Title: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Author:
 Claire North
Narrator: Peter Kenny

Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. Every time Harry dies, he is reborn in exactly the same time and place, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, and nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears by his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August," she says. "I need to send a message back with you. It has come down from child to adult, child to adult, passed back down the generations from a thousand years forward in time. The message is that the world is ending, and we cannot prevent it. So it's now up to you." This is the story of what Harry August does next -- and what he did before -- and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow. It is a story of friendship and betrayal, of love and loneliness, loyalty and redemption, and the inevitable march of time.

Bookshelf: Audible, Fiction

Review
★★★★☆

What would you do if you lived the same life over and over again for hundreds, maybe even thousands, of years? In Clair North's book, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, this is exactly what Harry struggles with. He is born, lives his life, and dies but it doesn't stop there. He is reborn in exactly the same time and place with all the memories and knowledge of his past life.

While North gives us many challenging concepts about the nature of time, fate, life after death, god, science, and memories, what strikes me the most are the questions about what our purpose in life is and the impacts our actions have on the world around us. Would I try to change things knowing that everything will be back to the way they were when I die? At what lengths would I go to find out why I am the way that I am? Would I eventually start to see "normal people" as expendable characters to my unending story?

The book is slow to start but builds the characters flawlessly. The plot unfolds beautifully and my patience is well rewarded. The narrator does a wonderful job making the flow of the novel more enjoyable. I have to warn you that if you have issues with horrendous torture both physical and psychological, gruesome violence, suicide, manipulation, murder, and intense cruelty, this might not be a book for you.

I find this novel quite enjoyable, wonderful to listen to, and leaves me with a lot of deep thoughts and questions about myself and my reality.

 

Published by Andie Kingsley