Book Review | Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

Barracuda Review Paige's PagesTITLE: Barracuda
: Christos Tsiolkas
: Allen & Unwin
: November 1, 2013
: Adult Fiction, LGBTQI+
: 516

Undressing cultural taboos, Barracuda is a crucial book for everyday Australians.  Now with a brand new ABC mini-series, I can’t wait for it to rise to the same fame as author Christos Tsiolkas’ controversial novel, The Slap. 

14-year-old Danny is at home in the water.  He is obsessed with being the best swimme at his school and making it to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  Failure is unthinkable.

At least one of the layers of meaning in this book will resonate with you.  Raw and intimate, Barracuda confronts so many sacred topics – racism, immigration, patriotism, family loyalty, domestic violence, mental health, and homosexuality in sport.  Thank God Tsiolkas never shies away from taboo.  His commitment to real issues that matter to current day society brings crucial conversations into the public sphere.

They were the real brain dead.  The ones who  kept screaming, Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi – page 255

Barracuda has a nonlinear narrative that jumps between random points throughout Danny’s life.  Not only does this technique hook us with suspense, but creates a foreboding and retrospective mood.  As a Greek Australian and homosexual, Danny is the perfect lens through which to see the cracks in our society’s friendly façade.  He is a receptacle for the best and worst Aussie society has to offer.  Although this is a big book it’s a compulsive read.

Raw and unforgiving, Barracuda tackles the big issues in Australian culture in the hope of challenging a generation to think differently – a milestone work of Australian literature.  

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