They were floating, tumbling together in a machine not made for tumbling, weightless and free. He considered the physics: gravity recast as acceleration. An odd thought to have, but what thought isn’t odd when death breathes hot and sticky? The world slowed. He could not look at her.
Late at night a car runs off the road and Tristan and Grace are left clinging to life as they hang upside down waiting for a rescue that might not come. Tristan has spent his life in pursuit of truth – trying to prove that he, and all people, have free will. Grace’s life has been chiefly devoted to staying alive – she has no time for philosophy. Yet their lives are strangely intertwined and as the night passes and each shares their story, the reader starts to see this connection and ponder how it has led them to this crash.
August is a compelling story about life and freedom, set in a post-apocalyptic society. Whist at times the philosophical concepts being explored – based on the theology of Saint Augustine – are difficult to grasp, the story itself and its many layers are so intriguing that it is worthwhile persisting with the difficult bits.
From the unusual cover (the text is upside down, a visual device to counter the image of the two characters trapped in the car, which appears upright, but should itself be upside down) to the final twist, this is a story which is deeply intriguing and, ultimately, satisfying.
August, by Bernard Beckett
This book can be purchased from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.