- Publisher: ATLANTIC BOOKS
- Format: Paperback | 528 pages
- Dimensions: 148mm x 210mm x 43mm | 600g
- Publication date: 1 February 2014
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1782392424
- ISBN 13: 9781782392422
- Sales rank: 5,075
Daniel Kelly, a talented young swimmer, has one chance to escape his working-class upbringing. His astonishing ability in the pool should drive him to fame and fortune, as well as his revenge on the rich boys at the private school to which he has won a sports scholarship. Everything Danny has ever done, every sacrifice his family has ever made, has been in pursuit of his dream. But when he melts down at his first big international championship and comes only fifth, he begins to destroy everything he has fought for and turn on everyone around him. Tender and savage, Barracuda is a novel about dreams and disillusionment, friendship and family. As Daniel Kelly loses everything, he learns what it means to be a good person - and what it takes to become one.
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Christos Tsiolkas is the author of Loaded, The Jesus Man, Dead Europe and The Slap, which won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize 2009 and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. He lives in Melbourne.
By Charlotte Stapf 03 Jun 2014
I wasn't keen on reading anything by Tsiolkas, as the whole controversy around "The Slap" did not inspire me. Barracuda was a Christmas present.
I agree that this is not a book for everyone.
But wow, what a read: the completely flawed protagonist of the book that we somehow end up caring for anyway and writing that is visual and visceral.
The way he describes swimming made me go back to the pool...
I thoroughly enjoyed it, and have bought it for several others since, who shared my enthusiasm.
By Jamie Wright 03 Mar 2014
I enjoyed The Slap, but was disappointed with Barracuda. It started well, with some poetic lines, however had a case of mid-book-slump, and I'm afraid I found it difficult to finish due to the repetition. A good hard edit would have made this talented author's work far more readable. It did, however, unveil some truths about the Australia class system, and the pressure our young athletes find themselves under.
By David Watson 12 Jan 2014
I read it cover to cover in a couple of days - a real page turner. The story is layered and nuanced in a way that pulsates across the pages until the climax and fall out from it. I haven't read The Slap (yet) so I can't compare it to that, but I thought it was a great aussie book.
By David Pagan 24 Dec 2013
I presume that, by reading about 3/4 of this book I am entitled to review it? I found the character of the hero unpleasant, and that makes it difficult to enjoy a book. The author has written in several different time-frames making the book difficult to follow, but even with all this, the self-indulgence of the hero, his obsession with winning, his unpleasantness while he is about it, and his arbitrary-seeming behaviour made me, with relief, put aside the book near the end with no further5 curiosity about the outcome.
Talk about over-hyped! I shall definitely not be reading anything else of this author and that includes 'The Slap'.
By Paul D 15 Dec 2013
Barracuda ÃÆÃÂ¢â¬â Really?
What can I sat about this book? Well it is the first time since I left school with my A level in English Literature that I have really had to force myself to finish a book. I am sure that the anal retentive literary critics will love this book, but the book buying public will not be impressed. This book forced me to read others reviews to see if I was missing something and those who have bought the book regret their purchase and clearly it is not just me that is not impressed with Barracuda. Too start with the prose does not flow it is not easy to read and my personal opinion is that the book could be better with an honest editor who could have dumped about 300 pages and cut out a lot of the repetition. Yes he is a swimmer and we know he feels powerful and a winner in the pool you do not have to keep telling us in every other chapter.
If this book had been shorter it would have been easier to see some of the themes that run through the book such as the examination of class in Australian society. How we all have dreams and the disillusionment that can come through this especially when we manage to screw things up ourselves. There is also an interesting examination of family units and friendships and that it is not until we have lost everything what it really means to be a good person.
If this book had been shorter with less repetition then this would have been a good read rather than a struggle to the end.
Tsiolkas is a master chronicler of the zeitgeist... The words hurtle out as he depicts characters trapped between irreconcilable worlds...Individuals who are intense, complex and flawed but must ultimately cleave towards tenderness and discover generosity. If The Slap was excellent material for a TV series, then Barracuda's more substantial plot has all the hallmarks of a feature film. --Guardian Barracuda is classic Tsiolkas: impassioned, at times brutal...and written with an honesty that can be alarming, but always riveting. It will no doubt divide readers in much the same way that his other novels did. --Sydney Morning Herald After the success of The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas could be excused for feeling he had nothing more to prove. Yet, Barracuda is surely his most personal and heartfelt book to date, and his most accomplished... There is not a more important writer working in Australia today. --Prepublication review, Bookseller & Publisher