Steve Toltz’s first novel, A Fraction of the Whole, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the 2008 Guardian First Book Award. He chats to Booktopia’s Andrew Cattanach.
by Steve Toltz
The literary event of 2015. Steve Toltz follows his extraordinary debut, the Booker-shortlisted A Fraction of the Whole, with a novel that’s just as edgy, hilarious and compelling: Quicksand, at once unmistakeably Toltzean and unlike anything that’s come before.
‘Why should I let you write about me?’
‘Because you’ll inspire people. To count their blessings.’
Aldo has been so relentlessly unlucky – in business, in love, in life – that the universe seems to have taken against him personally. Even Liam, his best friend, describes him as ‘a well-known parasite and failure’. Aldo has always faced the future with optimism and despair in equal measure, but this last twist of fate may finally have brought him undone.
There’s hope, but not for Aldo.
Liam hasn’t been doing much better himself: a failed writer with a rocky marriage and a dangerous job he never wanted. But something good may come out of Aldo’s lowest point. Liam may finally have found his inspiration. Together, maybe they can turn bad luck into an art form.
What begins as a document of Aldo’s disasters develops into a profound story of love lost, found and betrayed; of freedom and incarceration; of suffering and transcendence; of fate, faith and friendship; of taking risks – in art, work, love and life – and finding inspiration in all the wrong places.
Quicksand is a fearlessly funny, outrageously inventive dark comedy that looks contemporary life unblinkingly in the eye. It confirms Steve Toltz as one of our most original and insightful novelists.