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An unsettling, brilliant novel about the truths and lies of mythology and history from the acclaimed author of The Slap.

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 . . .

Now a major motion picture released by Paramount and Transmission films.


A novel of the most astonishing and disturbing eloquence ... shocking but beautiful.

David Marr, The Sydney Morning Herald

Breathtakingly good. This is Tsiolkas surely making his ascent to the position of one of Australia’s pre-eminent contemporary novelists ... One of his strengths is the ability to reveal gentleness lying where none might be expected. his prose is ... achingly tender and beautiful.

Ian Syson, The Age

Dead Europe sets sharp realism against folk tale and fable, a world of hauntings and curses against a fiercely political potrait of a society. The energy in the writing, the pure fire in the narrative voice and the fearlessness of the tone make the novel immensely readable, as well as fascinating and original, and establish Christos Tsiolkas in the first rank of contemporary novelists.

Colm Toibin

Brilliant ... unsettling ... It can shake you out of complacency, it can make you search your own soul to discover what’s lurking there and what you really believe. And it can radically alter your view of the world ... This blasphemous, disturbing, in-your-face book does all three.

Sara Dowse, The Canberra Times

Bold, gripping and deeply disturbing ... The energy, the furious - even poisoned - drive that propels this novel is thrilling. As a meditation on the corrosive, consuming power of hatred, it is convincing and compelling. It is also a deeply political novel; about those beliefs we accept and those we reject, and how little our positions regarding them really matter. It’s a very modern ghost story that’s haunting and haunted.

Australian Book Review

Confronting, challenging and impossible to put down ... If you’re tired of the comforting, tidy views of most contemporary fiction, you can’t go past Dead Europe. In a word, it’s deadly.

Sally Blakeney, The Bulletin

New Australia simply needs more A-grade writers like Tsiolkas.

Natasha Cica, The Australian

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 1, 2005

    Vintage Australia

    432 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    March 1, 2011

    RHA eBooks Adult

    426 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Christos Tsiolkas

The Jesus Man


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Best Laid Plans
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
Fool Me Once
Private Delhi
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Swing Time
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Girls
The Mistress
The Bone Collection
Cold Blood
Fifty Shades Darker
The Trip of a Lifetime