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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August Paperback – October 21, 2014
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*Starred Review* Harry August isn’t human. Well, that’s not quite accurate. He is human but a different sort of human from the rest of us: he was born (in the ladies’ washroom of a train station in England in 1919), he lives a certain number of years, and he dies—and then he’s born again, right back where he started, and a handful of years later his memories of his first life return. Harry is, like a few others, a kalachakra, an immortal who is constantly reborn, each time with all the memories of his previous lives. This wonderful novel, narrated by Harry, ranges back and forth in time as he recounts episodes from his various lives, but it’s all held together by a compelling mystery involving nothing less than the end of the world itself (a thousand years in the future). Beautifully written and structured, the book should be a big hit with SF fans. The pseudonymous author’s name is being kept secret, but fans of SF and fantasy authors China Mieville, Christopher Priest, and Adam Roberts might note a stylistic similarity, especially in the novel’s elegant prose. Whoever Claire North turns out to be, he or she has written a remarkable book. --David Pitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"I don't say this lightly but The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is one of the top ten books I've ever read."―James Dashner, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Maze Runner
"An astonishing re-invention of the time travel narrative. Bold, magical and masterful."―Mike Carey
"A thoughtful and considered time-travel novel, shocking twists and, most important of all, a beautiful character. Harry August will break your heart fifteen times."―James Shurin
"A subtle study of friendship, love and the complexity of existence."―Eric Brown, Guardian
"Wonderful novel... held together by a compelling mystery involving nothing less than the end of the world itself. Beautifully written and structured...a remarkable book."―Booklist (Starred Review)
"A tremendously entertaining ride... You're sure to enjoy the trip."―Toronto Sunday Star
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Storytelling is good, characters good, mood etc good.
Only flaw is a torture story that seems an add-on as the logic behind the situation leaves you wondering why it was necessary. I could do without the cruelty that actually made no difference to the story.
Always so good to read something with a fresh twist, I can easily recommend it!
You'll know the premise of the story from the editorial blurb and previous reviews, but what I hope to convey is how beautifully it is told. The narrator shares the stories of his lifetimes, at times recalling stories you already know, expanding on those, clarifying details you just realized needed clarifying, and seamlessly bouncing back to the 'present'. The narration is so natural, it feels as if the reader and storyteller are having a conversation. That may be the highest praise I can give a book.