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A Fraction of the Whole (2008)

by Steve Toltz

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,725707,419 (3.9)133
Martin Dean spent his entire life analyzing absolutely everything, from the benefits of suicide to the virtues of strip clubs, and passing on his self-taught knowledge to his son Jasper. But now that his father's dead, Jasper can fully reflect on the man who raised him in intellectual captivity, and the irony is this: their's was a great adventure. As he recollects the extraordinary events that led to his father's demise, Jasper recounts a boyhood of outrageous schemes and shocking discoveries; about his infamous criminal uncle, his mysteriously absent mother, and Martin's constant battle to leave his mark on the world.… (more)
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English (64)  Dutch (5)  German (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Certainly not as rip-roaringly hilarious as many of the reviews I've read suggested-maybe it's my sense of humour! There were parts of this book-generally the beginning and the end that I would award 4 stars. They moved along at a pace, there was excitement, surprises and humour and I felt empathy with the characters. However a huge section in the middle took it down in this reader's eyes to two stars. The very same characters irritated me, the pace was slow and the tone depressing. Glad I didn't give up on it though-worth sticking out to the end-and some interesting reflections on the human condition. ( )
  Patsmith139 | Mar 15, 2021 |
Wonderful. Uproarious. Captivating.
Why don’t more people discuss Toltz when they discuss pivotal Australian novelists? ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
A very funny, fast-paced Australian novel that brims with interesting philosophical ideas. Wanes a little at the end, but a joy nonetheless. ( )
  ephemeral_future | Aug 20, 2020 |
I loved this book so much it is ridiculous. ( )
  jasbathehutt | Jul 30, 2020 |
The Fraction of the Whole failed for me. The reasons remain unclear. Perhaps it is a younger soul's predilection, like skinny jeans. Novels which yearn to be hilarious seldom are, at least to me. This was a lasagna of philosophical rant larded with jokes and asides. It didn't bake well in my presence. Perhaps it is a longwinded Candide for the Oz set. The characters all possessed identical voices and the contrivance of the project induced groans. I remain both uncertain and unmoved. There is a relief that it is over.

Likely a 2.5. Rounded downward to reflect my mood. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
I'm sorry if I'm beginning to make it sound a bit rollicking. The stories, in fact, follow a pattern: they are almost all tales of good intentions with catastrophic results, such as the suggestion box which Martin installs on the town-hall steps and which at first instils a new sense of purpose and confidence in the community, but quickly brings out the worst in everyone and leads to his brother being sectioned. Taken individually, they're funny; taken together, the unbreakability of the pattern and the inevitability of disaster is heartbreaking.
added by Milesc | editThe Guardian (Jun 21, 2008)
 
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You never hear about a sportsman losing his sense of smell in a tragic accident, and for good reason; in order for the universe to teach excruciating lessons that we are unable to apply in later life, the sportsman must lose his legs, the philosopher his mind, the painter his eyes, the musician his ears, the chef his tongue
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Martin Dean spent his entire life analyzing absolutely everything, from the benefits of suicide to the virtues of strip clubs, and passing on his self-taught knowledge to his son Jasper. But now that his father's dead, Jasper can fully reflect on the man who raised him in intellectual captivity, and the irony is this: their's was a great adventure. As he recollects the extraordinary events that led to his father's demise, Jasper recounts a boyhood of outrageous schemes and shocking discoveries; about his infamous criminal uncle, his mysteriously absent mother, and Martin's constant battle to leave his mark on the world.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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