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  • Sceptre


Steve Toltz

8 Reviews

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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

Dazzling, hilarious, disturbing and utterly unforgettable new novel from the author of the Man Booker-shortlisted A Fraction of the Whole.

A daring, brilliant work by one of our most original and fearless novelists.

'Why should I let you write about me?'
'Because you'll inspire people. To count their blessings.'

Aldo Benjamin, relentlessly unlucky in every aspect of life, has always faced the future with despair and optimism in equal measure. His latest misfortune, however, may finally be his undoing. There's still hope, but not for Aldo.

His mate Liam hasn't been faring much better - a failed writer with a rocky marriage and a dangerous job he never wanted - until he finds inspiration in Aldo's exponential disasters. What begins as an attempt to document these improbable but inevitable experiences spirals into a profound exploration of fate, fear and friendship.

Anarchically funny and wildly entertaining, Quicksand is a subversive portrait of 21st-century society in all its hypocrisy and absurdity, an exquisite interpretation of suffering and resilience, and a powerful story about taking risks and finding inspiration.

(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

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Praise for Quicksand

  • A grand achievement and the debut of a great comic talent ... go away and read it. - Sunday Times on A Fraction of The Whole

  • The energy, the hairpin turns, the narrative crashes, the stomach churning ascents and trashed taboos: what a joy to surrender oneself to a writer of such prodigious talent. - Peter Carey, twice Man Booker Prize-winner

  • With tinges of magical realism and buckets of misanthropic humour it's a clever and funny debut. - Observer on A Fraction of the Whole

  • The funniest novel I've read in the last 12 months . . . Genuinely moving. - The Times

  • Quicksand is, if anything, even more hysterically funny [than A Fraction of the Whole] and quite, quite horrific . . . Linguistically, Toltz manages to find the perfect if unlikely word or phrase faultlessly. It is very rare for me to laugh on almost every page of a book; it is even rarer for that to be accompanied by exquisite melancholy. Toltz is writing like very few other authors: he seems like an Antipodean Thomas Bernhard in his unsparing, agonising comedies. I hope it is not seven years until his next novel. - Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

  • Sparkling comic writing...It gives off the unmistakeable whiff of a book that might just contain the secret of life. - Independent on A Fraction of the Whole

  • Toltz is clearly talented, with a vivid satirical intelligence... tremendous. - The Sunday Times

  • Leaves you almost breathless. There is more heart, and joy and compassion and hard-earned wisdom in Quicksand than seems possible for a single novel; it is life, literature at its fullest. - Dinaw Mengestu, winner of the Guardian First Book Award

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Steve Toltz

Steve Toltz was born in Sydney, Australia. A Fraction of the Whole, his first novel, was published in 2008 to widespread critical acclaim. It was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize and the 2008 Guardian First Book Award. His equally acclaimed second novel Quicksand was published by Sceptre in 2015. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

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