27 July 2009

DNF: A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

A Fraction of the Whole I must have hit a new personal best - or personal worst - with this one: I quit on page 28. And I had a sinking feeling from page 1. Meaning that I made it through all of 4% of the book. Hence I really can’t write a review as such; can’t say what it’s about, even.

It opened with the narrator, Jasper Dean, in jail - not an auspicious start. He decided to write his story, despite that being a highly impractical hobby to have while inside. He introduced his father Martin, who shuffled Jasper in and out of school between attempts at teaching him at home. These attempts took place in what sounded like a dump of a house and involved him lecturing a six-year-old on such topics as gender politics, Nietzsche, and why self-respect is bad for you. Basically he came across as a bit of a deadbeat and a bad father - and then he became the narrator.

Did I want to spend time with these people? No. And something about the writing style disagreed with me from the start (and it wasn’t funny like the cover quotes promised).

Read: 28 of 699 pages


Unknown said...

I think it is good when you know very quickly that a book isn't for you - it saves you wasting precious reading time on bad books!

wheresmyrain said...

really? I loved this novel. You had to get into the rythm. I like characters that are somewhat wince worthy though. Others, not so much their thing. You care for the characters once you continue reading. Love hearing others thoughts on books i have loved or hated.

Sarah said...

Oh dear, I still have this in my TBR pile. It seems to be a book that to enjoy you need to have a simialr sense of humour to Toltz- fingers crossed I do!

Amat Libris said...

farmlanebooks: It is good, especially when it's so huge!

wheresmyrain: I guess I'm one of the others.

Sarah: I hope you enjoy it more than I did!

Anonymous said...

I always have trouble just giving up on a book, even when I don't really like, let alone care about the characters.

Aarti said...

Wow, that's so sad about the book being that disappointing. Sometimes, things just don't click. There has to be chemistry between the author and the reader. Good thing you didn't make it through all SEVEN HUNDRED pages. Yeesh.

Amat Libris said...

caroslnotebook: I've been like that, too; but I'm getting better! It still can be an effort, though, to give up on a book.

Aarti: Just didn't click - that's a great way to describe it.

Jenny said...

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it - but kind of glad on my behalf. I kept reading great things about this book in London, and I came this close to buying it. (V. v. close) I've sort of been wondering if I made a mistake, but it sounds like I made the right decision. :)

Anonymous said...

this was possibly the best novel i've ever read.

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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776