Christos Tsiolkas Interview

Christos Tsiolkas's new novel is titled The Slap, which seems vaguely appropriate when I see a photo of the author - he always seems like he has been, or is about to be, slapped. Just me, I guess. I always look like I have a very bad case of gas in all my photos. Anyway, the author is interviewed for the "Readings" weblog by Belinda Monypenny and Jo

What was your inspiration for writing such a grounded, earthy novel in a domestic, suburban setting after the globetrotting sprawl of Dead Europe?

Dead Europe was a very difficult novel to write. It took time for it to find its form; it also took me, in the writing of it, into dark and fearful places. As a writer you take on aspects of your characters and if you are not careful the world you are creating begins to blend with the world you actually inhabit. That's not only a problem for yourself, but more importantly, for the people around you.

So I started working on notes for The Slap towards the end of writing Dead Europe as a way of escaping the bleak world of racist Europa and also as a return to just the pure joy of writing. To use a musical metaphor, which I am prone to, I wanted to just "riff", create characters and scenarios and stories and see where they took me. I think suburbia, such a part of the Australian experience, has always interested me; the push-pull of it. Suburbia tends to be viewed as static in our cultural and literary representation and I think that's simply not true. What does the new "wog", aspirational suburbia look like? That seemed a good jumping-off point for a novel.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 10, 2008 2:41 PM.

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