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Publisher's Summary

Steve Toltz's exceptional debut has drawn favorable comparisons to the work of New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer.

Stewing in an Australian prison, Jasper Dean reflects on his relationship with his dead father and recounts the many zany adventures they shared together.

©2008 Steve Tolz (P)2008 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"Comic drive and Toltz's far-out imagination carry [this] epic story." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    83
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    51
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    5

Performance

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    5
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Funny and Thought-provoking Tale of Human Nature

Okay, I know this might sound weird, but if Dostoyevsky were alive today, Steve Toltz could probably teach him a thing or two about the nature of misanthropy. Still, A Fraction of the Whole manages to push the envelope of absurd to the very limits of transgressional fiction, while remaining humorous enough to sustain most reader's attention spans. The thing is, Toltz's characters are so incredibly hard to sympathize with, that you're likely to find yourself trying hard to understand how they are a reflection of humanity as a whole. And from this effort, the truth of their "every man" identities becomes glaringly obvious.

Anyone who reads this story is likely to be both disgusted at the characters and reflected within them, all the while laughing despite this. Oh, and if you only like stories that wrap up nice and neat and fall into your lap during the death throws of their denouements — don't read this. However, if you're comfortable with the fact that life doesn't resolve itself like a Polaroid picture, then sit back, strap on a comfy pair of headphones, and enjoy one of the quirkiest tales you're likely to feast your ears on told by a pair of truly talented narrators whose performances are of rare quality.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nancy
  • Brigantine, NJ, United States
  • 09-14-08

Beautifully written, wonderful characters

This is a beautifully written book with richly drawn characters. The Dean family will take you on a wild ride around the world, and as unlikely as they and their lives are, this book is so well written you'll believe every bit of it. Clever, ironic, dark, and absolutely worth reading.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

40% Great

I loved 40% of this book! It tells the story of a father and his son who are both extremely odd and have a very dysfunctional relationship. Most of the book is told from the point of view of the son (the 60% I did not like) and 40% is wonderfully told by the father. The reader of the father portion is much better than the reader of the son portions. If you take the time to listen to it, there are a lot of moments of pleasure, however you have to wade through a lot of muck to get there.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Charming and Fun

The book starts off a bit slowly, but you're soon drawn in to a world of villainy, deceit, and hysterically bad parenting. The narration captures each of the characters in a way that I think might not have been as carefully presented--had I just read the book. In short, one of the reasons that I listen to audio books. First class narrators, and a witty, character-driven story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Laugh-out-loud funny

A Fraction of the Whole is a sprawling, big and baggy, super funny first novel by the Australian author Steve Toltz. The story goes back and forth between the two narrators, a father and son, telling their own stories of their lives. The father goes back to his childhood and the brother who becomes his nemesis. The son tells more of the later story, but they switch off nicely throughout the book. The ending gets a bit bizarre. Great narration.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible story

I didn't want it to end. The characters were frustrating and endearing. You wanted to follow them through all the craziness.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

What a ride!

Great book. Great narrators. Like nothing I've ever read. Wonderful characters. Hilarious. A strangely great father and son story that i couldn't get enough of. As original as it gets.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow!!

This production is a masterpiece. Author is obviously a genious with wit and a great sense of humor who can actually write! What a rare combination! This is my favorite audio book of all time, favorite author of all time, and favorite narrators of all time. This is a riot in audio due to the Aussie accent of the father and son narrators who got it just right. Buy this!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Connie
  • Austin, TX, USA
  • 09-03-09

Audio fan in Austin

I found this book "laugh out loud" funny - in many, many places. Both readers were just great. I am recommending to everyone I know who loves smart, funny books!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Can't love it enough

Tolz's smart writing is what pulls you in, what astounds you, and what you stay for. The story is inventive, far-flung, irreverent, and the characters are cuckoo! But also hard to ignore or dismiss. Some may balk at the length, but I wished it was longer. Listening to an Aussie accent is heavenly, though I will say, it takes just a bit of an ear to tell the two voices apart sometimes, but it isn't a problem for the story, only if you start the audio book in the middle of a section and forgot who was talking.

I realize that it isn't for everyone, especially those who want nothing but action or easy story. This requires some critical thought processing but offers buckets of humor in return. It made me smile for 25 hours. What else can claim that distinction? And it is the first book I have listened to more than 2xs. Please hurry up and get Quicksand on Audible.