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A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz




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A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

Published by Hamish Hamilton in 2008

This is an epic first novel by Australian author Steve Toltz. It is a book within a book which charts the lives of father and son, Martin and Jasper Dean. The Dean family are the focus – two mismatched parents and two eccentric, brilliant and slightly deranged sons, Terry and Martin, who proceed to make their mark on the world in very different ways. Terry becomes a notorious criminal while Martin, staying just on the right side of the law, equally becomes notorious for different reasons. Into this mix, Jasper Dean, Martin’s son is born. Jasper grows up subjected to his father’s mad schemes, eternal philosophising, depressions and erratic behaviour. The journey of their life together is portrayed as a great adventure which Jasper recounts only after the death of his father. This is a challenging book in many ways, fast moving, colourful and dark. It is set against the backdrop of the Australian psyche, politics and the interwoven relationship of a father and son. It is not an easy read but a rewarding one.

Steve Toltz was born in Sydney, Australia, and has lived in Montreal, Vancouver, Barcelona and Paris. A Fraction of the Whole is his first book. It was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize.