I was born in Melbourne, Australia during the Cold War and I knew I wanted to be a writer when my Year Eight English teacher held up a piece of my creative writing and declared it “filth”. Though I tried desperately to escape suburbia I soon realised that you can take the boy out of the suburbs but you can’t necessarily take the suburbs out of the boy. My novels, fictions and scripts are an attempt to explore the crevices and dark spaces of the Australian suburban landscape, and in doing so to hopefully scrawl a huge ugly handle-bar moustache over the dirty-blonde, blue-eyed Aryan iconography of this Great Southern Land. I have been accused of being a misogynist, a racist, a homophobe, a pornographer, a blasphemer and an upstart declasse poseur. I have also been accused of political correctness, of being an unreconstructed socialist, of being a crypto-Protestant Christian (which really pissed off my Mum), and of being a nice man to sit next to at a dinner party. I live in fear that there is an “other” Christos Tsiolkas and one day I’ll go through a Philip K. Dicksian wormhall and confront myself as a complete stranger.
“This is not my beautiful house
This is not my beautiful wife.”
Christos Tsiolkas writes novels, plays and scripts. His first novel Loaded was turned into the film Head On by Ana Kokkinos. His third novel Dead Europe won The Age Fiction Book of the Year prize in 2006 and also the Melbourne Prize for that year. But like any parent, Christos looked most fondly on his least favoured child, his second novel The Jesus Man. In 1999 Christos was asked to participate with three other writers (Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius and Melissa Reeves) and composer, Irini Vela, on the theatrical collaboration, Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? The production won the Australian Writers Guild top prize for that year but more importantly was the beginning of a long professional relationship with the above artists and the Melbourne Workers Theatre. Other plays include Viewing Blue Poles and Elektra AD, and Non Parlo di Salo, written with Spiro Economopoulos, about the Italian filmmaker, poet and activist, Pier Paolo Pasolini.
'With The Slap, Tsiolkas secures his place as one of our most important novelists...It is thrilling to have our life reflected back at us so accurately. By painting an Australia we can recognise in language as good you don't notice it, Tsiolkas has written an absolute ripper.'
Louise Swinn, The Age
'The best politicians are those who can instinctively divine the zeitgeist of their country's centre. For the ones who can't, I would place The Slap as mandatory bedside table reading. It's a perfect social document of what Australia is today. More inportantly, it's also a hell of a read.'
Venero Armanno, The Australian
'...strikingly tender...it claws into you with its freshness and truth'
Gerard Windsor, Sydney Morning Herald
'The Slap is that rare and mesmerising combination of master storytelling and brilliant characterisation... The eloquence, pathos and ruthless honesty of this new novel make it an unsettling, but thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding read.'
'a contemporary Australian masterpiece'
Australian Bookseller & Publisher
'Tsiolkas doesn't just take a microscope to middle-class life, he flays it raw. The Slap is a confronting but also surprisingly subtle exploration of how we live now. It's also magnificent. If a better Aussie novel's been written in the past decade I haven't read it.'
'Another disquieting masterpiece from one of Australia's pre-eminent novelists.'
'This summer's must-read...brilliantly compelling and utterly fresh...Fiercely fantastic, you won't be able to put this down.'
'The Slap is provocative and profane, throbbing with sex, drugs and loud music, and ultimately, despite its ferocity, life-affirming.'
'This book is an agent provocateur in that it forces debate back on all its readers...The Slap deserves a wide and thoughtful readership.'
'a remarkably good read'
powerful, haunting....poignant, provocative'
'This is the human condition. Detailing it in this sprawling novel, Tsiolkas fulfils the artist's duty. His realism is more affecting and more humane than a moralist's stance: this is telling it like it is.'
'That Tsiolkas can so convincingly speak in so many different voices suggests a remarkable imagination, or plenty of time spent talking to people of various ages and experiences. More likely, it's both, wrapped up in a born storyteller's capacity to empathise, create vivid characters, and explore complex truths in everyday life.'
Radio National The Book Show