps I didn't connect with the storyline because it had little relevance to me. Yes, I've been tempted time and time again to give a screeching child a good wallop, but it just read like something pathetic out of a soap opera. Did we really need so many pages devoted to suburban drama? Honestly, I could have gotten the same thing out of a half hour of Neighbours, and I wouldn't have felt half as underwhelmed. Neighbours doesn't have misleading reviews surrounding it, such as this one from the Australian:
Or this one from the Sydney Morning Herald:I can't recall an Australian novel that has so perfectly encompassed the Australian middle ground ... I would place The Slap as mandatory bedside table reading. It's a perfect social document of what Australia is today. More importantly, it's also one hell of a read.
This is a perfect summer book - not too demanding but a lovely juggle of colour and good stories.With Neighbours, you know you're going to get drivel. Bold and the Beautiful, you're going to get botox, tears and sex with a cousin.
This novel wasn't entertaining. From the 250-odd pages I managed to nibble at, in a half-hearted manner, it didn't represent Australia. It wasn't a good read by any stretch of the imagination.
I'm sorry, Australia. But this Booker Prize winner was undeserved and a pain in the butt.