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.
Meet the Deans.
Heroes or Criminals? Crackpots or Visionaries? Relatives or Enemies?
It's a simple family story. . .
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.'
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.
'Riotously funny. . . deserves a place next to A Confederacy of Dunces.' Wall Street Journal
'A rich father-and-son story packed with incident, humour and characters reminiscent in styles of Charles Dickens and John Irving. . . A Fraction of the Whole soars like a rocket.' LA Times
'A grand achievement and the debut of a great comic talent. But it also has a heart. . . go away and read it.' Sunday Times
'Toltz brings all the energy and assurance of a young Peter Carey to this burlesque, bravura performance.' Irish Times
'A gloriously absorbing, preposterous and funny excursion to the brink of madness and the meaning of life.' Sunday Telegraph
“More twists and turns, weird changes of fortune and amazing revelations than your average Shakespeare comedy.”
Sydney Morning Herald
“A gloriously absorbing, preposterous and funny excursion to the brink of madness and the meaning of life.”
The Sunday Telegraph
“A riotously funny first novel that is harder to ignore than a crate of puppies . . . This is not a book to be read so much as an experience to be wallowed in. Mr Toltz's merry chaos - a mix of metaphysical inquiry, ribald jokes, freakish occurrences, and verbal dynamite booming across the page - deserves a place next to A Confederacy of Dunces . . . A Fraction of the Whole is a sort of Voltaire-meets-Vonnegut tale.”
Wall Street Journal
“A rich father-and-son story packed with incident, humour and characters reminiscent of the styles of Charles Dickens and john Irving . . . A Fraction of the Whole soars like a rocket.”
“A grand achievement and the debut of a great comic talent. But it also has a heart . . . Go away and read it.”
The Sunday Times (UK)
“Toltz brings all the energy and assurance of a young Peter Carey to this burlesque, bravura performance.”
“A Fraction of the Whole is that rarest of long books - utterly worth it . . . The story starts in a prison riot and ends on a plane and there is not one forgettable episode in between . . . It reads like Mark Twain with access to an international airbus.”
“Hold on tight because you're about to ride a juggernaut . . . What Toltz has done masterfully is have his way with every aspect of modern life. He racks 'em up and knocks 'em down with a laser wit, a fine turn of phrase, and a devastatingly funny outlook on everything human.”
“Combines the hilarious high-low reference points of early Martin Amis with the annihilating punk inventiveness of Chuck Palahniuk.”
“Packed with plots, sub-plots, sub-sub-plots, tangents, flashbacks, diversions, philosophical wanderings and spectacular set pieces . . . Fuelled by brilliant ideas and driven by original language and a very funny voice.”
“Very light on its feet, skipping from anecdote, to rant, to reflection, like a stone skimming across a pond . . . There's a section about a labyrinth that you could imagine Borges writing, another about a lottery gone wrong that made me think of Vonnegut, and a strange, lovely account of childhood illness that had echoes of Garcia Marquez. In some ways it plays like a modern Arabian Nights . . . Brilliant.”
The Guardian (UK)
“Brilliantly funny . . . every sentence is a quotable aphorism clothed in light-hearted observations about human behaviour.”
“There is something for everyone in this kaleidoscope of a novel.”
“Wild . . . an odyssey that's inspired, sorta stoned, tender, and very funny. Sometimes all at the same time. Toltz's invention is as breathtaking as the speed of his narrative . . . There is wit on every page.”
Man Booker Prize
Shortlisted • 2008 • for Fiction