Monday, June 9, 2008
E-motions in fractions of a whole
In this 500+page opus, you meet and remeet the Deans, as some Deans fall in and out of life, into comas and out with their memories intact, getting born and reborn under the Dean name or under an assumed name. The Deans take care of each other, but in odd and stubborn ways. In other words, its not your average American sit com family, but it may be a credible attempt at the great Australian, or any country novel.
The main characters are heroes and or villains, criminals and or moralists. They are weirdos and crackpots and or philosopher kings and visionaries. They are brothers, fathers, sons, lovers, haters, friends, and enemies--they are a little of all things. They are celebrities and people exploring their cosmic insignificance, they are sons becoming a part of their fathers or mothers, not always understanding that they may be part of something bigger than themselves. They may be starting with a credo and then spending the rest of their lives trying to prove it. It's not your run of the mill family story by any means...
You walk or crawl, then run with the characters through time from the New South Wales bush to bohemian Paris, from sports fields to back alleys to strip clubs, from living in a maze in Australia to living in the jungles of Thailand to living and dying in a leaky boat of immigrants in the Pacific. These are pieces of the puzzle, parts of a whole story, portions of a whole life or several lives-- they are truly "Fractions of the Whole." The Deans and associates are sickly, bloated, freewheeling, horrendous, funny and sometimes moving as they fight to leave the world, or stay, and leave a mark on the world or not. They are people taking themselves too seriously and not seriously enough. Often, this is a satirical view of individual searching, and societal reverential, hero-worship--which is after all all just a small step away from hateful, scandal-lusting.
This is a long tale of a world that often turns ugly. The book is sometimes well-written and sometimes not. It manages to stay out of the gutter of life, just barely, staying just a fraction ahead of full-blown despair. It is a compelling yet long read.
Much of this blog entry above was written from the third row of a bus from NY to DC with wi-fi. It is striking how the oddity of a rolling wi-fi on wheels is just another fraction of a whole...
It is difficult to capture the plot and subplots of this book within a book if that is what it is, but a good effort is made in the review at the following web address: