The In-Between

Christos Tsiolkas

The In-Between
Allen & Unwin
31 October 2023

The In-Between

Christos Tsiolkas

No life is simple, and no life is without sorrow. No life is perfect.

Two middle-aged men meet on an internet date. Each has been scarred by a previous relationship; each has his own compelling reasons for giving up on the idea of finding love.

But still they both turn up for the dinner, feel the spark and the possibility of something more.

Feel the fear of failing again, of being hurt and humiliated and further annihilated by love.

How can they take the risk of falling in love again. How can they not?

A tender, affecting novel of love, of hope, of forgiveness by one of our most fearless and truthful interpreters of the human heart, the acclaimed bestselling author of The Slap and Damascus.


Two middle-aged men, Ivan and Perry, meet up one evening after finding each other on an internet dating site. Both men have been hurt in the past by complicated love, yet they can’t help feeling the spark of possibility. This candid yet tender story explores relationships in their many forms, from fleeting sexual encounters to enduring love; relationships that are passionate but dangerous, and those which are supportive and safe. Importantly, Tsiolkas shows us that although two relationships can be very different, this doesn’t necessarily mean one is more valuable than another.

This novel was my introduction to Christos Tsiolkas, and the story had a profound effect on me. Tsiolkas has an incredible ability to write with both sensitivity and candour, and while there were times when I was taken aback by his raw descriptions of sexuality, I was also really moved by the vulnerability in the writing. The narration switches between the two men throughout the story, and as it progresses, we learn more about their pasts. Interestingly, neither Ivan nor Perry are particularly likeable characters, but what is more important is that they are realistic ones. The men come from different social backgrounds and have separate social circles, therefore they sometimes have conflicting ideas about the world. One scene which really stuck out to me is when a few different characters have a dinner party and, after a few drinks, the topic of conversation inevitably gets heated. It was such a vivid and multifaceted conversation, I was completely immersed. Tsiolkas perfectly captured a situation in which I’m sure we have all been involved before.

This isn’t a simple love story, and it isn’t a particularly beautiful one either, but if you want to read something real, then this is perfect. This is a story about love in its entirety.

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