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 an
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 Whole is Jasper's ...
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