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A Fraction of the Whole (unabridged audio book) Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 171 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 21 pages
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audio Books; Unabridged audio book. 21 CDs. edition (1 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140743215X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407432151
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 5.8 x 13.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 848,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Brilliantly read by both actors to make you mourn as much as laugh, this David Copperfield Down Under on speed with son is an epic in every sense, including length. But don't be tempted, even if there is one, to get an abridged version. Every macabre detail, every chaotic incident, every wisecrack is an essential fraction of the whole. Heartfelt thanks to Whole Story Audio Books for getting this and half the other 2008 Booker shortlist out so quickly. To cut a single sentence would be criminal. -- --Sue Arnold, The Guardian

Utterly brilliant. --The Times

A grand achievement and the debut of a great comic talent... go away and read it. --The Sunday Times

About the Author

Steve Toltz was born in Sydney. After graduating from Newcastle University in 1994, he has lived in Sydney, Montreal, Vancouver, Barcelona and Paris, working primarily as a screenwriter and freelance writer, but also doing stints as both a private investigator and an English teacher. A Fraction of the Whole is his debut novel.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm not sure why, but I can't quite bring myself to give this five stars, but rest assured my four are big, heavy, glistening stars. Imagine them like the matching oiled pectorals on two tan-addicted steroidal gym monkeys, striding along a British beach on our long, glorious day (singular) of summer.

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,
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By Cat Mac VINE VOICE on 31 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I received this book on Saturday morning for reviewing, and opened the box to find that the novel had been split into 3 separate 250-page books. I thought this a nice touch, if a little quirky, and I was wrong to assume the quirky fun ended there.

'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.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this on a whim (in fact I barely looked beyond the front cover) and wasn't particularly looking forward to reading it. I was UTTERLY wrong. This is probably the best book I've ever read. In fact take all the books I've ever read, add them all together and it probably just about matches how good this book is! One of the reviews says that "It gives off the unmistakeable whiff of a book that might just contain the secret of life.". I agree with this whole heartedly. Such is the authors expertise at observing the vagueries of human existence, the pointlessness of many of the things we try to achieve and just how funny it all is, that I was completely enthralled.
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!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Up front I'm going to tell you that I loved this book! It's not without flaws but once I started reading I was compulsive about spending time with it whenever I could. A single novel spread over three books is a nice gimmick and a far more comfortable way to read a long book than when it's a single big book.

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.
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