In this episode of Life & Faith Christos Tsiolkas, author of provocative and disturbing stories like ‘The Slap’ and ‘Barracuda’, speaks with Simon Smart about his latest novel, Damascus. Tsiolkas grew up in a Greek Orthodox family – his Mum a devoted believer – but as a young gay man, Tsiolkas felt he could not reconcile faith with his sexuality. He has had a life-long wrestle with the Apostle Paul. At a time of deep personal despair in his 20s he came back to reading Paul and what he found was “solace, compassion and understanding.”
Tsiolkas says he no longer believes the central myths of Christianity but retains a deep interest in its influence and central concepts. His book is confronting and controversial—extremely so in parts. But it provides a compelling and stunning imaginative life in the 1st century Graeco-Roman world and what happened when that world collided with the teachings of an obscure Jewish Rabbi, who’d been executed on a Roman cross.