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.
©2008 Steve Holtz; (P)2008 Recorded Books LLC
Definitely a "ripping yarn". It doesn't disappoint...if you can get past the broad Australian accents of the two narrators.
The accent of the first narrator was off putting but I became used to it - and then the second narrator was introduced & it was like nails down a blackboard. I understand it's important, after all the story is Australian, but I have to admit that made me struggle.
Beyond the accents however the story is unexpected, unpredictable & deeply strange (but only in a good way). I admit I've never read a story quite like it, yet it is as compellingly Australian as Ned Kelly.
Listen to the sample & if you can live with the narrator's accent then give it a try, the story is "fanastical".
"A colossal waste of time"
The last two sentences of this book read: If anyone does publish this book who would bother to read it? Well, out of 6 billion people on this planet, someone must have two days to waste. Yes, agreed, but how did it happen to be ME? I have never listened to such puerile trash in my life. Is this an explanation of why Australia has such a reputation as a cultural wasteland? The first problem with the book is that it is fundamentally stupid. It has stupid characters, who continually pontificate in an uneducated, pointless stream, and a stupid plot (one time pierced punk female later marries son of richest man in Australia, who dies along with his father and leaves her in total (undisputed) control of richest media empire on earth. People die in fires and then reappear, having miraculously escaped. None of the wastrel heros ever earns money, yet this never stops them catching a bus, train or taxi when convenient. Oh, the second problem? It is very long (25 hours). I hope I can save the other 6b-1 potential readers from this rubbish.
I absolutely loved everything about this book. Superb narration ? I found the two narrators didn?t just read the story; they really became the characters, and were utterly convincing. The book had me gripped, had me laughing out loud, and I stayed up until 3am last night to finish it! I?m missing it already!
My favourite listen so far this year!
"Best book I've listened to by far"
If you're a man, this book will teach you about yourself. If you're a woman, this book will teach you about men.
It's about the relationship between a father and a son. It's about the relationship between a brother and a brother. It's about love, it's about disappointment and it's about a dysfunctional family that will make anyone else's seem normal by comparison. And it's about life.
This is a must listen.
"without doubt one of the best books I've ever read"
This was recommended to me by an American friend. It is amazing - I have been telling everyone about it. Tolzte has only written this one so far. It is funny and makes you laugh out loud. It is an epic tale - something that would usually put me off - but it rambles from the youth of the writer,through to his adult hood and all the characters he meets along the way. The australian delivery of the reader is fantastic, he sounds surprised and amazed, justas the reader will be. I will be listening to this again . I never do that !
"I am trying to like this..."
This book has had some good reviews, but I just couldn't get on with the angry, bitter atmosphere of the first 30 minutes. I'll try it again when I'm feeling emotionally stronger.
I thought the two-voiced narration here worked particularly well and the fact they were Australian voices - some audio books lose a huge amount by not being in the "voice" of the characters. Steve Toltz is an excellent witty writer and I found myself storing away the clever verbal flashes that came every few pages. I did think he could have done with an editor though as the ending in particular was very drawn out. It felt a bit like the end of the third installment of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy - you can't believe he is going to wring more mileage out of it all. Then he comes up with another gag and you forgive him again. Still I am going to be tough and dock one star for over indulgence.
"Started off well...."
Intact I enjoyed more than 2/3 of it but the last few hours were a real chore. Shame
"Memorable and re-listenable"
I bought this audio book on a whim as it was on sale. It is one of the best audio books I have ever listened too. The story is funny and a bit bizarre. A truly rewarding listen about a father and his son, and their extra-ordinary view of the world around them.
"Fathers and Sons"
This story is so well narrated by the leads; you really believe in their characters and find it hard to listen at times, to the traumas they go through. Both appear to be emotionally fragile souls, the father coping with forever being in his brother's shadow, and the son coping with his father's mental eccentricities. You never quite know what is going to happen, but there is a certain air of trepidation, every time the father comes up with a new rant.
"A poor novel and way too long"
Although this book has received some notable plaudits - it is a "Richard & Judy" recommendation - to my mind it is a poor novel.
To start with the narrative momentum simply cannot sustain such a long audiobook. The first third of the book is quite promising, but the middle section is plodding and tedious - nothing much happens - and although the last third picks up a bit, it is not enough to rescue the book. Also, I found most of the characters to be oddballs who are neither particularly likeable nor, after a while, very interesting. And one soon tires of the endless Christmas-cracker philosophising and clunky metaphors of the two main characters. The narrators do their best, though the Australian accents are not my cup of tea for such a long book.
I am not quite sure why I struggled through to the end! Definitely not recommended.
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