I’ve just finished reading The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. And, like his previous novel Dead Europe, I’m quite bowled over by it. I really admire the way he’s unafraid to tackle big subjects and modern taboos; how his characters argue and discuss issues many of us struggle with – how should we deal with religious extremism? what is the best way to bring up children? how do we negotiate relationships in a diverse society? And all of this without it coming across as preachy or dogmatic. He gets the subtleties and nuances of human interaction. There’s also a great momentum to the interwoven stories of the different characters, and so much wonderful, telling and sometimes unflinchingly raw detail. In short, I found The Slap powerful, compelling, leavened with dashes of (often profane) humour, and ultimately moving. Dead Europe in some ways I think is a more disturbing book, and incredibly important in its head on engagement with the post 9-11 (for want of a better phrase) state of western liberalism. Blimey! It’s criminal really that The Slap is the only one of Tsiolkas’s novels to be published in the UK.