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A Fraction of the Whole (2008)

by Steve Toltz

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,791737,856 (3.89)134
Meet the Deans "The fact is, the whole of Australia despises my father more than any other man, just as they adore my uncle more than any other man. I might as well set the story straight about both of them . . ." Heroes or Criminals? Crackpots or Visionaries? Families or Enemies? ". . . Anyway, you know how it is. Every family has a story like this one." Most of his life, Jasper Dean couldn't decide whether to pity, hate, love, or murder his certifiably paranoid father, Martin, a man who overanalyzed anything and everything and imparted his self-garnered wisdom to his only son. But now that Martin is dead, Jasper can fully reflect on the crackpot who raised him in intellectual captivity, and what he realizes is that, for all its lunacy, theirs was a grand adventure. As he recollects the events that led to his father's demise, Jasper recounts a boyhood of outrageous schemes and shocking discoveries--about his infamous outlaw uncle Terry, his mysteriously absent European mother, and Martin's constant losing battle to make a lasting mark on the world he so disdains. It's a story that takes them from the Australian bush to the cafes of bohemian Paris, from the Thai jungle to strip clubs, asylums, labyrinths, and criminal lairs, and from the highs of first love to the lows of failed ambition. The result is a rollicking rollercoaster ride from obscurity to infamy, and the moving, memorable story of a father and son whose spiritual symmetry transcends all their many shortcomings. A Fraction of the Whole is an uproarious indictment of the modern world and its mores and the epic debut of the blisteringly funny and talented Steve Toltz.… (more)
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» See also 134 mentions

English (67)  Dutch (5)  German (1)  All languages (73)
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
I loved these psycho flawed characters so much. ( )
  Saladbar | Nov 6, 2021 |
absolute ripper. 5 bloody stars. ( )
  jaydenmccomiskie | Sep 27, 2021 |
This was the best book I have read this year. Hands down. Read it now. ( )
  Drunken-Otter | Aug 20, 2021 |
great story, I laughed out loud often ( )
  KarynB | Jul 19, 2021 |
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. ( )
1 vote Patsmith139 | Mar 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 67 (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)
 
added by lucyknows | editSCIS
 
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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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Meet the Deans "The fact is, the whole of Australia despises my father more than any other man, just as they adore my uncle more than any other man. I might as well set the story straight about both of them . . ." Heroes or Criminals? Crackpots or Visionaries? Families or Enemies? ". . . Anyway, you know how it is. Every family has a story like this one." Most of his life, Jasper Dean couldn't decide whether to pity, hate, love, or murder his certifiably paranoid father, Martin, a man who overanalyzed anything and everything and imparted his self-garnered wisdom to his only son. But now that Martin is dead, Jasper can fully reflect on the crackpot who raised him in intellectual captivity, and what he realizes is that, for all its lunacy, theirs was a grand adventure. As he recollects the events that led to his father's demise, Jasper recounts a boyhood of outrageous schemes and shocking discoveries--about his infamous outlaw uncle Terry, his mysteriously absent European mother, and Martin's constant losing battle to make a lasting mark on the world he so disdains. It's a story that takes them from the Australian bush to the cafes of bohemian Paris, from the Thai jungle to strip clubs, asylums, labyrinths, and criminal lairs, and from the highs of first love to the lows of failed ambition. The result is a rollicking rollercoaster ride from obscurity to infamy, and the moving, memorable story of a father and son whose spiritual symmetry transcends all their many shortcomings. A Fraction of the Whole is an uproarious indictment of the modern world and its mores and the epic debut of the blisteringly funny and talented Steve Toltz.

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Average: (3.89)
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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