August: An extraordinary debut novel about ordinary life

Callan Wink’s coming-of-age novel in the US heartland confirms him as a major talent

Callan Wink: His writing has the deceptive simplicity of greats such as Hemingway or Carver. Photograph: Dan Lahren

Callan Wink: His writing has the deceptive simplicity of greats such as Hemingway or Carver. Photograph: Dan Lahren

“August figured that somewhere along the line cats had struck a bargain – they knew they could expect to feel a man’s boot if they came too close; in return, they kept their freedom and nothing much was expected of them.”

Callan Wink is an understated writer who doesn’t go in for obvious symbolism, choosing instead details that bring the backdrop of his fiction to life. But it is hard not to make the link between the aforementioned cats and the protagonist of Wink’s captivating debut novel.

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