A young woman parses through the five years since her best friend's suicide in this self-deprecating examination of grief and loss.
Publication Date: 04-11-2017
Translated by Jennifer Croft
Traveling home to rural Patagonia, a young woman grapples with herself as she makes the journey to scatter the ashes of her friend Andrea. Twenty-one-year-old Emilia might still be living, but she’s jaded by her studies and discontent with her boyfriend, and apathetic toward the idea of moving on. Despite the admiration she receives for having relocated to Buenos Aires, in reality, cosmopolitanism and a career seem like empty scams. Instead, she finds her life pathetic.
Once home, Emilia stays with Andrea’s parents, wearing the dead girl’s clothes, sleeping in her bed, and befriending her cat. Her life put on hold, she loses herself to days wondering how if what had happened—leaving an ex, leaving Patagonia, Andrea leaving her—hadn’t happened.
Both a reverse coming-of-age story and a tangled homecoming tale, this frank confession to a deceased confidante. A keen portrait of a young generation stagnating in an increasingly globalized Argentina, August considers the banality of life against the sudden changes that accompany death.
“Paula’s English-language debut is almost impossible to put down: moody, atmospheric, at times cinematic, her novel is indicative of a fresh and fiery talent with, hopefully, more to come.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Fluently translated from the Spanish, this absorbing novel with a Holdenesque narrator delivers a raw and arresting new voice in literature." —Booklist (starred review)
“Romina Paula is an extraordinary and distinct new literary voice. I texted photos of almost every page of this novel to my friends. August is enviable in its unpretentiousness, feminism, and intelligence. It is a rare gift to be able to write what I thought of as a voice-driven emotional thriller. I wanted to live inside of August, and am now Paula’s biggest fan.” —Chloe Caldwell, author of I'll Tell You in Person
“In Romina Paula’s August, the narrator returns to her native village, but the person she yearns to see is no longer there. She proceeds to address us as ‘you,’ the missing person, in an urgent, generous, often funny voice rife with confidences, reminiscent of an adolescent sharing important, whispered truths for the first time to the only person she can trust. Ingeniously constructed around this absent interlocutor, ‘you,’ that the reader stands in for, this second novel breathes with feverish life.” —Maxine Swann, author of Flower Children
“Croft’s translation of this hyperlocal and/yet global tale of the lonely pressures of womanhood and loyalty bristles against sentimentality at the same time that it insists how much we must turn to language to realize emotion. August’s confessions are rinsed in the waters of the intellect and thus give a large purchase on the readers’ imaginations: a book of deft fury and defter beauty.” —Joan Naviyuk Kane, author of Milk Black Carbon
“Dazed with grief, a young woman pours out her heart to a beloved friend who committed suicide, in a stream of consciousness that scatters the page with the ashes of home, popular songs, horrific news items, movie plots, pets, vermin, and exes old and new. In this pitch-perfect performance of actress Romina Paula's novel of a chilly autumn homecoming in Patagonia, Jennifer Croft conjures a millennial voice that is raw and utterly real.” —Esther Allen, coeditor of In Translation