The Other Half of Augusta Hope is a novel about fitting in, loss, and the people you really have connections with. Augusta loves words and the dictionary. She chooses her favourite country—Burundi—based on its sound and learns all about it. And she’s different to her twin sister Julia. They grow up and when tragedy comes, Augusta realises that she really can’t stay in her hometown with her parents. Alongside this narrative is the story is Parfait, a boy in Burundi who wants to go to Spain, and becomes a man in Spain dealing with what has happened to his siblings.
This is a character-focused novel that has a lot of emotional power. The split narrative that moves between Augusta and Parfait works well to show their parallels and connections, and the narrative in general is well-crafted to foreshadow events. From reading the blurb, the novel sounded less multi-faceted than it actually is, and it was a pleasant surprise to have Parfait’s story as well. It sounded like it could just be a quirky novel similar to others with unusual character names in the title, but actually it covers topics like migrants in Europe and suicide as well as having main characters who don’t fit in.
It is the kind of powerful novel that a lot of people will find resonates with them after they’ve finished it, but which has a hopeful ending to match Augusta’s name.