Fraction of the Whole

Fraction of the Whole Cover

Fraction of the Whole

By Steve Toltz

Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780141031828

Publication Date: May 1, 2009

Description
With rights sold around the world, this irreverent comic adventure spanning three continents is poised to be one of the most talked about fiction debuts of the year.
A Fraction of the Whole marks the arrival of an ambitious new writer who deftly mixes humour, surprise, and astute observations of the human condition to create a novel that entertains, scandalizes, and enlightens.
Martin Dean spent his entire life analyzing absolutely everything - from the benefits of suicide to the virtues of strip clubs versus brothels. Now that he's dead, his son Jasper can fully reflect on the man who raised him in intellectual captivity.
As he recollects the extraordinary events that led to his father's demise, Jasper recounts a boyhood of outrageous schemes and shocking discoveries - about his infamous and long dead criminal uncle, his tortured and mysteriously absent European mother, and Martin's constant losing battle to make a lasting impression on the world.
It's a story that takes them from the Australian bush to the cafes of bohemian Paris, from the Thai jungle to labyrinths, mental hospitals, and criminal lairs, from the highs of first love to the lows of rejection and failed ambition. The result is an uproarious indictment of the ridiculousness of the modern world and its mores, and the moving, memorable story of a father and son whose spiritual symmetry transcends all their many shortcomings.
"I spent the next day staring into empty space. I get a lot of joy out of air, and if sunlight hits the floating specs of dust so you see the whirling dance of atoms, so much the better. During the day, Dad breezed in and out of my room and clicked his tongue, which in our family meant: 'You're an idiot.' In the afternoon, he came back in with a loaded grin. He had a brilliant idea, and couldn't wait to tell me about it. It had suddenly occurred to him to throw me out of the house, and what did I think of his brainwave? I told him I was concerned about him eating all his meals alone because the clinking of cutlery on a plate echoing through an empty house is one of the top five depressing noises of all time.
--from "A Fraction of the Whole