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August by Bernard Beckett
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Showing 5 of 5
There are very few books that I think were genuinely an absolute waste of time and not worth picking up- and [b:August|10468921|August|Bernard Beckett|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Atj1c0iIL._SL75_.jpg|15374039] was one of these books.

I just didn't get what I was supposed to find compelling or remotely interesting! The book is nothing like the back cover describes. The cover tells us this book is a ''thriller'' but what's inside the cover is anything but, in my opinion. There was a couple of pages that were sort of interesting in a vague way but then I'd completely lose interest again. It was just really dull and ramble-filled.

I probably wouldn't have picked up this book if the cover had told me what it was actually like, instead of calling it a ''thriller'' etc. I'm sure this will interest some type of reader but not certainly me. The only good thing about it is that it's pretty short so it was over quickly. ( )
  nicola26 | Mar 30, 2013 |
August is a discussion about free will and what it is/means - or whether it has any meaning - wrapped up in a novel. Two people in an undisclosed, post-apocalyptic future time hang upside in a crashed vehicle, talking about the pasts that resulted in them being there. I enjoyed the set-up and the discussions. The idea of truth is also considered, particularly in the earlier part of the book. Beckett deals well with complicated ideas in straightforward writing.

This was a good, read, but the novel is rather buried under the weight of the ideas and the need of a couple of the characters, in the flash-backs, to outdo each other. On the other hand, the plot cleverly incorporates the ideas of truth and free will in action in people's lives, so maybe more of it would have defeated the purpose. ( )
  peajayar | Feb 4, 2012 |
Wow. This was such a different book from what I expected. 1, it is set in an alternate reality where Jesus is seen as one of the 3 great prophets and everyone worships St Augustine instead. 2, the lives of the principal characters were NOTHING like I expected. 3, The philisophical debates that rage between the Rector and Tristan, the main character ,were very complex and yet easy to understand! And the ending....my godness, I did NOT see that coming! I love books that surprise me and this one was so amazing. Basically it is the story of Tristan and Grace and the age old question over fate. Are our lives pre-determined or do we have free will to change the future course of our existence? The story opens with Tristan and Grace in a car late at night skidding off the road and rolling down an embankment. Trapped upside down with horrific injuries that are slowly killing them, they relate the story of their lives up to this point in time. Tristan, taken from the slums to spend his life at a boy's school devoted to St Augustine battles with the Rector over the notion of free will - that we make our own destiny and it is not preordained. After sneaking out one night he sees Grace, a girl from a convent who is offering clandestine succour to the people of the Night. (Those who chose not to believe in anything and are therefore banished from society) and falls in love. When he returns to his dorm, he is captured by the Rector and held for two years to face a number of experiments designed to show that there is no free will. Meanwhile, Grace too is discovered, but she is banished from the convent and forced into a life of prostitution to survive. It is here that the two worlds (literally) collide.
  nicsreads | May 26, 2011 |
Tristan and Grace are upside down in a car they have crashed. The book is a philosohical look at life and soul and how they have come to be in this predicament. Quite thought provoking ( )
  pamelawalker | May 5, 2011 |
Tristan's tale is one of hardship, discipline and learning. Growing up somewhat sheltered his determination and capacity for learning drove him from his home and towards the church, there thought, prayer and higher learning were open to him. His life was all planed out ahead of him, a life full of promise and God. Then one night something happened that made him question all that he believed. One night he met Grace and his life was changed forever.

Grace's tale is a story of misunderstandings, mistreatment and loss. Her childhood was strict and rigorous but also sheltered. As a naive girl Grace was easily led by her heart and an eagerness to please others, and as fate and circumstance conspired against her she was cast out from the protection of her childhood home and left to her own devices. As her life spiralled away from her control she at least could hold on to one thing, her angel.

August is largely a philosophical debate on the soul, what it means to have freewill and what it is to be free. A deeply thoughtful look at the way religion, society and circumstance shape who we are and how at our very essence we are beings of instinct as shown through our actions. Theology, love and life clash in this thrilling tale of chance, destiny and the chaos that is the human mind. ( )
  LarissaBookGirl | Apr 5, 2011 |
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Book description
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, August is a compelling novel of power, humanity and desire.
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"Trapped in a car wreck, upside down, bleeding and in pain, Tristan and Grace are staring at death. When dawn breaks they might be seen from the road and rescued, or not."--Cover.

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Penguin Australia

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