Publisher's synopsis

At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.

In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas 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 powerful, haunting 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 poignant, provocative novel about the nature of loyalty and happiness, compromise and truth.


  • Winner 2009 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Overall Best Book
  • Winner 2009 ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year and Overall Book of the Year
  • Winner 2009 ABA Book of the Year
  • Winner 2009 ALS Gold Medal
  • Winner 2009 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards
  • Shortlisted 2008 Colin Roderick Award
  • Shortlisted 2009 Miles Franklin Prize
  • Longlisted 2010 The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award