Catriona I like that you ask this question. It seems it is just Eli: a biblical name. It means “lifted up” or “high”. (Nothing terribly good happened for biblical Eli) August is from Augustus, meaning “venerable” or “esteemed”. I found these meanings on a quick search, so may be not accurate. I waited and waited throughout the book, to find out how they were named so. They are unusual, and don’t really go together, apart from their meanings. In 80s suburban Australia, they would have been difficult names to carry, and parents tended to give their sons more familiar names. I knew a boy called Augustin in the 80s - he hated it, and was known as Aussie (and then Ozzie, after the TV puppet). Even “Gus” was too contrived for him! I thought the Bell boys names were possibly from literature, as Robert is described as a keen reader, but it seems not. So for me, they contribute to the pretentious, lazy, confusing style that overwhelms BSU.