20 Aug 2010

"A Fraction of the Whole" - Tales of crime and coincidence

"A Fraction of the Whole" by Steve Tolz has taken me ages to get through. Well not ages but weeks. Not because it is more than 700 pages long but because it is packed with action and characters. So in order to get through it I had to take breaks now and then.
There are three key figures in this novel - the narrator Jasper Dean, his father Martin and his uncle Terry - and the life stories of all three are told. Uncle Terry becomes famous throughout Australia for a string of horrendous crimes and this affects the lives of Martin and Jasper. Martin, who has always lived in the shadow of his famous brother, cooks up his own philosophy of life and slowly becomes more and more deranged, leaving Jasper to fight for his sanity and his place in life.
This is very much a tale of men who do not seem to be able to fit into common society. It is as if they are uanble to play by the rules that "normal" people play by and this shapes their chaotic destinies.
The book was fascinating as it weaves together many many stories with great ability for storytelling. I may return to it someday and read it again - maybe even in one go - but it is not a book that has drawn me in and left me unable to put it down. But it has charm and is definitely worth reading.

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