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|Print List Price:||£8.99|
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A Fraction Of The Whole Kindle Edition
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|Length: 732 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
A Fraction of the Whole is great, though ultimately not perfect, and that is actually a significant part of its endless charm. It's a tall, even shaggy, story of young Australian men with a surfeit of character, butting against a normal world that can't cope with their intelligence, and won't accept their outsider status. The first part of the book covers the young criminal career of the Ned Kelly-alike anti-hero, Terry, seen through the eyes of his quiet, sickly brother, Martin. It then goes on to follow a young adult Martin travelling to Paris, events we see as his son Jasper reads a diary Martin wrote at the time. This peek inside Martin's mind shows us what an original viewpoint Steve Toltz has created: a mind that drifts free of convention and muses on the world in a dark, unpleasant way that most people would prefer to pretend was unique to Martin, but in fact is likely just how we all think about things when the lights are off. It's hard to take in places, but is nearly always very funny, and the humour-coated pills are sometimes too easy to swallow, as you find yourself agreeing with the lunatic at the centre of the story.
It's very hard to give a rounded picture of Toltz's debut, because it is so different from most new novels, and that's to its credit. It did remind me of the comic, digressive novel that came out last year, by Millard Kaufman, ...Read more ›
'A Fraction of the Whole' is, almost unbelievably, the debut novel from Steve Toltz. He writes with such enthusiasm, skill and draw that it was like reading the work of an old friend who had written this amazingly brilliant, totally messed up, mind bending story just for me. Toltz absolutely sucks you in to the world of Martin and Jasper Dean. As I said, I received the books Saturday morning and struggled to come up for air until finishing on Sunday evening. I was well and truly trapped in the book even when not reading. Such is the power!
The book is written from two points of view, that of Martin Dean (Australia's most successful failure, paranoid philosopher and overall machine like genius) and that of his son Jasper (the boy scared of being the mirror image of the Father but who is ultimately fulfilling the fear). The plot has many twists and turns which it would be really unfair of me to reveal here, but basically there are two themes:
Martin blames everything in his life on the fact that his brother Terry is Australia's most violent and most loved criminal. Martin has lived in Terry's substantial shadow for his entire life and fails to realise that it is entirely of his own making, and his brother is only that man because of decisions made by Martin himself.Read more ›
I cannot lend this to any friends becasue I'll probably want to read it again very soon and stop and think properly about some of the philosphical aspects.
It's a bit of a tome - some 700 pages - but I could have easily read more. It was hilarious in many parts and really laugh out loud stuff! Very original, fantastic and immense plot, funny and life enhancing - what more can we ask for?!
My only concern about this book - is how on earth it could be followed up?! Good luck Mr Toltz!
The bulk of the story is told by Australian Jasper Dean whose uncle is a notorious folk hero/criminal called Terry and whose self-pitying father Martin (Martin Dean... geddit?) has lived his entire life in Terry's shadow, even long after his death.
The story is partially told from Martin's point of view and so we get to see three generations of the Dean family, grandparents, parents and child. And what a messed up family it is. It seems nothing Martin does ever works out well despite his best intentions.
The humour is uniformly arid throughout and while not a laugh a minute I was regularly chuckling to myself.
Now here we get to the bad points. This is ultimately a book about books and possibly even a book about how the love of books is no excuse for not living your life in the real world. It's one of those novels that gives itself a sheen of intellectualism by quoting from a lot of very smart people's books. This is no bad thing really and actually led me to look at a number of the titles quoted, most of which it turns out are probably too heavy for me to get into. Still, it does no harm to look.
The other main problem is that although the half dozen or so main character have diverse outlooks and backgrounds they do all seem to talk with a very similar "voice". There are also some over-long stream of consciousness rants that can be hit or miss.
Overall I can't recommend this book highly enough. Unlike a lot of modern higher brow fiction the last book even manages to wrap up most of the story with just enough of a loose end to not rule out a sequel but don't let that dissuade you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A long but worthy read. Strange adventures of an Australian family over the years...thoroughly engrossing.Published 5 days ago by GeeBee
This book was great. As others have said, it's long but it never feels heavy going amd it had lots of laugh out loud moments. I've really enjoyed reading it.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Third of the way through and loving it. Great story line and wonderful analogies.Published 3 months ago by Jdwoodhouse
Quite simply brilliant. A weird and wonderful story full of sadness, charm, wackiness, tragedy, farce and intelligence. It's really a very moral tale about being human. Read morePublished 4 months ago by coffee app member
Wise, witty and funny, Toltz manages to make us like some deeply unlike able characters. The book is like three novels in one.Published 5 months ago by kitty fisher
I was entertained by this. It's interesting enough and I found it mildly funny in parts. Came to view it as a dark comedy and that let me live with the hugely pessimistic aspects... Read morePublished 7 months ago by M. King
Unfortunately this huge book wasn't for me so I stopped reading it after a few chapters. I found it well enough written but couldn't bear the thought of reading so many pages and... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Androo
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