Archive for June, 2011

The Slap. We hate it.

Christos Tsiolkas take note...

Oh Christos Tsiolkas- how pleased you must be that the rest of the book-buying world didn’t agree with the Official Sunderland Book Group Opinion. How pleased that we are not the Commonwealth Prize Committee nor the Booker Prize longlisters. Because we didn’t like this one at all. Really. Almost no disagreement. We just hated it.

So, though the rest of the world may look on in disbelief, at the last meeting (as is becoming tradition) we swerved away from mainstream opinion and discussed the myriad ways we detested this book, which ranged from the obvious (awful sex, liberal drug taking, filthy language) to the more considered:

  • lack of character differentiation- everyone equally angry, having the same awful sex,   hating each other in exactly the same way.
  • unbelievable, hysterical, over the top, soap opera style plot
  • possibly misogynist
  • really dull, unimaginative writing style

To quote India Knight who, we agreed, said it much better than we could; “the whole novel has this ludicrous comedy-macho sensibility. You get the feeling that if he’d been forced to read ‘literary’ fiction, Raoul Moat would have gulped it down at one sitting.” “There is no joy, no love, no hope, no beauty [in it]. Just hideous people beating each other up, either physically or emotionally.”

And so on and so on. We didn’t like it. I don’t have much more to say.

Or maybe I do. Just that I’m really looking forward to the next meeting which is now on the 21st July. We’ll be discussing Rupture by Simon Lelic, (thankfully) a totally different proposition to The Slap. Indeed, I have not yet counted one c word. I’ll also (drum roll!) be revealing the Autumn programme of books!

About the group

Sunderland Book Group meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 6pm at Holmeside Coffee in Sunderland.

If you would like more information about what the group is reading, please visit

June 2011