Literature: A Fraction of the Whole
A 2008 Door Stopper
novel by Steve Toltz. The story is an Australian satire (or even a Deconstruction
) of the Generational Saga
genre, following the Dean family through three generations as they crash and burn repeatedly. It's full of harsh Black Comedy
, romance, violence, and just a little bit of Magic Realism
Jasper Dean was raised by his father Martin, a crass, eccentric and antisocial inventor utterly Allergic to Routine
. Instead of keeping Jasper in school, Martin sits him down and tells him his life story.
Martin Dean was the son of Jewish immigrants. When he became comatose as a child, his younger brother, Terry, was forced to sleep in the same room as Martin's lifeless body for six years. Since their parents saw nothing wrong with this, they were a bit surprised when Terry grew up to become a violent, disturbed and obsessed young boy
. Upon waking up again, Martin quite accidentally ended up making sure that it went darker, and it wasn't long before Terry Dean became Australia's most notorious criminal.
The story unfolds across generations as Jasper compares his own pointless life to that of his father and uncle; the opportunities they missed; the women they loved; and the way they all kept compulsively shunning normal society.