Hawking Up Hairballs

Friday, February 06, 2009

Steve Toltz

I've finished A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz. My opinion remains the same as it was when I was at the halfway point. It's a good novel, but not a great novel. If you like wild, epic romps, you'll probably like it, and I can recommend it, but it doesn't approach the heights of Gravity's Rainbow.

One thing I have to say about Toltz though, he's great with the one-liners. Here's one from the character of Martin Dean. When he thinks this, he's middle-aged and hasn't had sex in many years. "I had begun to perceive my genitals as imaginary beasts in some epic fourteenth-century Scottish poem." Here's another one from Jasper Martin's contemplations, "Career criminals and philiosophers have a surprising amount in common -- they are both at odds with society, they both live uncompromisingly by their own rules, and they both make really lousy parent figures."

Interestingly enough, Toltz is an Aussie, the third one I've read in the last year, and so it remains the same. The most interesting novels in English have been written by those who aren't Americans. We can thank our universities and their MFA programs for that.


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