Australian novelist, born in 1972. He lived in Montreal, Vancouver, New York, Barcelona and Paris, working as a cameraman, telemarketer, security guard, private investigator, English teacher, and screenwriter.
A Fraction of the Whole (2008), his first novel, is the history of a family of Australian outcasts. A Fraction of the Whole was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize and the 2008 Guardian First Book Award.
Most of my life I never worked out whether to pity, ignore, adore, judge, or murder my father. His mystifying behavior left me wavering right up until the end. He had conflicting ideas about anything and everything, especially my schooling: eight months into kindergarten he decided he didn't want me there anymore because the education system was "stultifying, soul-destroying, archaic, and mundane." I don't know how anyone could call finger painting archaic and mundane. Messy, yes. Soul-destroying, no. He took me out of school with the intention of educating me himself, and instead of letting me finger-paint he read me the letters Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo right before he cut off his ear, and also passages from the bookHuman, All Too Human so that together we could "rescue Nietzsche from the Nazis." Then Dad got distracted with the time-chewing business of staring into space, and I sat around the house twiddling my thumbs, wishing there was paint on them. After six weeks he plopped me back in kindergarten, and just as it started looking like I might have a normal life after all, suddenly, in the second week of first grade, he walked right into the classroom and yanked me out once again, because he'd been overcome with the fear that he was leaving my impressionable brain "in the folds of Satan's underpants."
“I couldn't think of anything other than her and the components of her. For example, her red hair. But was I so primitive I let myself be bewitched by hair? I mean, really. Hair! It's just hair! Everyone has it! She puts it up, she lets it down. So what? And why did all the other parts of her have me wheezing with delight? I mean, who hasn't got a back, or a belly, or armpits? This whole finicky obsession serves to humiliate me even as I write it, sure, but I suppose it isn't that abnormal. That's what first love is all about. What happens is you meet a love object and immediately a hole inside you starts aching, the hole that is always there but you don't notice until someone comes along, plugs it up, and then runs away with the plug.”
- Journey, he said. I had forgotten I was still holding the book.
- Céline, I said back in a whisper.
- I love that book.
- I'm only halfway through.
- Have you got to the point where --
- Hey, kill me, but don't tell me the end!”
How do you know how to pick them? Who tells you?' Daved asked me once.
I explained that there was a line. 'If you read Dostoyevsky, he mentions Pushkin, and so you go and read Pushkin and he mentions Dante, and so you go and read Dante and--'
All books are in some way about other books.'
I get it!”
“The game is an analogy for life: there are not enough chairs or good times to go around, not enough food, not enough joy, nor beds nor jobs nor laughs nor friends nor smiles nor money nor clean air to breathe...and yet the music goes on.”
“As I passed through the gates, the blistered hands of nostalgia gave my heart a good squeeze and I realized you miss shit times as well as good times, because at the end of the day what you're really missing is just time itself. ”
“I was so happy I wanted to fold all the people into paper airplanes and fly them into the lidless eye of that big yellow moon.”
“He pointed the gun at me. Then he looked up at my hand & tilted his head slightly.
“I’ll teach you how to decipher all the confused faces by closing your eyes & how to cringe when someone says the words ‘your generation’. I will teach you how not to demonise your enemies & how to make yourself unappetising when the hordes turn up to eat you. I’ll teach you how to yell with your mouth closed & how to steal happiness & how the only real joy is singing yourself hoarse & nude girls & how never to eat in an empty restaurant & how not to leave the windows of your heart open when it looks like rain & how everyone has a stump where something necessary was amputated. I’ll teach you how to know what’s missing.”