Read The In-Between by Christos Tsiolkas

The tender, sensual and moving new novel from the award-winning and bestselling author of The Slap and Damascus. A compelling contemporary love story between two middle-aged men, told with grace, heart and wisdom.

No life is simple, and no life is without sorrow. No life is perfect.

Two middle-aged men meet on an internet date. Each has been scarred by a previous relationship; each has his own compelling reasons for giving up on the idea of finding love.

But still they both turn up for the dinner, feel the spark and the possibility of something more. Feel the fear of failing again, of being hurt and humiliated and further annihilated by love.

How can they take the risk of falling in love again. How can they not?

A tender, affecting novel of love, of hope, of forgiveness by one of our most fearless and truthful interpreters of the human heart, the acclaimed bestselling author of The Slap and Damascus.

I wrote a longer response to The In-Between here.


Christos Tsiolkas’s ‘The In-Between’ (Review)

Though of course plenty of writers can supply the smaller details, what makes Tsiolkas exceptional is his ability to show how excessive and unstable our senses are, how we never just enjoy our perceptions in some benign way, but find them turning continuously into greed, and then shame, and then greed again.

Source: Christos Tsiolkas’s ‘The In-Between’ (Review) by Sean O’Beirne

What we want is always irresponsible, or immoral, or impossible.

Source: Christos Tsiolkas’s ‘The In-Between’ (Review) by Sean O’Beirne

The middle-class, left-liberal, virtue-signalling people who will mostly read this book (and I include myself in this) do badly need to be told a story about how many problems won’t have a solution, exactly, and how much insane desire lies in every human heart.

Source: Christos Tsiolkas’s ‘The In-Between’ (Review) by Sean O’Beirne

Christos Tsiolkas The In-Between

There’s a trick Christos Tsiolkas does in his eighth novel, The In-Between. At several points in the action, as the central drama plays out in the foreground, the focus drifts away. Tsiolkas brings our attention instead to a passing youth on the street or the gaze of another commuter.
Despite these glances away, The In-Between is an intensely interior book with Tsiolkas’s trademark unflinching intimacy and access to the thoughts, fears, rages and lusts of his characters. It makes these other moments all the more acute when they occur. They offer us an external view of proceedings, giving us the distance to see our protagonists afresh

Source: Christos Tsiolkas
The In-Between
by Michael Williams

Christos Tsiolkas’ new novel The In-Between

An idea is louder than snoring

Source: Christos Tsiolkas’ new novel The In-Between – ABC Listen by ABC Radio Melbourne

What I want from fiction is that it sets up questions.

Source: Christos Tsiolkas’ new novel The In-Between – ABC Listen by ABC Radio Melbourne

Fiction puts you in shoes that are not comfortable.

Source: Christos Tsiolkas’ new novel The In-Between – ABC Listen by ABC Radio Melbourne

Read Barracuda

Fourteen-year-old Daniel Kelly is special. Despite his upbringing in working-class Melbourne, he knows that his astonishing ability in the swimming pool has the potential to transform his life. Everything Danny has ever done, every sacrifice his family has ever made, has been in pursuit of this dream–but what happens when the talent that makes you special fails you? When the goal that you’ve been pursuing for as long as you can remember ends in humiliation and loss?

Twenty years later, Dan is in Scotland, terrified to tell his partner about his past, afraid that revealing what he has done will make him unlovable. Haunted by shame, Dan relives the intervening years he spent in prison, where the optimism of his childhood was completely foreign.

Although I had seen and enjoyed the television adaptations of both The Slap and Barracuda, I had never actually read any of Christos Tsiolkas’ novels. I was partly inspired after listening to Tsiolkas in conversation with Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens, also Barracuda was the only novel available on

The novel revolves around Daniel Kelly, the son of working class Scots-Irish and Greek parents who gains a scholarship to a prodigious private school because of his swimming abilities, but fails to make it to the Olympics.

Where The Slap had an ensemble cast and Tolstoy-esque ambitions — it sought to render the whole milieu of the multiethnic, suburban Melbourne that is Tsiolkas’s heartland — Barracuda trains its sights firmly on Danny Kelly. Even so, all the characters are vividly drawn.

Mark Lawson on language:

Tsiolkas’s sometimes startling dialogue is part of his mission – along with explicit descriptions of urination, defecation and ejaculation – to set down the texture of how people really live and speak. His characters have a visceral credibility rare in fiction.

There is something strangely engaging about this novel in the way that the problem is referenced early on, the rest of the time we bounce between a before and after, piecing things together. For me, every choice that Dan Kelly makes comes with its own set of consequences. Although we get some sort of resolution in the end, when Kelly gives a gift back to his family, this does not necessarily remedy all of life’s ills, nor does it break free of the restraints placed on us by society.