A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Tolz Book Review

This weighty tome is a cracker of a debut novel and I hope Steve hasn't run himself out of energy and ideas so that he can go on to write more. I don't know how long it took him to write this, but it certainly took me a while to read this (mind you, I was only reading it in snippets at the tired end of every day - probably not the best way for this book to be read), however, there is a good 711 pages of writing and he has done a fine job on every page.

An enthralling tale that twists through the father and son relationship to give the reader and Jasper, the son, an understanding of the strange life his father, Martin Dean, and his uncle, Terry Dean have lived. In some ways, and probably because I took so long to read it, the detail was so incredibly intensive and enthralling, that I forgot some of the things from the start. Maybe I should read it when I am not quite as busy and am able to read great slabs at once.

The story itself seems quite unbelievable, but Steve's language and tone sets it in a way that puts it back into the possibility. Leaves the reader questioning. Jasper tries so hard to not be his father (as so many of us do) but the realisation as he gets older that he is part of him and that this is OK is a significant moment into adulthood. A milestone that Steve alludes to that is so often only realised too late.

Martin spends his whole life running, hiding trying to show his genius, but the world is only interested in his bad boy brother Terry and this drives him into himself more. I was left feeling sad for him, yet at the same time, wondering why he didn't just make a break elsewhere as an unknown being. A frustrating character.

It appeared that his intentions were very pure, naive even for Jasper; however his emotional maturity was stunted at the point of the letterbox incident - the pivotal point in his life where things began to go wrong for him.

The threads of the saga were well held together, even when I was unsure as to whether there was anymore to say, Steve Tolz found more words to say. It was a story of deceit, love, betrayal. A story of two brothers. A story of the father and son relationship. A story of living on the edge, behind the hedge, in a maze, in a craze. A story about lessons to learn and not learn.


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