I read this book because someone commenting here referred to it as having made the Booker (sorry, Man Booker) long list - I hadn't heard of it, or the writer, Christos Tsiolkas, before. It is splendid stuff in my view. Raunchy too. One view is that it did not get beyond the long list because there is such a lot of, how to put this, cock in it. Tsiolkas is Greek Australian and writes in English. It was fascinating to me on Australian culture, with which I am not very familiar, and its sexual politics. And it is a great story - a man at a summer barbecue with extended family and friends slaps a child not his own, and the consequences of that touch them all. The main characters get a long chapter each and we find out about their lives outside the child-slapping story. We are not invited to love any of them, and I did not, although the Greek grandfather in his old age made me cry, and the teenage boy did too. But read it if you can. Well, you can, because that nice Mr Amazon will bring it round for you on his bike if you ask him to. Something the author perhaps did not intend as a response is that I found the book very full of life. Almost exhaustingly so. Quite a lot of what I have read recently, from England and from France in particular, seems bloodless by comparison. There is a lot of enthusiastic drinking, and eating, and sex, and consumption of other substances, and not much agonising about any of it. This may be a Greek thing. It may be an Australian thing. It may just be Christos Tsiolkas's thing. I know that there is plenty of Australian writing that hardly makes it out of that country, and I have resolved to read some more of it. We are planning a trip Down Under next year and this is how I will prepare.
btw it took me most of the book to work out just what or who Australians mean when they use the word "wog".