SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian book which sparked heated discussions at book clubs across Australia has emerged as the best seller from the longlist for this year's prestigious Man Booker prize.
"The Slap" by Christos Tsiolkas, a best-seller in Australia since its 2008 publication, sold more than 5,000 copies in the first week of August after being named among the 13 novels in the prize's longlist, according to Nielsen BookScan figures.
The book intertwines the stories narrated by various characters after a guest at a suburban barbecue hits a three-year-old child who is not his own.
All the characters were guests at the barbecue in the city of Melbourne and the novel takes on themes such as infidelity, loyalty, misogyny, domestic violence, racism and envy.
"The Slap," which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2009, sold three and a half times more books than the second most popular on the list, Emma Donoghue's "Room."
But The Bookseller said the sales of the 13 books on this year's longlist were the strongest since 2001.
Other books on the Booker longlist include Peter Carey's "Parrot and Olivier in America," Paul Murray's "Skippy Dies," and David Mitchell's "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet."
The Booker shortlist will be unveiled on September 7 with the winner announced October 12. The winner receives 50,000 pounds and the six shortlisted authors, including the winner, receive 2,500 pounds and a designed bound edition of their shortlisted book.
Last year's winner was Hilary Mantel with the historical novel "Wolf Hall."
Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith