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Merciless Gods by Christos Tsiolkas

Merciless Gods

by Christos Tsiolkas

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204515,329 (3.75)3



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A bunch of short stories from Tsolkas. He is rather merciless, brutal and likes to shock with his words. He is honest in his words. He writes beauty in darkness.

Here are some short thoughts about all the short ones:

Merciless Gods
Friends tel lings revenge stories to each other. Interesting, revenge is always good to read about,

Tourists in NY. The couple fight and feel lost. I did not understand the woman...

The hair of the dog
A man thinks about his mother. She wrote freaky books.

This one was, well it was just an inner monologue (mostly).

Hung phat
I get it now. Most are short insights into lives. Normal, but interesting.

Saturn Return
He does like to write about what he knows, Greeks in Australia.

Genetic material
Sometimes these are just weird..good, but weird

Jessica Lange in Frances
And another theme is of course being gay. Knowing you are. Exploring what you might be.

The disco at the end of Communism
A man thinking about the brother he lost

Sticks, stones
A woman wondering if she hates her son

Civil war
White Au against dark AU

The t-shirt with the fist on it
Tourists in the middle east.

Porn 1
A woman finding about her son's secret life

Porn 2
The making of a porno

Porno 3
About a man who thinks loving another man is wrong.

I liked the stories. They were all different, even if the theme behind many were the same. Being Greek, having Immigrant parents and being Gay.

Many times with short stories you are left thinking I want more, in that way that they felt too short, they did not work. But Tsalkos makes his short stories work. He does have that power of putting a story together in a short story, and leaving you satisfied at the end. ( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
Not nearly as good as I had hoped it would be. The author does a much better job when he writes long stories. Even the title story which had a very good build up, failed to deliver by the end. I still really like this author. ( )
  zmagic69 | Dec 8, 2015 |
As most people know, I am a big fan of transgressive fiction and in Australia there is one author that doesn’t shy away from a touch or taboo subject. This author is Christos Tsiolkas and he is best known for his two recent novels The Slap and Barracuda. Merciless Gods is his first collection of short stories and deals mainly with sexuality, family and identity.

Author of six novels, Christos Tsiolkas was born in 1965 to Greek immigrant parents. Reading through his novels you quickly get the sense of what it must have been like growing up in suburbia as a Greek immigrant and a homosexual. He likes to explore these themes constantly and you get an idea of just how backwards people’s thinking can be. Then with his breakout novel The Slap, he challenged everyone’s thoughts, tapping into the universal dilemma around discipline and child-rearing.

Merciless Gods seems to be more of a “return to his roots” collection of short stories, which shares similarities with first novel Loaded at any of his other. There is this whole theme about social and personal struggle that play out within these stories. I am impressed with the way Tsiolkas challenges people’s views; particularly when it comes to sexuality and immigrants. There was a particular story that he wrote in Greek and then translated into English that was very powerful.

Christos Tsiolkas has officially become an ‘auto-buy’ author for me now and I will have to read the rest of his backlist sometime soon. Merciless Gods is hard-hitting and not for the faint of heart, he is pushing the boundaries but he does this really well. I am not sure when these stories were originally written, I think that will be interesting to know. However if you have never read this great Australian author, this is probably not the best place to start. Maybe begin with The Slap or Barracuda before working your way up to Loaded and Merciless Gods.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2014/12/13/merciless-gods-by-christos-tsiolkas/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Dec 15, 2014 |
Best known for his most recent novels, The Slap and Barracuda, Merciless Gods is Christos Tsiolkas's first published collection of short stories.

The themes of many of the stories in this collection are strongly connected to Christos's life experiences as a gay man and as the son of (Greek) immigrant parents. Yet they also explore the universal trials of friendship, family relations, love, aging and death.

It is sometimes difficult to see past some of the cruder scenes and language in his stories, which are often unapologetically provocative, brutal and seething, yet it is important to note they are also rarely entirely devoid of tenderness, beauty or humour. I found several stories absolutely compelling including the titular 'Merciless Gods', 'Saturn Return' and 'Sticks, Stones' but 'Porn 1', 'Porn 2' and 'Porn 3' were a bit much for me.

One of the reasons I rarely read short stories is that narrative is often neglected in favour of theme, but that is not the case here. I admire the way in which Tsioklas constructs his stories, creating a complete narrative, with strong characters, in just a few pages.

Not everyone will appreciate, nor stomach, Merciless Gods, it is a collection that seems designed to challenge and shock, but for those readers willing to approach the stories with an open mind, there are rewards to be had. ( )
  shelleyraec | Nov 30, 2014 |
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Love, sex, death, family, friendship, betrayal, tenderness, sacrifice and revelation...

This incendiary collection of stories from acclaimed bestselling international writer Christos Tsiolkas takes you deep into worlds both strange and familiar, and characters that will never let you go.
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