Daniel Kelly is a talented swimmer whose ultimate goal is to compete at the Sydney Olympics. A sports scholarship from a prestigious Melbourne private school gives him one chance to escape his working-class background. He knows that his astonishing ability has the potential to transform his life - but the relentless pressures placed upon him,  together with the clash of cultures between different class backgrounds, threatens to derail his dream. Barracuda is a novel about ambition and disillusionment, identity, class, and the cost of success. As mothers, it caused us to reflect that perhaps a child who is average is not such a bad thing. 

Christos Tsiolkas has a very distinct style, which some people – quite understandably – find confronting and provocative. For this reason, our book club was divided over our responses and opinions, with one member vowing never to read Tsiolkas again. But this aside, it’s hard to deny that he writes perceptive, gripping fiction, which reflects our modern, middle-class Australian society in a way no author has done before. We also liked the fact that this book is set in Melbourne. Adapted to an ABC TV series in 2016.

Crabapple Kitchen, Hawthorn

Although not overtly mentioned, we all concluded that Barracuda was set in one of Hawthorn's prestigious private schools. Accordingly, we chose a venue that was in the heart of Glenferrie Road, dining at Crabapple Kitchen for one of their travel-inspired Friday Night Flight dinners. This is one of our favourite day-time cafes, which converts just beautifully into a restaurant at night. The Friday Night Flights are always interesting and cover cuisines from all over the world. Greece was the destination on offer that night, which further aligned with our book choice, given both the author and main character were of Greek heritage. It was a warm Summer night, perfect for dining in the outside courtyard - the setting truly transported us to a Taverna in Athens. Here, we enjoyed 5 courses of Greek deliciousness, including saganaki, fish, Greek salad and baklava. Check out upcoming destinations on their website and enjoy the culinary travels.

Barracuda: A Novel
By Christos Tsiolkas