A fraction of the whole

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Hamish Hamilton, 2008 - Fiction - 710 pages
38 Reviews
"For 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 wild roller-coaster 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."--BOOK JACKET.

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User Review  - RandyMetcalfe - LibraryThing

The life stories of Terry Dean, his half-brother Martin Dean, and Martin’s son, Jasper, make up most of the fractions of this novel. Sometimes the first-person narrator is Martin, sometimes it is ... Read full review

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Q. How did you like the book?
A. A saga, a family saga, told in part by the son, Jasper Dean, and in part by the father, Martin Dean. If you're an American, like me, who has only visited Australia
briefly on cruise ships, you will learn a lot about that country and its surrounds, such as Thailand. But the novel is more than Australia. Steve, the author, endeavors to discuss life's important issues here, including the hereafter, evolution, love, everything. Yet, as he implies in the title, all this is just a fraction of the whole thing.
Q. So did the author succeed in making the book interesting?
A. I would say yes to that. It does bog down in parts, and maybe get a bit repetitious in spots, but overall, Steve paces it well. The two perspectives, father and son, help in pacing and in supplying the reader with their different viewpoints. There are a host of other characters, including the mothers, wives, girlfriends, a Rupert Murdoch seeming fellow, a Thai doctor who doesn't want to be a doctor. It's a long book. You have to stay with it to get the full flavor.
Q. Do you recommend the book?
A. Yes, but only to serious readers. Casual readers or those ensconced in a genre, mystery, romance, whatever, probably won't like the way the story goes on. But a whole family saga, from the childhood of the father to the adulthood of the son does take some time, so the book is well over 500 pages, at least the edition I read. But I'm glad I did read it.
 

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