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The Other Half of Augusta Hope

Length: 12 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (71 ratings)

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Summary

This is a story for anyone who has ever felt like they don't belong.

Augusta Hope has never felt like she fits in. 

At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.

And now that she's an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia. When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta's life, she's propelled headfirst into the unknown. She's determined to find where she belongs - but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away? 

©2019 Joanna Glen (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"I found it both a mesmerisingly beautiful portrait of a young woman discovering what home means to her, and a poignant depiction of how our actions can touch other people's lives in ways we could never have anticipated. Augusta and Parfait are wonderful characters; I was willing them on to find the happiness and peace they both deserved." (Sarah Haywood, author of The Cactus)

"The most gutsy, endearing and entertaining meditation on the meaning of human existence that you're ever likely to read." (Deborah Orr) 

"Keep the tissues close." (Good Housekeeping)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Powerful stuff

This is a beautiful, emotional and thought provoking story with excellent narration. Although there are many uplifting moments, it’s probably not one to listen to if you’re feeling low.
The reason for the loss of a star for me personally is in part down to a couple of threads that I really wish had been, if not tied up, at least properly addressed in the epilogue. The other thing that drove me potty at times was the constant he said, she said, they said, I said business. I believe it was an artistic decision to add a sort of rhythmic poetry to the book, rather than a case of bad editing, but it drove me around the bend in places!

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A gripping and moving first novel

I really enjoyed this debut novel - it is crammed with emotional strengths from dire distress to inner happiness. It is the story of very unlike twin sisters Augusta and Julia bound by the ties of childhood and twindom. Their childhood in the the very ordinary part of England with prickly mother (who loves Julia best) and good, hard-working, dull-seeming father.is superbly created. The family holiday in Spain is a source of division between the sisters lurking unexplained in the narrative for much of the book. The story takes the family through to the twins' mid-twenties, growing up and taking different paths, Augusta to Durham university, Julia staying at home with boyfriend Diego; their parents too growing old created with such insight. Augusta is different - her love of words from childhood carries her through life, feeding her soul with the pleasure she gets from words, their derivations and connotations, also marking her out as different. I loved that theme.

Right from the beginning we know that Augusta ends up living in Spain because she tells the story, and we know that the second narrator read by Jude Owusu is Parfait, a refugee from Burundi living in Spain, and that their paths will cross. The weaving of these two voices - of Augusta and Parfait - are woven together with great skill.

I can't say more about the plot because it would spoil the way that events play out and ripple through the whole narrative. You just have to listen to it and be enchanted and totally engrossed.

The only reservation I have is that (I expect many will disagree) the ending slips a little into fairy-tale-with-a-moral which makes a warm and positive ending, but doesn't quite go realistically with all that goes before - which has been total realism.

It's exceptionally well read - Stephanie Racine is totally immersed in all the nuances and subtleties.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story, narration needed reigning back.

The story itself was wonderful and the language exquisite. the o my thing I disliked was the last reading Augusta's part. Occasionally the narration was read in a way I didn't think the author intended. It was irritating when portraying Augusta as a young girl and I felt there was sarcasm or an immaturity to her annunciation which I felt contradicted the character. Had I read it for myself her voice would have been different.

Don't let it out you off though, it becomes less and less through the book and the writing is strong enough to handle it.

2 people found this helpful

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Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful

One of the best books I’ve ever read. Beautifully written, very unusual story, need my sleep now as it’s had me awake until the early hours. Just had to finish it.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful

Although it took me a couple of chapters to get into this book, once I did I was hooked. Fabulous characters with a story to tell and perfect narration. I am sorry to have finished listening.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful book

Such a cleaver book and beautifully written. Really understands grief, particularly sibling grief without being a heavy book. I lost my brother and it’s so rare for books to get the feelings like. It’s a book that pulls on your heart strings and warms the heart. Truly one of best books I’ve read in a long long time!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Awesome

I loved this book, it is so cleverly written. I highly recommend it. I guess the story is improbable in reality, but the people and the places, the words and the wonderful sentiment make that completely irrelevant!!

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Not as advertised

Based on the title and the description of the story I was expecting great things from this book, but I'm 4 hours from the end and basically nothing has happened.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating

An unexpected pleasure, this book is beautifully written.

Two fantastic stories in one that come together in a delightful way.

I was Compelled to hear more each day I couldn’t stop listening.
A work of art
Thank you

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Beautiful

A story of love and loss, beautifully written with characters full of depth. Narrated skillfully. I want to listen to it again and again. Didn't want it to end