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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  79,585 ratings  ·  9,674 reviews
Alternate cover edition for this ISBN can be found here

Some stories cannot be told in just one lifetime. Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does 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 Ha
Paperback, 405 pages
Published August 28th 2014 by Orbit (first published April 8th 2014)
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Viktor Rasch I felt the same, but chose to slug through it. And while "Yes, it gets better" - it doesn't get a lot better. It gets a little better. The "plot" move…moreI felt the same, but chose to slug through it. And while "Yes, it gets better" - it doesn't get a lot better. It gets a little better. The "plot" moves along better, but it is still interrupted by dull interludes. I finished it simply because I hate giving up on book. (less)
Daniel Lewis No its not like that at all, this is 1,000 times better, its incredibly well written. This is one of the best books I have read this year.

I liked tha…more
No its not like that at all, this is 1,000 times better, its incredibly well written. This is one of the best books I have read this year.

I liked that show and have seen the 13 episodes more than once and think this is vastly superior. (less)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  79,585 ratings  ·  9,674 reviews

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Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Very very Clever! The first half was pretty solid but after that halfway point it took a turn to AWESOME.
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
“This thing you carry inside you, I don’t know what it is. I don’t know where you got it. But Harry, the past is the past. You are alive today. That is all that matters. You must remember, because it is who you are, but as it is who you are, you must never, ever regret. To regret your past is to regret your soul.”
This book is incredible. And I have Mike to blamethank.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that I keep picturing the main character as Eddie Redmayne.

Anyone who knows me will know that this
Vrinda Pendred
WARNING: There are 'spoilers' in this review.

This is possibly the dullest book I've ever read. I suppose that deserves credit of some sort. Like ‘The House of the Seven Gables’, the author excelled at making me feel so claustrophobic and trapped in a realm of endless tedium that I related to the narrator’s disgust with life after suffering through just fifty pages. That’s not the mark of a good story, though.

The 'plot', if you will (and if I sound like I'm speaking in a pretentious poncy way, it
Mar 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Harry August is a kalachakra, a man who is reborn at the same point in time over and over with his memories intact. When a little girl warns Harry on his eleventh death bed that the end of the world is coming sooner with each cycle, Harry goes on the offensive. Can he stop the end of the world, even with the help of the Cronus Club?

I got this from Netgalley.

I love a bit of timey-wimey and this book has it in spades. Remember the movie Groundhog Day where Bill Murray experiences the same day over
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
I'm a little torn as to how to review this book. Obviously, I liked it since I gave it 4 stars. I even think this would be a great movie!
I love the premise and I really wasn't expecting this.

This Sci-Fi/Thriller really intrigued me but at the same time, some parts were a bit slow. It makes sense if you think that we're literally talking about 15 lives though. A lot will happen but the back and forth was a bit much sometimes.

Overall I totally recommend it if the summary interests you!

Craig Allen
1.5 stars. Never have I ever been so happy to finish a book. Reading this one was an absolute chore, but I just couldn't quit because I hate quitting books. And I wanted to see how it ended, so I guess I did care to an extent. It dragged on and on and on and so much history stuff and rambling. I thought it was this terrible book, a cure for insomnia, until I got on here and saw all the 5 star reviews. Maybe it was just not my cup of tea. I will say it picked up in the last 30% or so and the firs ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This was a fascinating SF novel! 4.5 stars. Harry August lives his life, over ... and over ... and over. His memory gradually returns to him when he's a toddler in each life. The first time his prior memories reawaken, in his second life, he thinks he's insane and ends up committing suicide when he's only about seven, only to find himself starting all over again in a third life. Since clearly the suicide route doesn't solve his problem, he gets down to the business of trying to figure out how to ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, whatever I was expecting, it definitely wasn't this. It's historical, it's science fictional, it's a spy novel, it's a long episode of DW sans the time & space travel, it's a spiteful letter of twisted friendships and vengeance. WHAT DOESN'T HAPPEN IN THIS BOOK?! ...more
Matt Quann
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
…fifteen reasons to read The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

1. The Book (or, the short review). It is a fun, fast paced, endlessly readable novel.

2. The Premise. You live, you die, and that’s the end of the road. Except, that’s not quite it for the Ouroborans, who live, die, and are reborn to relive their lives. Think of the Ouroborans as those whose lives end at their beginning.

