And for Most Incessant, Boring Sex In A Book I nominate . . .

(24 Posts)

The Slap.

Now, I'm no prude. I love David Sedaris, for instance. Engaging, provoking obscenity, erotic obscenity, obscenity that's a vital part of a story: bring it on. But I have never read anything containing so much boring obscenity as The Slap. I've given up in the face of an endless roster of narratively pointless swearing, hard-ons, breast-stroking, pubes, balls, bellies and holes, all associated with the most unsympathetic cast of characters I've yet had the bad luck to encounter.

Here is quick precis of some of the notable phrases of Chapter 1 [apologies in advance]:

sweet young cunt/piss/pervert/sluttish/slow, easy, delightful sex/thick limp cock/fucking lying prick/round, tantalisingly small buttocks/her insistent stare aroused him/he masturbated furiously/his cock was hard and he took one of her hands and placed it on his crotch/soft, spare bristles of Connie's cunt/stiffening, obliging nipple/fucked for ages.

That's Chapter 1. The rest of the book is the same, if not more incessant. Now, in the hands of some writers, this would read like pure poetry. But in the hands of this writer, it's just insanely dull. I'm left wondering how much plot would be left if you took all the shagging and dick references out. About enough to fill a couple of hundred pages, I reckon.

If it was just a bonk-buster, OK. But its cover describes it as 'one of the truly great novels of the new millennium', leaving me baffled and not a little depressed.

Am I alone? Or did everyone else love it?

JimmyCorkhill Thu 10-Jul-14 13:37:32

I loved it, and I loved the tv adaptation too but I am in the complete minority on Mumsnet. There have been a few threads about how much people hate this book grin

I loved it too.

ReluctantCamper Thu 10-Jul-14 13:40:05

loved it I'm afraid

Isthiscorrect Thu 10-Jul-14 13:42:06

We read this for book club and interestingly everyone hated it except the Aussies. Group of about 12 and 4 Aussies.

Ah, sorry to bring up an old topic Jimmy. I didn't see the other threads.

I know lots of people loved it, so no need to apologise, those that did! It's just baffled me.

isthis: I did wonder whether it was, partly, cultural. That the crudity might be a deliberate exaggeration of some aspects of Aussie life.

For me, it just stood between me and immersing myself in the book. There were some really interesting themes about parenting, the emotional inheritance passed on by families, violence, dependency, race and religion . . . which were incessantly interrupted by descriptions of tits, dissertations on guys' dicks and sex with shampoo bottles. I just got tired of it in the end.

I gave up on p316, the bit where the elderly Greek man is talking about 'pulling his shameful half-erect cock to a pathetic small spatter of a climax'.

Life's too short.

MrsDavidBowie Thu 10-Jul-14 14:11:12

I loved it too JimmyCorkhill.
And Brookside.

JimmyCorkhill Thu 10-Jul-14 22:09:16

MrsDavidBowie Thanks <preens>. T'was the best soap EVER! I like your husband too!

Adam I don't mind at all about an old topic being resurrected wink. I just feel like I read a completely different book with the same title as I thought it was a gripping read!

AnyFucker Thu 10-Jul-14 22:13:41

I gave up on this crappy book after the first chapter

Jubelteen Thu 10-Jul-14 22:23:36

I hated this book so much, I read it years ago and can still remember the bit about the young randy Greek one (forget his name) pressing his bits against the glass on the balcony whilst having a coffee or a fag in the middle of the day - Yuk.
Even worse than some chaise longue sniffing in The Corrections - bleurgh.
I hate stuff like this in books, you feel like a perv recommending it to friends if the story as a whole was good.

Yeah, I know what you mean David! I feel the same, but from the other side of the opinion divide. It does seem to be a Marmite situation.

I just didn't like, or even recognise, anybody in the book. I couldn't give a fig what happened to them.

jubelteen: chaise longue sniffing! grin I haven't read The Corrections, but I nearly bought it at the same time as The Slap.

The thing you need to remember about that lovely scene with the glass balcony is that at the time, he's staring at some teenage girls, mentally calling them 'bitches' and 'whores' and imagining sodomising them.

I should have given up at that point too.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Fri 11-Jul-14 22:47:58

The book made me angry, waste of time with no likeable characters at all, the drama was even worse. It made me want to slap all of them!

LovelyMarchHare Fri 11-Jul-14 22:53:44

Just out of interest why did David Sedaris get a name check? I don't know him as especially explicit ..... Is there a sub-genre I don't know about. I always think of him as an elf or trying to l learn French or buy Hugh a strange birthday gift.

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 11-Jul-14 22:57:14

I think I got halfway through second chapter and said life was too short

Brices Fri 11-Jul-14 23:17:01

I was pleased the masturbation in the toilet scene was early on, then I could make my mind up quickly, not the novel for me.
Scene with John Cleese as Robin Hood in film Time Bandits, he says, emphatically "What Awful People!" Summed up the characters, in the bit I did read anyway

Lovely, I'm thinking 'My Manuscript' [from Barrel Fever], 'Blood Work' [in Dress Your Family], 'Road Trips' [in When You Are Engulfed In Flames] . . . but you're right, he's not an explicit writer, he's a writer who covers a lot of dark territory and shocking themes, but in an utterly charming and humane way.

Pretty much the opposite of Christian Tsiolkas.

shouldbeelsewhere Sun 13-Jul-14 15:06:52

The trouble with The Slap, I thought was that it felt like the actual slap wasn't as big a part of the plot as it should have been. Instead it just meandered a lot and didn't do much.

SarahAndFuck Sun 13-Jul-14 19:09:09

I liked The Slap but the miserable sex was joyless, nasty and never-bloody-ending.

The book was better second-time around but the sex was still depressing.

I liked Anouk and whatshisname, the teenage boy. And mostly I liked Aisha, except when I didn't.

GoodArvo Sun 13-Jul-14 21:46:25

I agree with you OP. The sex was unpleasant and that deep throat scene was particularly vile.

I used to live in Australia and the racist language in the book was fairly realistic though.

It's one of only a handful of books I've never finished.

Boring boring boring.

JimmyCorkhill Mon 14-Jul-14 12:56:39

I'm happy to be in my minority! I found it to be one of those books that stays with you. I find I think about it every now and again. On my 2nd read I changed my mind about some of the characters. I hated Rosie at first but really sympathised with her on the second read. I loved the part from the Grandad's point of view, I know little about Australia's history. I thought the casting for the tv show was fantastic. I went back and read each character's chapter after watching.

SarahAndFuck Mon 14-Jul-14 13:33:24

JimmyCorkhill I think you and I read the book in very similar ways both times.

I completely hated Rosie first time around. I had far more sympathy with her the second time but still at the end I didn't like her. She would have been a very draining friend. I had every sympathy for her genuine need, but far too little patience for her passivity and drama.

I liked the Grandad as well, he was interesting.

And the TV show casting was almost perfect. I think they got Aisha wrong, or at least they didn't keep her true to the book and she wasn't as described.

bunnybing Sat 19-Jul-14 13:29:42

I liked it - yes there are a lot of unpleasant characters but it was an interesting read.
Bodies (which I think the tv series was based on) was full off diabolically written sex including one line where a woman's breasts were compared with seals basking on rocks

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