Friday, May 16, 2014

Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas

Loaded  Loaded was the debut novel of Christos Tsiolkas.  It is an ambitious novel (Novella? It’s quite short) that touches on being the child of immigrants, sexuality, family, and connecting with other people.  It reminded me Catcher in the Rye (with the caveat that it has been a long time since I last read Catcher).  Like Holden Caulfield, Ari has failed out of school (Holden was kicked out), doesn’t have a job, and has no plans to get one. He is pissed off at the world and thinks most people are cowards who have blindly and stupidly bought into the job, mortgage, American capitalism dream or nightmare, depending on one’s perspective.  (I know this takes place in Australia and was written by an Australian author but America is referenced several times.)  Ari doesn’t want that life but he doesn’t yet have the strength to break away from it or know what kind of life he does want.  In the meantime, he spends his time drinking, drugging, and having sex with friends and strangers most of whom are men.  He isn’t about to tell his parents about that last part.  Ari is the son of Greek immigrants and they are angry enough about his lack of schooling, joblessness, partying, and general rejection of their life.

I liked this.  It was short and I wanted more, wanted there to be some sort of resolution.  Then again, the lack of a definitive resolution is probably a more truthful ending.  Tsiolkas is also the author of The Slap and Barracuda which I hope to read in the not too distant future.

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