3. The Lead Character. Harry August is compelling, relatable, and a guy I loved to root for throughout the entire
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that draws inspiration from both Groundhog Day and an episode of X-Files whose name escapes me for now. Harry August is a tough negociator. Whenever Harry relives a section of his life he tries hard to do his best to improve his lot. Yes, the main character relives his childhood and does his best to make amends to change his past experiences.

I thought the premise was something slightly stale that needed to be addressed to make more of an impact. But I forget that this book is very
Christina - Recipe & a Read
3, I really wanted my 100th review to be a 5-star read but alas, this was not it stars!!

Full review featured on my blog Recipe and a Read!

Harry August appears to be just a normal man. Born, living, dying like anyone else you’d see on the streets. The only difference is that Harry August isn’t a normal man, he’s a kalachakra. A person who is reborn at the same point in time over and over again with his memories remaining intact. As Harry’s eleventh life is coming to a close a little girl, perche
I really loved Touch and thought it quite engrossing. I've had this on my shelves for ages, waiting for the right mood to dive in. Alas; either pandemic or the wrong mood. As it is about a man who is always reborn after he dies to the exact same life--think Groundhog's Day only with one's whole life--it just didn't work for me.

I found it too repetitive, even as North tried to pull interest by working in secret societies, government agents, madmen and world cataclysms. I invested a lot in the be
B Schrodinger
Read the blurb and you are going to think like I did. Hasn't 'Groundhog Day' and Ken Grimwood's Replay finished this genre? It's a great premise, but more of a novelty. But then I thought that going into the recent film 'About Time' which charmed my pants off (nothing to do with a goofy red-headed protagonist with the ability to travel through time, no siree).

Surely this novelty situation has been done by now.

Well maybe now it has, because after reading this novel I sure as hell know it certainl
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm almost speechless.

This is one hell of a nonlinear exploration of a repeated life, as can be deduced from the title, but it's also a lot more. It's also a lot better, too.

I loved the premise from the get go. All Groundhog Day but stretched for a whole lifetime, and Harry isn't alone. There are others with effective immortality sharing info through repeated but changeable timelines, allowing for a linear continuation of a setting that can be changed with every single revision.

Claire North di
April is my self-proclaimed "Fantasy/Science Fiction Month"!

Why I chose to read this book:

1. I was intrigued by a review written by my GR friend, Mary;
2. I was fortunate to find this copy a couple of years ago at my local library's annual book sale; and,
3. check out that title!

1. a fascinating depiction of kalachakra/ourobarans - people who loop perpetually through historical events, though their own lives many change. Think of it like the movie Groundhog Day (only much deeper and dark
David Putnam
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. 12-06-2019
I understand how this book would not be for everyone. It’s a story of resurrection. Each time Harry August dies he awakens in the same year as his first life and starts over again. At about age six he reacquires all the knowledge from his previous life. The others of his kind seek each other out. Who hasn’t wished for a second chance, “Knowing what I know now?” Of course, there has to be conflict that carries the story forward and there is a bad
Lindsey Rey
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, science-fiction
WOW WOW WOW! Absolutely LOVED this! My mind is spinning right now.
For most of my time reading this, I didn't think it was necessarily the book's fault that I wasn't enjoying it. I was convinced that it wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't my cup of tea. But now that I've finished it, I'm like "You know what? This is actually a pretty bad book after all." And here's why:
- Harry August has literally zero personality and for the entire book, he felt more like a walking concept than an actual person. Like I said in one of my status updates, it's actually astounding t
4 stars

imagine being over 700 years old, in a child's body...

No no wait-

Imagine being a centuries old child for the 12th time now.

Still makes no sense-

Imagine living out your life, only to be reborn on the same date, same place, in the same body with all your memories intact.....forever

That's basically what Harry August's entire existence entails.

I am Harry August, born New Year’s Day 1919.
I am sixty-eight years old.
I am eight hundred and ninety-nine.

Doesn't that (sort of) remind you
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hot damn.

Good God.

This book was fan-tas-tic.

I read it through NetGalley before it was published. I finished it in one and a half days and as I type this, my husband is reading it. What began as me-forcing-him to sit down and read it turned into voluntary enslavement within the first few pages.

