Sunday, May 09, 2010

From The Sunday Times
May 9, 2010

Novel of the year? Get ready for The Slap
Christos Tsiolkas has been plucked from semi-obscurity and set on the literary rock-star track by his fourth novel

Tom Shone
My interview with the novelist Christos Tsiolkas is running a little over time, so he phones down to his hotel room to let his other half know. He pulls out a brand-new mobile phone. “What are they here — cell phones or mobiles?” he asks.
“Cell phones,” I say.
“It’s the first time I’ve had one,” he says.
“Really? How come?”
“Never had much use for one,” he says, dialling. “My publishers gave me this one.”
“Well, you should get pretty good reception up here,” I say, looking around. We are sitting on the roof deck of the Roger Smith Hotel, a quirky boutique hotel on Lexington Avenue, in uptown Manhattan. It is a beautiful sunny day. All around us, skyscrapers soar into the clear blue sky; below can be heard the steady thrum of traffic and the distant wail of a siren.
For a few moments, Tsiolkas is taken aback by the view. “Can you believe it?” he says, shaking his head, then speaks into his phone. “Hey babe, I’m going to be about another 20 minutes late, is that okay?”

Tsiolkas is having quite a few pinch-me moments these days. Until a few months ago, the 44-year-old was working part-time at a veterinary clinic in suburban Melbourne, Australia, administering anaesthetics to whimpering shihtzus. Now he finds himself in the middle of a three-week book tour of America, before moving on to England, then Scotland, plucked from semi-obscurity and set on the literary rock-star track by his fourth novel, The Slap. It has already been published in Australia to great acclaim — Stephen Romei, editor of The Australian Literary Review, called it “a rare quadrella in publishing: a page turner that sells lots of copies, gets great reviews and wins literary awards”.
Tom Stone's full piece at The Sunday Times.

Tsiolkas was one of the starts at last year's AWRF. Read Maggie Rainey-Smith's review of The Slap posted on this blog in May 2009.

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