An unsettling, brilliant novel about the truths and lies of mythology and history from the acclaimed author of THE SLAP.
'Dead Europe sets sharp realism against folk tale and fable, a world of hauntings and curses against a fiercely political portrait of a society. The energy in the writing, the pure fire in the narrative voice and the fearlessness of the tone make the novel immensely readable, as well as fascinating and original, and establish Christos Tsiolkas in the first rank of contemporary novelists.' Colm Toibin
Isaac is a photographer in his mid-thirties, travelling through Europe. It is the post-Cold War Europe of a united currency, illegal immigration and of a globalised homogenous culture. In his mother's mountain village he encounters a Balkan vampire. Subsequently, as his journey continues across Italy, Eastern Europe and Britain he discovers that ghosts keep appearing in the photographs he takes, providing clues to a family secret and tragedy.
Parallel to Isaac's story we are in the Greece of World War II. A peasant family is asked to provide protection to a Jewish boy fleeing the Germans. It is this boy who will become the vampire. From the mountains of Greece to the inner-city streets of 1960s Melbourne, we trace the journey of this malevolent force as it feeds on generation after generation of Isaac's family, seeking revenge and justice.
FROM CHRISTOS TSIOLKAS:
'In attempting to trace back through the mythologies, lies and truths of history, I want to examine how the legacies of the past still actively disturb our sleep in the present. Isaac's story is written in a contemporary idiom, in the first person, as he reflects on his alienation from Europe, on what it means to be an artist, to be a man in love, to be an ethical human in a supposedly post-ideological age...I am also attempting to understand the longest standing of all European racial legacies: anti-Semitism. The vampire is not only the restless spirit of a dead boy. It is also the golem, the Christ Killer, the killer of children. It is this legacy that Isaac must face.…
Reading Group Book Questions
* 'Dead Europe sets sharp realism against folk tale and fable, a world of hauntings and curses against a fiercely political potrait of a society. The energy in the writing, the pure fire in the narrative voice and the fearlessness of the tone make the novel immensely readable, as well as fascinating and original, and establish Christos Tsiolkas in the first rank of contemporary novelists.'
Colm Toibin , author of The Master
“ A novel of the most astonishing and disturbing eloquence ... shocking but beautiful.”
David Marr, Sydney Morning Herald
“Breathtakingly good. This is Tsiolkas surely making his ascent to the position of one of Australia’s pre-eminent contemporary novelists ... One of his strengths is the ability to reveal gentleness lying where none might be expected. his prose is ... achingly tender and beautiful.”
Ian Syson, The Age
“Brilliant ... unsettling ... It can shake you out of complacency, it can make you search your own soul to discover what’s lurking there and what you really believe. And it can radically alter your view of the world ... This blasphemous, disturbing, in-your-face book does all three.”
Sara Dowse, The Canberra Times
“Bold, gripping and deeply disturbing ... The energy, the furious - even poisoned - drive that propels this novel is thrilling. As a meditation on the corrosive, consuming power of hatred, it is convincing and compelling. It is also a deeply political novel; about those beliefs we accept and those we reject, and how little our positions regarding them really matter. It’s a very modern ghost story that’s haunting and haunted.”
Australian Book Review
“Confronting, challenging and impossible to put down ... If you’re tired of the comforting, tidy views of most contemporary fiction, you can’t go past DEAD EUROPE. In a word, it’s deadly.” Sally Blakeney, The Bulletin
“New Australia simply needs more A-grade writers like Tsiolkas.”
Natasha Cica, The Australian
Number Of Pages: 432
Published: 1st June 2005
Publisher: Random House Australia
Dimensions (cm): 12.5 x 19.7 x 3.1
Weight (kg): 0.292