Saturday, 4 October 2008

Some light holiday reading - Steve Toltz, A Fraction of the Whole

I have just returned from travelling to various far-flung corners of the world, and am delighted to be back in computer contact. I managed to read a number of books while I am away, and am just finishing the last of the Booker Prize shortlisted novels, "A Fraction of the Whole" by Steve Toltz. It is an exuberant and very funny first novel, which has at times had me laughing out loud. The humour is dark, and the plot has many unexpected twists and turns......

Jasper, having inadvertently been the cause of the death by suicide of one of his teachers, is asked to read a Psalm at the funeral. Instead, he reads the following from "The City of Dreadful Night" by James Thomson:

Who is most wretched in this dolorous place?
I think myself; yet I would rather be
My miserable self than He, than He
Who formed such creatures to His own disgrace.

The vilest thing must be less vile than Thou
From whom it had its being, God and Lord!
Creator of all woe and sin! abhorred
Malignant and implacable! I vow

That not for all Thy power furled and unfurled,
For all the temples to Thy glory built,
Would I assume the ignominious guilt
Of having made such men in such a world.

He finished and looked up. The priest was gnashing his teeth, just as it's described in his favourite book.

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