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 Whole is his first novel.
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A Conversation with Steve Toltz, author of A Fraction of the Whole
A Fraction of the Whole is a larger-than-life novel, with a big
cast of characters, but at its heart are Martin and Jasper Dean, a father and
son, whose singular perspectives on the world make them both fierce enemies and
faithful allies. How did the idea for their intimate yet fraught relationship
come to you, and what do you think it says about parent/child relationships?
The idea for the relationship between Martin and Jasper Dean came from a number of simultaneous preoccupations, the main two being my curiosity about how it must feel to be the children of those people who are skinned alive in the media and about how a child of a rebel himself rebels. It was not my initial intention to say anything about parent/child relationships, but during the writing of the book, Martin's central dilemma in raising his son became interesting to me: How do you teach another human being to be his own person? Do you try and pass along the characteristics of yourself that you are most proud of, even though you know they have made you miserable? What if you think very poorly of the education system available but you don't have the time or energy...
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