03 June 2009

The Slap (Christos Tsiolkas)

Absolutely wonderful news about good ol' Christos winning the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for The Slap. Even more exciting that it has now been optioned for television. I'm absolutely delirious for Tsiolkas, on an artistically-fulfilling front as well as a monetary one.

It's just seems such a damn shame the book was so reprehensibly awful.

The Slap is set in Melbourne and follows a group of middle class suburbanites as they deal with the fallout after one of them slaps a child who is not his own at a barbecue. What follows is a crude storyline (in content and style), where the generally sensationalised characters are cobbled together in all their selfish and seedy glory to form a stilted plot. I almost wrote a 'plot that limps along', but this indicates a certain underdog aspect of the characters or story, thus rendering this initial thought of mine incorrect. Rather than limping, the novel careers along hopelessly like a drunken, blind neanderthal on an obstacle course.

Other thoughts: I do not like book covers where there is a child crying on the cover (who has, I assume, just been physically hurt); I do not like sexual descriptions where I feel the need to wipe MY EYES out with disinfectant after having read them; and parvenus who adopt a manner of superiority through the employment of too much glitter and Lycra are probably the most annoying people on the planet.

This novel marks the expiration of my tolerance for these novels of modern fiction hailed as glorious when they are, at best, the least awful of a bad bunch and at worst, better never to have been written in the first place. This does not, of course, cover all modern fiction. That is a ridiculous notion. But I am feeling disillusioned and thus am exaggerating accordingly. It worries me sometimes, that humankind has penned every original thought and must now rehash other people's brilliance (and idiocy) for all eternity.

Honestly, it keeps me awake at night.

Thus I made a monumentous decision last night (I have not cleared this with Earhart but anticipate it will not cause her much grief. Also, I am aware monumentous is not actually a word, but I believe it should be). I want to scrap the Monthly Classic, as I would rather turn to these for my main reading material now. It DEPRESSES me, going into the library, standing in front of the classics section and allowing myself a single, miserable title. Think of the riches I shall feel endowed with, now being able to stand there and pile my arms high with Bulgakov, Camus and the like.

I shall, of course, then pop over to the romantic lit section and grab a couple of pastel coloured delicacies. I like to think of them as the literary equivalent of the macaroon.

Oh, and I am still to post on Lord Lucan (William Coles' latest) and must delve at some point into Kate Grenville's The Lieutenant.

Basically, I will still be posting on a wide range of genres, but will allow myself (ourselves) more than one measly classic a month.

Rating: 3/10.
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