Synopses & Reviews
Little did Aldous Jones know when he careened over his bicycle handlebars back in 1955, landing next to farmer Evans's field, that it would turn into the idyllic start to a series of camping holidays in that same field. With Gerard Woodward's deadpan wit and poignant evocation, encapsulates the portrait of the Joneses and their growing family. Strangely enough, the rural site seems to change in conjunction with their city life, creating a parallel universe instead of a getaway. The Jones family also is featured in and .
"Shortlisted for the Whitbread in 2001, Woodward's novel is the first in a trilogy focusing on the expansive, deeply troubled Jones family. (The books have been published out of sequence in the U.S.) An accident on a Welsh bicycling tour in 1955 leads Aldous Jones to discover the farm that will be the site of subsequent holidays. Every summer that follows, Aldous pitches tents for his rapidly burgeoning young family in the pastures of the good-natured, seemingly unchangeable Evans family, which serves as an annual mirror for the Joneses. Alas, Jones family life, despite its simple joys of mountain climbing, practical jokes and bicycling, is not nearly so idyllic as among the Evans clan. Eldest Jones son Janus, a brilliant pianist, develops dark fixations and antisocial tendencies. Aldous's wife, Colette, originally a vivacious, nurturing mother, rapidly descends into drug use. Quiet, unassuming Aldous, the figure at the eye of so much drama, becomes the novel's most compelling character only near its anticlimactic, elegiac end. Woodward's vision of family life is bleak indeed; although tempered by moments of levity, whimsy and descriptions of the lovely landscape, the narrative is virtually devoid of solace or redemption, finding only heartbreak in familial evolution." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Shortlisted for the Whitbread Award, "August" is the life of a family through 15 summer trips to Wales. This unforgettable first novel revels in nostalgia for post-war England.
Shortlisted for the Whitbread Award, is the life of a family through fifteen summer trips to Wales.
About the Author
Gerard Woodward is the author of the Booker Prize finalist I'll Go to Bed at Noon and A Curious Earth. He was born in London in 1961, and published several prize-winning collections of poetry before turning to fiction.