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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
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message 1: by Jgrace (last edited May 28, 2020 11:33AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jgrace | 3099 comments The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August - Claire North
Audio performance by Peter Kenny
4 stars

I enjoyed Kate Atikinson’s Life After Life so much that I was afraid that this book would be a disappointing imitation. It wasn’t. There is a similar starting premise, but the books have completely different trajectories.

“Death holds no fear for us. It’s rebirth where the terror lies.”

Harry is a ‘kalachakra’; one who travels through his own life. Each time he dies, he is reborn in exactly the same place, to exactly the same parents. At around 3 years old, the kalachakra begins to achieve consciousness. He remembers his previous lives. All of them. There are variations from life to life, but they all eventually end. Harry is not the only one. There’s about one kalachakra per million births. They reach out to each other. There’s a club, the Cronos Club. The essential club rule is “ can do what you want as long as you don’t bugger it up for the next lot.”

Then someone does try to bugger it up for the next lot. And, Harry is the man to fix it. Even if it takes several lifetimes. Over and over again.The important thing is that Harry can’t forget, ever. No matter what they do to him.

I was afraid the book would become tedious. It didn’t. In each of Harry’s fifteen lives there’s some variation. Sometimes there are small changes. Problems occur when the changes are massive. Harry’s character acquires wisdom, some compassion, extreme cunning, and an edge of coldblooded brutality. He has plenty of time to grapple with philosophy, ethics, and the hard reality of his unique existence. I stayed interested until the end. A good ending. I liked the way the complex plot was resolved.

It was also a good audio performance. Peter Kenny has a lovely voice, which is possibly why I liked Harry as much as I did.

Cora (corareading) | 1453 comments I liked this one too. Nice review.

message 3: by NancyJ (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5945 comments Great review Jgrace. I liked Life after Life, and this sounds interesting.

Jgrace | 3099 comments NancyJ wrote: "Great review Jgrace. I liked Life after Life, and this sounds interesting."

I think Life After Life is the better book for the historical settings and the complexity of the writing. But this was entertaining. It kept my interest and helped me out of a reading slump.

message 5: by Robin P (new)

Robin P | 2197 comments I disliked Life After Life because I felt it was really Death After Death, the message seems to be you are screwed no matter what you do! So I wasn't sure about this one, but maybe I will try it now. In general I love anything to do with time travel, parallel worlds, etc.

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