Title: August Falling
Author: Les Zig
Published: September 1st 2018
Publisher: Pantera Press
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 stars
Sometimes we can’t escape it.
After a bad break-up, August is trying to piece his life back together. It’s not perfect – his flat is small, he works in a call centre, he can’t finish the book he’s working on, and he’s hopelessly awkward when it comes to relationships.
When August meets Julie, he finds she’s everything he isn’t – confident, composed, and purposeful, despite her troubled childhood. With her, August finally feels he can be himself.
But Julie has a secret – one that threatens to plummet August right back into the miseries of his past.
August Falling is Australian author Les Zig’s second novel, following his debut, Just Another Week in Suburbia, which was shortlisted for the Hachette Manuscript Development Program. Les Zig’s latest novel is a strong composition, marked by well defined characters and thought provoking themes. August Falling would be an ideal book club choice, as there are a plethora of themes and ideas to discuss. There is a great set of accompanying book club notes at the close of the book, which would support book club discussions.
Described by fellow author Laurie Steed as ‘raw, poignant ad unflinching’, August Falling is the very raw tale of a man trying to cope with the ghosts of his past and reconcile this emotional baggage with his future. When we meet Les Zig’s lead, August, he is nursing a broken heart. A debilitating break up has left him in pieces. His life is uninspiring; he works in a call centre (perhaps one of the worst jobs on earth!) and he resides in a poky flat. He has been dreaming of publishing a book he has on the go and to top it all off, August is socially inept. By chance, August meets Julie, a woman he is immediately drawn to. Julie is quite the opposite of August, she is resolute and assured. She has a fairly heartbreaking background and she is dedicated to caring for her infirm aunt. As August begins to open up and let Julie into his life, a big secret about his new love interest is revealed. This secret has the power to make or break this new couple and it may have August retreating back to his old self. August Falling is a book that considers the past and the power it has over us.
When I read a book I always like to absorb the acknowledgements section. I noted in August Falling that the author of this novel, Les Zig, sites the influence of an Australian author I absolutely love, Kim Lock, in the building process of August Falling. It sent a sense of excitement through me and I was definitely very enthusiastic about delving into this one. I also love to discover new Australian authors, so August Falling had great initial appeal.
I got a strong feeling of Graeme Simsion as I read August Falling, if you are a fan of his work (I am) I’m sure this novel which sit well with you. Zig’s lead protagonist August has shades of Don Tillman, Simsion’s lead and the humour lines are markedly similar. August has a complicated and sad back story. He has been cut badly in the past and he now carries around a lot of baggage. August is quite flawed, he has trouble interacting and socialising with others. He also has a self defeatist attitude. It is good to see August blossom as the book progresses and step outside his comfort zone. Sometimes it is hard not to want to shake August in the decisions he makes. His single minded nature at times did get under my skin, but he has his endearing moments too. I particularly liked his relationship with his dear and caring sister Gen. I also enjoyed the narrative thread that revolves around August’s writing and his hopes for his book, it was an interesting touch.
Supporting August are some memorable side characters and of course Julie, August’s love interest. When Julie enters to picture the book has a markedly changed outlook, which I liked. Julie is outlined well by Zig and her secret, which delivered a whopping plot twist, was quite unexpected on my behalf! The scenario Les Zig presents definitely makes the reader think once or twice about what they would do if they were placed in the same bind as August!
As we are warned in the hooking first line of August Falling, this is no straightforward romance and walk in the park style love story. It opens up the wounds of love, lust and relationships. There are scabs, nasty ones, but there is also hope and opportunities for change. The dialogue and sense of realism, an almost no holds back style of exploring modern relationships from a refreshing male point of view, was very much welcomed by this reader. I think there needs to be more of this style of modern life drama out in the book world. So kudos to Les Zig for carving out a niche in the publishing world. I also appreciated the conclusion to this novel, it isn’t predictable and it is very much suited to the overall direction of this novel.
A word of warning, unfortunately a couple of aspects in this novel didn’t quite work for me. August Falling contains some graphic sex scenes, but I was able to see that these sequences were in keeping with the direction of the novel. I also had some trouble with placement of explicit language in places, particularly the use of the c-word. Although this isn’t to my personal taste, some readers will be able to overlook this issue.
My final verdict? August Falling is an introspective tale and it offers a very contemporary glance at a man reconciling his past, present, future and belief system. The writing is fresh and sharp. I look forward to exploring more books from Les Zig in the near future.
August Falling by Les Zig was published on 1st September 2018 by Pantera Press. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of August Falling, Les Zig visit here.
*Please note that a free copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes through Beauty & Lace and Pantera Press. To read the original review on the Beauty & Lace website please visit here.