Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to really shock Melbourne people.

You didn't read "The Slap"? You monster!

I had the following conversation with my sister the other day.

My sister: “Did you see the latest episode of The Slap?”

Me: “I’m not watching The Slap.”

My sister: “Oh, it’s just that I thought you might be interested in how it compared with the book.”

Me: “I didn’t read the book.”

At which point she stared at me for some seconds in gobsmacked horror, as if I’d said I had a sneaking admiration for Tony Abbott.

But it’s all true. I haven’t read The Slap and have no intention to, because;
  • The author sort of annoys me,
  • I’m spent most of my life avoiding the sort of arseholes that populate the book* and have no desire to make their acquaintance now and
  • Books that are described as “capturing the zeitgeist of the time” really, really, really annoy me.
Why, I can’t really say. Partly it might be intellectual snobbery, a queasiness about reading a book that everybody else seems to be reading, but mostly because they’re often shit; the sort of book that people look back on in ten year’s time and say “what on earth were we thinking, this is shit**”.

I may change my mind about The Slap. But I doubt it.

* Based on the reviews, obvs.

** Having said that, Oranges are not the only fruit holds up pretty well. The same does not apply for The Bone People. The Bone People brings to mind Dorothy Parker’s line about a book she was reviewing; “This is not a book to set aside lightly. It should be hurled with great force”.


Cath said...

Ramon, I know what you mean. I am not watching the series, although I have in fact read the book. It was the choice of a book club I am in, so I did not voluntarily take it on. You can be assured that nearly all of the characters are of the most revolting type. I felt no sympathy or compassion for any of them. And in fact, the comment about it "capturing the zeitgeist etc" worries me that there are sections of society for whom the behaviour displayed in the book is normal. The kid was a shit-head and needed a good "disciplining". That said, all of the adults need a good slapping as well.

squib said...

I haven't read it cos Melbs said it was badly written. I haven't seen it because I hardly ever watch "live" TV. I didn't know it was on until someone asked me about it. I'm reading Our Mutual Friend at the moment and I'm betting I'm not missing out on much

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

You're lucky you live in Freo, Squib.

The Slap was bloody everywhere in inner-city Melbourne.

Also, middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides is ace.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read it either; and after seeing Melba tear it to shreds, I'm probably not likely to. The show, I've downloaded from iView, but haven't, as yet, had the inclination to watch. Possibly, I never will. My curiosity in it stems entirely from the fact that references seem to keeping popping up here. I've never heard it mentioned by anyone off the net.

And in fact, the comment about it "capturing the zeitgeist etc" worries me that there are sections of society for whom the behaviour displayed in the book is normal.

Maybe it taps into that sense of "everyone in the world is a cunt but me" that probably has less to do with "the times" and more to do with the individual. But speaking of, usually when I hear someone describe something as "capturing the zeitgeist of the time", I instinctively start scanning for other signs that they're wanking into my ear, so to speak.

Melbourne Girl said...

1. Yes The Slap (book) was shit. But it's also been the most talked-about book in the last couple of years, which is annoying. A lot of people have said it was shit, more than have said they liked it. I'm not saying i found it hard to read, it's difficult to articulate why I really disliked it. I'm glad I got in early though with my canning of it because it quickly became de rigeur to bag it.

One of the things I can remember (of the many) that irked me was one minor character who was aboriginal was also a Muslim convert. This to me was lazy, short-cut writing. And not very realistic.

2. I watched The Slap (TV) and enjoyed it. It was well done but still doesn't change the fact that the book was shit.

3. I am currently reading a bio on Mrs Parker. It's amaze-balls.

4. I read The Bone People way back when and remember liking it. But then I was only about 20 and far less discriminating than I am now. Time to revisit or not worth?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Melbs, I'd give The Bone People a big miss if I were you, but I'm unforgiving about shit literature.

Is your D. Parker book What Fresh Hell is This?, because that is the bizz.

My D. Parker fave is

I'd like to drink like a lady,
I can have one or two at the most,
At three, I'm under the table,
At four, I'm under the host.

ToneMasterTone said...

Tsiolkas's prose is right hackery.

First two sentences:

‘No! No no no no no!’ It was as if the child had become lost in the very
word, as if all the world was contained in the screaming of this one negative syllable.

"Lost in the very word" and "all the world was contained in the screaming of this one negative syllable" is faux profundity at its finest -- the kind of thing you read in terrible books but if you heard someone actually say the words, you'd laugh out loud.

Reminds me of the classic Harrison Ford quip to George Lucas during Star Wars: "George, you can type this shit, but you sure as hell can't say it."

Mr E Discharge said...

faux profundity at its finest

Deftly put and Deeply ironic.

Melbourne Girl said...

It is indeed 'What Fresh Hell...' Ramon. And it is the bizz.

Puss In Boots said...

I recently read "Sarah's Key" while trying to keep myself occupied on Bora Bora, and I swear to fsm it was one of the most poorly written books I've ever come across. The concept was good (France's president's involvement in the holocaust, as well as the French police involvement), so it was quite a shame.

I haven't read or watched The Slap. Something about the title just makes me want to steer clear.