Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cristos Tsiolkas's Greek Drama Down Under

The SlapThe Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Someone I talked to at the library (a librarian in training) was surprised to hear I loved this book. She said she didn't like the characters, the things they thought and did. I didn't like them that much myself, jerks and traitors, old and young chauvinists, victimized women and whining children... But my goodness some of them are sexy!
Cristos Tsiolkas is without a doubt the master of portraying the flawed persona, and he shows no fear to admit that all these folks are his brain children. Which of course does not mean he thinks as they do. Authors are too often burdened with responsibility of their character's points of view, the author is not equal to the narrators! Let that be clear!

Using the word persona, with its Greek origin, is appropriate when discussion the work of a Greek Australian author who writes about a community of immigrants from Hellas. 

Aren't we all actors on a stage, either created or adopted? The only character I really felt for was a teenaged boy who questions his sexual orientation, and struggles to find his own place on the stage of life. Other than him, I recognized most all of the people —for yes that's what they are, real people— in Tsiolkas's drama. Am I not, aren't we all a combination of the good and the bad and the ugly, combined with love and affection, covered up with a smile or grunt. What is hiding behind the mask? That's what it's all about.

As a writer with a background in the theater I enjoyed thoroughly how Tsiolkas lets the chorus of his drama tell the story, one by one. Each and every one relating the events in deep point of view, which is no small feat.

Take that to the bank Christos Tsiolkas!




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This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
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