The main character of this book is clearly--Harry August. He is one of a few people on our Earth who live their lives over and over again. They call themselves kalachakras or ouraboras. (I can't check my
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A triumph for this very young author, surprisingly mature - and fun!

Superb in every way... Wonderfully written, excellent pacing, complex characters, and the use of science fiction to examine time, mortality and memory - and more.

As you read towards the end, you find Ms North addressing one of the deepest questions of science: not: Can we do this, but: Should we do this.

Honestly, for such a young author to address these issues so eloquently, it occurs to me that she must be like her protagonists
Sep 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
I went in expecting to love this book. The premise is definitely mysterious and intriguing, and the first chapter sets up the story beautifully, with just enough vagueness to keep you interested. However, I ended up just mildly enjoying it, thus the 3 star rating.

Harry August is a "kalachakra", a person who relives their life from birth to death multiple times, while keeping the memories and knowledge gathered during their previous lives. There are some other kalachakras in the world, most of th
Added 8/3/2018: Here is a really great interview with the author (real name: Catherine Webb) from a podcast I enjoy. Now back to your regularly scheduled review from 2015.
"The world is ending. The message has come down from child to adult, child to adult, passed back down generations from a thousand years forward in time. The world is ending and we cannot prevent it. So now it's up to you."
Typically this would be the moment when our hero-protagonist would leap into action and save the day
Sara (sarawithoutanH)
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The concept of this book was absolutely fascinating. I would love to read about it from more characters - there's just so much that could be done with it. The writing was also fabulous. This was a random read that pleasantly surprised me. I took off a star only because I didn't love what the plot ended up fixating on toward the end, but overall it was still very good. ...more
Bill Khaemba
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fav-2016
ACTUAL RATING: 4.75 Holy Fuck!
“The most it ever seems we know how to do with time, is to waste it.”

Predestination (Without the Incest) meets Time traveler’s wife (without the romance) add the thrill of Shutter Island

I have been dying to read this ever since I had the premise from Peruse Project’s Youtube Channel (Here), I wasn’t sure if I would have ever come across the physical book but when it magically appeared on a thrift shop I had to pick i
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first this book reminded me very much of Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. The main character is reborn repeatedly in the same place to the same people but in this story Harry is able to retain all of his memories from each life and use them to change how he lives. It is a fascinating concept and the author frequently left me completely befuddled about the logistics - my fault, not hers as she explained everything really well! The main issue of course is how small changes can have repercussion ...more
Apr 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
RTC when I stopped crying - which will not be this evening.

Okay … I slept a night over it. The 5 stars still stand, but I will honestly admit that these are very emotional and personal 5 stars. Dispassionately seen it probably would be a good 4 star read.

As with all time travel stories there are inconsistencies and illogical parts when one thinks too much about what is going on. So as with all time travel stories the reader just has to go along with the technicalities, which is no problem for th
The theme of a character reliving the same life over and over will no doubt have you thinking of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life*, but this book is so much better. Perhaps simply because of the first-person narration, I developed much more of a fondness for Harry August and his multiple life stories than I ever did for Ursula Todd.

“I am not one Harry August but many, a mind flicking from parallel life to parallel life...when I die, the world carries on without me, altered by my deeds, marked by
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No matter how old he is when he dies..he always goes back to the beginning.

As Harry August nears the end of his 11th life, he is approached by a little girl who says "I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message" and so begins the story. The story of a man who lives, who dies, who lives the same life again, but with the knowledge of each life he has lived before. Whew! Got it. He is born, he lives, he dies, he is born (same parents) and lives the same life, with the k
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, favorites, read_2019
Harry August is a kalachakra; a person cursed or gifted depending on your point of view, to be born again over and over and over. He retains his memories from each of his previously lives yet his place of birth, family, and social status remain the same. The only thing he can change, is how soon he's able to ditch the homestead for a more promising life with those like him (he learns of others over the course of his many lives).

The premise of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is intriguin
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Claire North is actually Catherine Webb, a Carnegie Medal-nominated young-adult novel author whose first book, Mirror Dreams, was written when she was just 14 years old. She went on to write seven more successful YA novels.

Claire North is a pseudonym for adult fantasy books written by Catherine Webb, who also writes under the pseudonym Kate Griffin.

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