An unsettling, brilliant novel about the truths and lies of mythology and history from the acclaimed author of The Slap.
Isaac is a photographer in his mid-30, 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...