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Melissa Denes

Melissa Denes is the Guardian’s arts editor.

‘The Slap’

Melissa Denes, 19 August 2010

With so many internal disagreements about loyalty, fidelity, sex, motherhood (for Tsiolkas, being a father is something you do, while motherhood defines you), it’s a pity the novel is so one-dimensional, everyone’s responses so similar, the language so uniform. Perhaps because they have it all ahead of them, two of the youngest characters, Connie and Richie, are the most vividly drawn. (‘Thank God for Connie and Richie,’ as Rosie says, though she is thinking about the babysitting.) In the teenagers’ chapters, the world is nuanced, uncertain, shifting; the grown-ups see mostly in black and white. A woman is a mother or a slut. You love your neighbours or you want them dead.

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