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One of our Books of the Year 2014.
After the huge success of his novel The Slap it is often difficult for an author to follow with another as good. Tsiolkas has succeeded in doing just that. Set in Australia and Scotland, the novel explores the problems that arise when an impressionable, working class teenager, Danny, wins a swimming scholarship to a prestigious private school and then doesn’t live up to his expectations. The way the author sets out the chapters in different contexts and times, sometimes using Danny (later Dan) as narrator, is admirable as he tries to make sense of his behaviour and manage his anger. It is a very fine work indeed. Highly recommended.
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Barracuda a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - ''I was gripped by this novel, moved to tears by the end and haunted by the story of Danny Kelly who dared to dream.' Francesca Ashurst.
Scroll down to read more reviews.
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.
Closing date: 29/02/2020
Donna Smith - 'This book has touched me in a way others have not...I believe it will stay with me for a long time...Thank you Christos Tsiolkas for giving the world this book!' Read full review >
Francesca Ashurst - 'I was gripped by this novel, moved to tears by the end and haunted by the story of Danny Kelly who dared to dream.' Read full review >
Barbara Gaskell - 'A book about expectations, ambition, loss and discovery. I was engrossed and found myself emotionally connected with Danny.' Read full review >
Angela Hunt - 'I loved the way the reader is drawn in, slowly at first, then it grabs you. I loved everything about it, good and bad.' Read full review
Beth Townsend - 'Barracuda is an intense, thrilling read that taught me a lot about human nature and the desire to win.' Read full review
Sue Broom - 'A riveting read - the Icarus story for the 21st century and a fascinating portrayal of modern Australia.' Read full review
Margaret Madden - 'Daniel Kelly's Olympic dreams are shattered. One race has changed the course of his life. How can he ever recover from such a loss? The writing in this novel is just simply amazing. ' Read full review
Alan Brown - 'During adolescent change, teenagers are vulnerable. This edgy book highlights a journey to self-destruction of a young man whose well established sporting individuality and identity are threatened.' Read full review
Linda Hill - 'Raw human emotion spirals out of control as Danny Kelly learns what is important in life.' Read full review
Nicola Crisp - 'This book is a fascinating insight into what drives a child to train so hard, how he and his family handle the pressure, and, most interestingly, how they are affected when it all goes wrong.' Read full review
Jane Pepler - 'A stunning book, which leaves you thinking about it long after finishing it... I thought it was fantastic.' Read full review
Katie Hoare - 'Barracuda is a very cleverly written novel by the author of The Slap about a young man wanting to become a swimming superstar. An emotional rollercoaster and gripping read.' Read full review
Sarah Pybus - 'Interesting story, but a potentially irritating protagonist...There is plenty that is good about this novel, so it’s a shame that the main character began to grate on me so much.' Read full review >
Richard Hamlin - 'Barracuda affected me in a number of ways as I read it; it’s intriguing, shocking, violent, tender and at times poignant. It’s a very relevant book.' Read full review >
Sara Fanner - 'For anyone who has ever wanted to win, or been a teenager, or been part of a family, Barracuda is a novel to delight in and be challenged by.' Read full review >
Sarah Harper - 'Barracuda immerses you in the world of competitive swimming as experienced by young Dan. Some of his experiences are unpleasant but compelling none the less. An intense read.' Read full review >
Phyl Smithson - 'powerful, thought provoking, challenging and ultimately, very compelling...Read Barracuda. It’s just too good to miss.' Read full review >
Rachel Hall - 'I found Barracuda to be a compulsive read and was thoroughly surprised by just how moving and emotionally involving I found it to be.' Read full review >
Megan Williams - 'Barracuda is a strongly charged, deeply moving account of one young man’s failure in one small but significant moment of his life and the repercussions this has which echo for years afterwards.' Read full review >
'Tsiolkas writes with compelling clarity about the primal stuff that drives us all: the love and hate and fear of failure... A brilliant, beautiful book. If it doesn't make you cry, you can't be fully alive.' -- Sunday Times
'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
'Terrific' -- Kate Saunders, The Times
'Masterful, addictive, clear-eyed storytelling about the real business of life: winning and losing -- Viv Groskop,' Red Online
'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
'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' -- Sunday Telegraph
'Christos Tsiolkas is in his natural element, with sentences gliding elegantly until the reader is utterly submerged in this absorbing story' -- Metro
'This is a compelling, moving novel about identity, failure and the redemptive power of family' -- Mail on Sunday
Publication date: 19/06/2014
Publisher: Corvus an imprint of Atlantic Books
Publication date: 02/01/2014
Publisher: Atlantic Books
|Publication date:||19th June 2014|
|Publisher:||Corvus an imprint of Atlantic Books|
|Genres:||Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Christos Tsiolkas is the author of four novels: Loaded (filmed as Head-On) The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. The Slap won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize 2009 and was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award and the ALS Gold Medal. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne. Author photo © Zoe AliMore About Christos Tsiolkas