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A Fraction of the Whole [Paperback]

Steve Toltz
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Short-listed for the 2008 Man Booker Award, Steve Toltz's debut is a warm, uplifting and often hilarious novel of a son's journey of self-discovery and recollections of his eccentric father. 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: theirs was a great adventure. From his prison cell, Jasper Dean tells the unlikely story of his scheming father Martin, his crazy Uncle Terry and how the three of them upset - mostly unintentionally - an entire continent. Incorporating death, parenting (good and bad kinds), one labyrinth, first love, a handbook for criminals, a scheme to make everyone rich and an explosive suggestion box, Steve Toltz's "A Fraction of the Whole" is a hilarious, heartbreaking story of families and how to survive them. This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60 per cent of the author's work and as low as 30 per cent with characters and plotlines removed.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the heart of this sprawling, dizzying debut from a quirky, assured Australian writer are two men: Jasper Dean, a judgmental but forgiving son, and Martin, his brilliant but dysfunctional father. Jasper, in an Australian prison in his early 20s, scribbles out the story of their picaresque adventures, noting cryptically early on that [m]y father's body will never be found. As he tells it, Jasper has been uneasily bonded to his father through thick and thin, which includes Martin's stint managing a squalid strip club during Jasper's adolescence; an Australian outback home literally hidden within impenetrable mazes; Martin's ill-fated scheme to make every Australian a millionaire; and a feverish odyssey through Thailand's menacing jungles. Toltz's exuberant, looping narrative—thick with his characters' outsized longings and with their crazy arguments—sometimes blows past plot entirely, but comic drive and Toltz's far-out imagination carry the epic story, which puts the two (and Martin's own nemesis, his outlaw brother, Terry) on an irreverent roller-coaster ride from obscurity to infamy. Comparisons to Special Topics in Calamity Physics are likely, but this nutty tour de force has a more tender, more worldly spin. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"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 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 (audiobook review) "Sparkling comic writing." The Independent. "With tinges of magical realism and buckets of misanthropic humour it's a clever and funny debut." The Observer "A grand achievement and the debut of a great comic talent... go away and read it." The Sunday Times "Utterly brilliant." The Times" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read March 22 2010
This book was up for a Booker Prize and in my opinion well worth it. It is a rare read that can make you laugh out loud, and this one delivered. A Monty Python-esque humour runs through this story. The scenes are well described without being bogged down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a favorite Dec 15 2013
This book's characters have some extremely clever, thoroughly original and funny philosophical opinions and it's very well written. I read one book after another and often forget the plots soon after but this book has stayed with me. It became a bit convoluted towards the end but I really enjoyed it, continue to recommend it to people and frequently check for new writing from Tolz.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Piece of Australian Modern Fiction July 6 2013
I picked this book up on a recommendation of a friend and did not put it down for a week. It captivated me as a 20-something year old reader and I felt personally connected with the story. Not to mention it's written with it's tongue firmly in cheek, but that doesn't mean that it took any brevity from it's more emotional scenes. This book for me, was the first Australian work of modern fiction that didn't have me cringing through out it. The unfortunate truth about most Australian books is that they are terribly Australian, or perhaps they over compensate in their attempt to make it. Steve Toltz's work seems to recreate effortlessly the Australian characters and ethos that actually exists within the country. In terms of an modern fiction novel that deals with modern Australia, this book is on point.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read Aug. 27 2010
This book was an excellent read. The characters in this book were exciting and the story was always on the move. I cannot wait for his next novel.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars non-original pulp fiction Jan. 30 2010
If you like literature then this book is not for you. It is badly written, unoriginal, predictable and the characters are one dimensional stereotypes( ex. the criminal with the heart of gold etc.) It has the feel of a Hollywood script. I had to stop reading about a third of the way through. If on the other hand you like pulp fiction by novelists such as Stephen King, Clancy, Dan Brown and the like you may hold a different opinion of this ( for me ) very forgettable book
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