Martin Dean feels "like a few misplaced molecules cobbled
together to form an implausible person." When asked to describe himself, he
comes up with "a seer of limited epiphanies" and "a megalomaniac and
underachiever." He is Steve Toltz's growling philosopher king, ferociously
pessimistic yet irredeemably idealistic, his head a gaseous stew of misanthropy
and ridiculous ideas for societal transformation. The "long inglorious tumult in
his head" lands him in a mental hospital. It also spurs him to run for the
Senate and win on the promise to turn Australia into the "first truly
death-based society." Toltz can barely rein him in.
The story is supposed to be narrated by Martin's son, Jasper, but Martin keeps
breaking in. That pretty much sums up the tension that fuels the novel's mostly
breakneck pace through 530 pages. A Fraction of the...
Beyond the Book
the man is as laconic as his character Martin Dean is loquacious.
The author bio on the book jacket simply reads: "Steve Toltz resides in Sydney,
Australia. A Fraction of the Whole
is his first novel." This paucity of
information is quite rare for a debut novelist in our personality-obsessed
Digging a little deeper, I found this extended bio on the publisher's website:
"Steve Toltz was born in Sydney and has lived in Montreal, Vancouver, New York,
Barcelona, and Paris, working as a cameraman, telemarketer, security guard,
private investigator, English teacher, and screenwriter. A Fraction of the
is his first novel."
Still not very illuminating, though, so it was time to investigate the private...