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August
     

August

by Romina Paula, Jennifer Croft (Translator)
 

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

Overview

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.

Romina Paula is one of the most interesting figures under forty currently active on the Argentine literary scene: a playwright, novelist, director, and actor. This is her first book to be translated into English.

Jennifer Croft is a writer, translator, and critic. She is the recipient of Fulbright, PEN, and National Endowment for the Arts grants, as well as the Michael Henry Heim Prize.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“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

Kirkus Reviews
2017-01-23
A young woman returns home five years after her best friend's suicide.When they were 16, Emilia's best friend, Andrea, committed suicide. Five years have passed. Now, Emilia is living in Buenos Aires when Andrea's parents invite her back to their rural Patagonian town for a ceremony to scatter Andrea's ashes. This is the first book by Paula, an accomplished Argentinian actor, director, and writer, to be translated into English. The novel is narrated by Emilia, who addresses herself directly to Andrea (referring to "you," "your parents," "your house," and so on), and it is a lucid and vibrant account. In Buenos Aires, Andrea's death had come to seem distant, even abstract; back in their hometown, however, Emilia is faced with the truth of the death and its permanence. But she is also faced with the other particulars of the life she left behind: her father with his new wife and new kids (Emilia's mother left her family when she was a child); and Emilia's former lover has moved on, as well. Emilia is a chatty narrator, and her account is crammed with pop-culture references, slang, mild cursing, and the kind of repetitive, obsessive thought processes familiar to anyone who's lived through their early 20s. You can practically hear her talking out loud. Here she is soon after her arrival at Andrea's house: "Anyway, so dinner with your parents was great, albeit with me performing acrobatics the entire time in order to avoid or not broach certain topics. Basically they asked about my life in Buenos Aires, if I liked it, if I'd adapted, who I was hanging out with there…they asked if I was happy with my job, and here I edited a little bit and told them just about the good stuff," and on, and on. It's an engaging, frequently moving story, and its only fault is that we don't hear more about Andrea and the specifics of her death. In contrast, there's a great deal of focus on Julián, Emilia's ex-boyfriend, which eventually becomes tiresome. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558614307
Publisher:
Feminist Press at CUNY, The
Publication date:
05/16/2017
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author


Romina Paula is one of the most interesting figures under forty currently active on the Argentine literary scene: a playwright, novelist, director, and actor. Her two novels to date (¿Vos me querés a mí? and Agosto) have enjoyed extraordinary popularity and critical acclaim. The plays she has written and directed (including El tiempo todo entero, based on The Glass Menagerie, and Fauna) have been positively reviewed in every major publication in Argentina. As an actress, Paula appeared in Santiago Mitre’s 2011 The Student, Gustavo Taretto’s 2011 Sidewalls, Matías Piñeiro’s 2009 They All Lie, as well as his 2014 The Princess of France, which played at the 2015 Chicago International Film Festival.

Jennifer Croft is the recipient of Fulbright, PEN, and National Endowment for the Arts grants, as well as the Michael Henry Heim Prize. Her translations from Polish, Spanish, and Ukrainian have appeared in The New York Times, n+1, Electric Literature, BOMB, Guernica, The New Republic, and elsewhere. She holds a PhD from Northwestern University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. She is a founding editor of The Buenos Aires Review.

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