A Fraction of the Whole

Publisher: Anchor Canada
The Father is Martin Dean.
He taught his son always to make up his mind, and then change it. An impossible, brilliant, restless man, he just wanted the world to listen to him – and the trouble started when the world did.

The Uncle is Terry Dean.

As a boy, Terry was the local sporting hero. As a man, he became Australia's favourite criminal, making up for injustice on the field with this own version of justice off it.

The Son is Jasper Dean.

Now that his father is dead, Jasper can try making some sense of his outrageous schemes to make the world a better place. Haunted by his own mysteriously missing mother and a strange recurring vision, Jasper has one abiding question: Is he doomed to become the lunatic who raised him, or a different kind of lunatic entirely?

From the New South Wales bush to bohemian Paris, from sports fields to strip clubs, from the jungles of Thailand to a leaky boat in the Pacific, Steve Toltz's A Fraction of the Whole follows the Deans on their freewheeling, scathingly funny and finally deeply moving quest to leave their mark on the world.


You never hear about a sportsman losing his sense of smell in a tragic accident, and for good reason; in order for the universe to teach excruciating lessons that we are unable to apply in later life, the sportsman must lose his legs, the philosopher his mind, the painter his eyes, the musician his ears, the chef his...
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"This misanthropic, laugh-out-loud funny novel tells the story of a brilliant, eccentric and star-crossed outsider and his son in contemporary Australia. With its chance encounters, mysterious criminals, malevolent townspeople, attacks of mental illness and mad schemes for civic and national improvement, A Fraction of the Whole is not so much a shaggy dog story as a woolly mammoth story." Winnipeg Free Press

"A rich father-and-son story packed with incident, humour, and characters reminiscent of John Irving.... A Fraction of the Whole soars like a rocket." Los Angeles Times

"A riotously funny first novel...harder to ignore than a crate of puppies, twice as playful, and just about as messy." The Wall Street Journal

"Rollicking.... Laugh-out-loud funny." Entertainment Weekly

"Witty and intellectual, a physical comedy and literary rant all at once.... Comically dark and inviting." Esquire