Sunday, November 10, 2013

Writing with the dick

Back in 2008, when Christos Tsiolkas published his fourth novel The Slap, he achieved a result that every novelist hopes for. He tapped into something universal. For a while there, everybody seemed to be talking about the same book. You felt left out if you hadn’t read it. It was like Fifty Shades of Grey, except it was good.

Mind you, the book had a few rough edges stylistically. But at the structural level it had a tact that Australian novels don’t always possess. Tsiolkas didn’t cudgel you with his moral views. He withheld his judgment, thus encouraging you to exercise yours. To discuss the book was therefore to argue about it, sometimes ferociously. How annoying was little Hugo? How much of a pig was Harry? In 2011, when the ABC aired its excellent TV adaptation, the arguments started all over again. 

When Tsiolkas’s fifth novel, Barracuda, comes out this November, curiosity about its author is bound to intensify ... [read more]