Christos Tsiolkas is starting to gain a reputation as one of Australia’s best known writers. He came to notice for his book Loaded that was adapted into the movie Head On with Alex Dimitriades. But he really took off with The Slap. The book received mixed reviews (most of the negative sentiments were due to the unlikability of the characters) but the TV adaptation was a huge success – and is set to be adapted for a US audience.
Now, he is using the world of professional swimming as backdrop for his new novel, in which the protagonist Danny Kelly battles class prejudice, comes to terms with his sexual orientation, and learns to live with sporting failure.
At the heart of the novel is the question of what it means to be a good person and what it takes to become one. But there is also the relationship between man and water, between Australians and swimming and between competitors in serious racing.
If you’re offended by strong language and confrontational subjects, the book may not be for you. But there are plenty of exciting moments as we follow Danny to the pinnacle of his career, while we ruminate with the older man, now called Dan, as he ponders the mistakes he made and how he could have better dealt with his father and his father figure, the gruff man who saw him at a junior meet and became his driven coach.
Jason Joseph from Queensland won the Giveaway Copy of the book.