Christos Tsiolkas
AUD $22.99

Tender and brutal and blazingly brilliant, the new novel from the acclaimed author of the international bestseller The Slap takes an unflinching look at modern Australia - at our hopes and dreams, our friendships and our families - and asks what it means to be a good person, and what it takes to become one.

He asked the water to lift him, to carry him, to avenge him. He made his muscles shape his fury, made every stroke declare his hate. And the water obeyed; the water would give him his revenge. No one could beat him, no one came close.

His whole life, Danny Kelly's only wanted one thing: to win Olympic gold. Everything he's ever done-every thought, every dream, every action-takes him closer to that moment of glory, of vindication, when the world will see him for what he is: the fastest, the strongest and the best. His life has been a preparation for that moment.

His parents struggle to send him to the most prestigious private school with the finest swimming program; Danny loathes it there and is bullied and shunned as an outsider, but his coach is the best and knows Danny is, too, better than all those rich boys, those pretenders. Danny's win-at-all-cost ferocity gradually wins favour with the coolest boys-he's Barracuda, he's the psycho, he's everything they want to be but don't have the guts to get there. He's going to show them all.

He would be first, everything would be alright when he came first, all would be put back in place. When he thought of being the best, only then did he feel calm.

Should we teach our children to win, or should we teach them to live? How do we make and remake our lives? Can we atone for our past? Can we overcome shame? And what does it mean to be a good person?

A searing and provocative novel by the acclaimed author of the international bestseller The Slap, Barracuda is an unflinching look at modern Australia, at our hopes and dreams, our friendships, and our families. It is about class and sport and politics and migration and education. It contains everything a person is: family and friendship and love and work, the identities we inhabit and discard, the means by which we fill the holes at our centre. Barracuda is brutal, tender and blazingly brilliant; everything we have come to expect from this fearless vivisector of our lives and world.

Author bio:

Christos Tsiolkas is the author of four novels: Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. He won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and won the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal for his novel, The Slap, which was also announced as the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne.

Category: Fiction
ISBN: 9781760291358
Awards: Winner Melbourne Prize for Literature 2021 AU; Long-listed International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2015 IR; Short-listed The Voss Literary Prize (inaugural) 2014 AU; Short-listed Indie Awards, Fiction prize 2014 AU; Short-listed ALS Gold Medal 2014 au
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: September 2015
Page Extent: 528
Format: Paperback - B format
Age: 0 - 0
Subject: Fiction & related items


Reading group notes


Praise for Barracuda

'After the success of 2008's The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas could be excused for feeling he had nothing more to prove. Perhaps though it was that completely unexpected good fortune that planted one of the seeds for Barracuda, surely his most personal and heartfelt book to date, and I think his most accomplished. ... Our world has been Tsiolkasised. On the strength of Barracuda, there is not a more important writer working in Australia today.' - read the full review by Martin Shaw at Books+Publishing

'Christos Tsiolkas' latest book is his best yet.' - read the full review at Arts Hub

'... more proof that Tsiolkas is a master chronicler of the zeitgeist.' - read the full review by Mary Kostakidis in The Guardian

'This is Tsiolkas's fifth novel, and I think his best so far. It's as if every time he writes a book he strips away another layer from not only our national self, but from the reader personally. I look forward to them like the birth of a child, and this one – after five years – is perfectly formed.' - read the full review by Annette Hughes at the Newtown Review of Books

'If, as I suspect, Tsiolkas is still striving towards his own imaginary Olympics, struggling with his own ambition and the sources of that ambition, then Barracuda shows not just brilliant form but philosophical reach.' - read the full review by Jennifer Mills at Overland

'I read it a couple of weeks ago and I can't stop thinking about it. I can't stop talking about it either but I am struggling to choose my adjectives, because all the ones I want to use sound like impossibly overblown hyperbole. Also, the kinds of words I am tempted to use are "visceral", "heartbreaking", and "searing" which make it sound like a difficult and dreary read when in fact it is so vibrant and tender and beautiful that I couldn't get enough of it. Never have I been more glad that a book was over 500 pages long.' - read the full review at The Girl Booker

'Tsiolkas is better than anyone else writing in Australia today at thinking about the affective pull and the sharp edges of communities: ethnicity, family, friendship, class, nation.' - read the full review by Julieanne Lamond at the Sydney Review of Books

UK praise for Barracuda

'Tsiolkas writes with compelling clarity about the primal stuff that drives us all: the love and hate and fear of failure. He is also brilliant on the nuances of relationships. Some of the scenes in this novel about the hurt human beings inflict on each other are so painful that they chill the blood. At times, the prose is near to poetry... There are shades of Faulkner in this brilliant, beautiful book. If it doesn't make you cry, you can't be fully alive.' - Sunday Times

'By page 70 I realised that I was reading something epic and supremely accomplished. Thereafter, I found myself more and more admiring of the subtle, profoundly human way that Tsiolkas was handling his subject. And I finished Barracuda on a high: moved, elated, immersed...This is the work of a superb writer who has completely mastered his craft but lost nothing of his fiery spirit in so doing. It is a big achievement.' - Guardian

'This involving and substantial tale - surprisingly tender for all its sweary shock-value - is carried swiftly along by Tsiolkas's athletic, often lyrical prose.' - Daily Mail

'Masterful, addictive, clear-eyed storytelling about the real business of life: winning and losing.' - Viv Groskop, Red Online

'The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas's bestselling previous novel declared "Welcome to Australia in the early 21st century." The same semi-ironic sentiment echoes throughout Barracuda, which is, if anything, an even greater novel... It may tell an old, old story, but it has rarely been told in a better way.' - Telegraph

Read an excerpt


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