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I just don't get what people went nuts for with this novel. I am the exact demographic of his characters, right down to location, and just found it embarrassing and sometimes loathsome. The sex scenes were gratuitous and constant, the characters unlikeable and the plot laboured.
The good things I can say about this book is that it did get a little better towards the end, that Alex Dimitriades did a great job with the character of Manolis, and that I liked Connie and thought her backstory was really interesting and well-drawn. But these few aspects weren't enough to make the world Tsiolkas created one I'd like to revisit.
53 of 53 people found this review helpful
While this title has sold well in Australia, I'm not sure that I understand why. The writer focuses on the worst of his characters' characters, descends into unwarranted crudity on a regular basis, and resolves few of its plotlines. If the virtue of this book is that it mirrors the messy realities of our own lives, why read about it? Books can do such much more.
31 of 33 people found this review helpful
When you begin to read a book, and you find that it is liberally splattered with a word that you find very objectionable, when the story seems to be meandering along at no great pace, and when, furthermore, the book treats with a group of characters who are, in this reviewer's opinion, with very few exceptions, a rather unpleasant bunch, it says something for the author's storytelling abilities that I became interested enough in these awful people to want to know what happened to them in the end.
So, here we have a gathering of family and friends at a barbecue given by an arrogant, lustful civil servant and his snitty veterinarian wife. During the barbecue, an unbearably bratty child provokes a fellow guest past endurance, and gets a slap. The resulting furore is told from the point of view of several of the people at the barbecue, whose lives seem to have been changed by this seemingly small incident.
On the book's pro side, the story is very well told, the characters are well drawn, and I was made to think about my own opinions and attitudes, which is always a good thing. The naration was also beautifully done indeed!
On the con side, If you're easily shockable, this is not the book for you. There is very strong language, including liberal use of the C word throughout, graphic sex and a bit too much info about bodily functions.
All in all, I'm glad I wasn't put off by some bad reviews, and tried it for myself. A good read.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
My first audio book... now I'm hooked. A great book...very graphic at times, but well written and read, and true to life. I lived in Australia for a while, this book has brought back memories of characters and attitudes I had forgotten.
I hadn't expected the content to be what it is and the title does not give it away.
The story taken from different characters point of view offers a dynamic inspection of the situation arising from different expectations and attitudes towards societies modes of behaviour and deeply embedded social, political, cultural and class based beliefs.
There are shocks and giggles along the way. a great way to spend a half-hour journey from work...I don't mind getting stuck in traffic, in fact sometimes I hope for a hold-up!!
Would recommend to anyone who is not easily offended by swearing or descriptive sexual scenes.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
How is it even possible for the author, a man, to know women so intimately? Christos Tsiolkas shows unnerving genius in revealing every complexity of the female body mind and heart. Sitting with his characters as they get drunk together, seek intimacy and find life’s true meaning feels like eavesdropping in every sense. And as if this wasn’t enough he fleshes out this extraordinary book with the stories of people - good people- who struggle with the fallout from a polarising moment when a young child is slapped at a family gathering.
You take sides. You question your beliefs about appropriate behaviour and punishment. You crave forgiveness for the guilty and feel breathlessly tense when it rushes to an agonising moment of potential disaster.
Read by actor Alex Dimitriades, who went on to play Harry in the TV mini series, this book is rich warm and unflinching- taking the reader into the homes of a middle class Australia soaked in alcohol and soothed by family loyalties.
I think this is a masterpiece. I adored Alex’s read - although for the first few chapters it felt rushed. By the time he reads the story of Manoly his accents are delightfully, wickedly, heartwarming.
the story takes you through the lives of a few families, their worries, troubles, views - all entangled into captivating plot. really enjoyed