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Wildly original funny and moving The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is an extraordinary story of a life lived again and again from World Fantasy Award winning author Claire NorthHarry August is on his deathbed AgainNo matter what he does. I don t really understand the reviews that said this book was slow paced I read it in a single week and had a tough time putting it down For a book about a man who is literally immortal this book actually moves along at a decent clipFirst the bad I will say that at points this book gets caught up in its own brilliance and comes across as a little pretentious and heavy handed At other times the author seemed to deliberately choose the most confusing possible way of getting an idea across and a few pages I had to reread several times to understand most of Vincent s conversations with Harry especially at the beginning were this way Some of the emotionally weighty moments were given a bit TOO much weight and rather than being memorable in the way of a beautiful view are instead memorable in the way of getting slapped rather sluggishly with a wet towelThat said I was so enraptured that when I finished this book and realized it was nearly five hundred pages I was stunned because it hadn t felt nearly so long It takes a while to get going the first half of the book is world building and exposition but done so exuisitely and with such originality that I found that I didn t really care where it was going only that I was along for the ride The book regains its focus at about the halfway point where all of the exposition from the first half suddenly clicks into place I feel the ending of the book would not have been nearly so powerful had the author not taken as much time in the beginning to give her story weightWhat I dismissed in the beginning as a failure to explain the mechanics of her world was instead a vital piece of Harry s moral struggle we don t know how the kalachakra work but neither does he and what is the price of finding out Similarly scenes whose point I did not understand turned out to be vitally important for Harry s development and decision making anything involving Phearson for example and because of these scenes Harry is remarkably well developed for a character who spends half the book pretending to be a blank slateThe characters are very complex the plot is complicated but fairly easy to understand the world is wonderfully strange There s so much to chew on in this book and uite a lot to parse both thematically and narratively This book comes together at the end so beautifully that I was tempted to immediately start a second read through just to put it all together a bit better It has its rough points and perhaps could have been streamlined better but the overall experience was so exuisite that I have to give it five stars

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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

Or the decisions he makes when death comes Harry always returns to where he began a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before Nothing ever changes Until now As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life a l. premise but with a twist The title character is the bastard son of an English lord and a kitchen maid who was born on January 1 1919 The maid died giving birth but the boy is adopted by the lord s gamekeeper and his wife August lives a long life but after his death he finds himself reborn as exactly the same person at the same place and time with all of his memories intact In his third life he finds people in the same predicament as him and joins a secret society known as the Cronus Club They also call themselves Ourobourans and Kalichakrans and have learned to pass information both to the past and to the future The story is told in first person in a non linear manner and August has gone through fifteen lives up to that point The plot is full of twists and is hard to put down when you get to the last hundred pages Two aspects of this novel reminded me of Anne Rice s Interview with the Vampire The lives August experiences the detached he becomes from ordinary human emotions and his nemesis and friend Victor another Ourobouran has already become a complete sociopath much like Rice s vampires after they have lived a few centuries Also the first few years after he is reborn while he is physically a child he is emotionally an old man like Rice s vampire Claudia who became a vampire as a child

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Ittle girl appears at his bedside I nearly missed you Doctor August she says I need to send a messageThis is the story of what Harry does next and what he did before and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow. I picked up this book in Waterstones cafe last year The beginning intrigued me so I bought a copyThe premise is that Harry August is re born each time he dies He lives his life over again albeit never in the same way He accumulates knowledge and experience across his lifetimes as do others of his rare kindThe story becomes something of a time travelling thriller a cat and mouse chase over several repeated lifetimes I am sorry to say that the characters lacked credibility and depth I would say a good idea that needed a better writer


8 thoughts on “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

  1. says:

    I don't really understand the reviews that said this book was slow paced I read it in a single week and had a tough time putting it down. For a book about a man who is literally immortal, this book actually moves along at a decent clip.

    First, the bad: I will say that, at points, this book gets caught up in its own brillianc

  2. says:

    What if you could life forever but instead of living in past, present and future, you live the same few decades of your life over and over agai

  3. says:

    premise but with a twist. The title character is the bastard son of an English lord and a kitchen maid who was born on January 1, 1919. The maid died giving birth, but the boy is adopted by the lord’s gamekeeper and his wife. August lives a long life but after his death he finds himself reborn as exactly the same person at the same place and time with all of his memories intact. In his third life, he finds people in

  4. says:

    Harry August has a pretty ordinary life. He is born in Berwick upon Tweed in 1919 and dies in a hospital in Newcas

  5. says:

    I picked up this book in Waterstones’ cafe last year. The beginning intrigued me., so I bought a copy.

    The premise is that Harry August

  6. says:

    Takes one to know one, they say. Well clearly Miss North has to be a mnemonic, for imagination doesn’t stretch so far and

  7. says:

    What an astonishing book! Harry August is born, lives an unremarkable life, and dies. Then he is born again in the same circumstances, but as he grows from infancy to childhood he remembers all of his previous life. At first it drives him mad, but he finds that suicide doesn't stop the repeat. So he gets used to it, prospers much better at school, is able to make better decisions about his life, and knows how to stay out of dange

  8. says:

    Mind blowing reworking of past life premise, Claire North (yes I do know it's her pen name) has written a pearl of a book here. In a nut shell, there is a hidden group of people who when they die, are reborn with their conscious mind and all their memories from ALL previous lives intact. Obviously, the second time they realise at ag