"The Slapping Man" by Andrew Lindsay. [review - radio script]
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The Slapping Man in Andrew Lindsay’s new novel of the same name is a young man named Ernie living in the seaside town of Salvation – a setting with no definite place or time in the real world. The story is a fable in the post-modern style. It starts with the birth of the hero, his outsize jaw alarming the midwife, and proceeds to tell the story of his short but eventful life. Ernie has trouble finding his vocation, especially after the death by drowning of his parents in his late teens. One day, however, he finds that his enormous jaw is the perfect outlet for the frustrations of his fellow citizens: he is able to sustain their continual slapping and charges a small fee in the marketplace for this service.