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Trapped in a car wreck, upside down, bleeding, broken and in pain, Tristan and Grace are staring at death.
As they await their fate, with only a glimmer of hope they might be seen and rescued, we discover the stories of their lives, the sequences of events that brought them together and the shocking truth behind the cause of their crash.
Tristan, a brilliant student at the privileged St Augustine’s school within the walls of the City, was the subject of an elaborate series of experiments on the seemingly contradictory concepts of determinism and free will. Part willing participant and part unknowing victim, Tristan grapples with the apparent irrefutability of a deterministic world. There is only one thing that distracts him: a woman he has glimpsed only twice, a woman he longs to know, a woman he loves.
Banished from the City at the end of the experiments, he embarks on a desperate personal quest to find the woman and to prove the existence of free will, a proof he cannot live without.
Meanwhile, Grace grows up outside the City walls, in a place of impoverishment and despair. Her life of hardship allows no place for philosophical musing. Forced through desperation into a life of prostitution, her only hope of escape from the life she leads is the young man she has seen watching her, the young man who would not speak to her. The young man who stopped at the roadside and picked her up in his car…
Part philosophical thriller, part love story, Bernard Beckett’s August is a compelling novel of power, humanity and desire.
Listen to Bernard discuss August on ABC Radio National’s The Book Show.
Find Teaching Notes for August here.
[a] compelling story about freedom, love and destiny…Beckett evokes a terrifying world where humans are expected to follow a rigid code of behaviour and rebels are made to pay for their transgressions. This is a fascinating exploration of what it means to have free will and to live fully in the moment.
‘[a] deeply philosophical, allegorical novel set in a dystopian landscape…August is an intense, intelligent novel…[If] you want a cleverly written character narrative underpinned by serious theological considerations and a dystopian, dysfunctional theocracy, August is the book for you.
Stunning and beguiling…This is superb fiction – thoughtful, clear, well-written and engrossing…Beckett’s characterisation, as ever, is sharp…August is compelling, fascinating and very thought-provoking.