The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

So I’ve been swamped the last couple of weeks but I did manage to read this book and I thought I’d share my latest MirandomReviews post. So check it out!
July 17, 2015

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August By Claire NorthNarrated by Peter KennyReviewed by Miranda Boyer The First Fifteen
Lives of Harry August is a book unparalleled by most. I picked this book up
in an audio format.  First let me say
this note about Peter Kenny, he is hands down one of the best narrators I’ve
ever had the privilege of listening too. Throughout this book, there is an
endless array of accents, even by our main character and Kenny handles each
flawlessly. Not only does is voice add to the story, I can’t imagine that this
superlative novel being told any other way. The First Fifteen
Lives of Harry August explores the meaning of time, life, friendship, and
personal fate in awe-inspiring premise. Harry, our protagonist is reborn life
after life as himself, same year, same family, same everything. Reincarnation
or Groundhog’s day on steroids, I suppose we’ll never know. Each beginning of
his lives is identical to the first with the exception that by the age of four
or five Harry remembers the entirety of each of his former lives. At first, in
his second life, Harry and his family think he’s gone mad and he kills himself
by the age of seven. By his third life he’s adjusted to his fate and starts to
understand the advantages to using his knowledge of the world to better his situation.
Soon Harry learns that he is a rare bread of people, the
Kalachakra, who are apart of a secret society, the Cronos Club, spanning all of
time. The club protects and saves young members from the hostage like state of
having to live life as an adolescent repeatedly without being able to change
their own lives. The club also is a way for each member to connect and pass
messages through time both forward and backwards. Harry receives such a message
in his eleventh life from a little girl: The world is ending, much like it
always does, but at an accelerated rate and far sooner then it should.I found that Harry is most fascinating when he’s at his most
reflective moments in the book. Harry endures some atrocious experiences in multiple
lives; he often looks back in a retrospective way with an almost cold historian
like dispassion that edges on inhuman. This wall he’s built up around himself
protects him from every experience he’s had in his more then 900 years on
earth. Once in a while that wall cracks, and when those emotions come out and
Harry can’t catalog them as a third party anymore, that’s when Harry is most
compelling. The internal battle between what he dispassionately knows needs to
be completed and what he emotionally desires to do instead makes for a
beautiful read. Claire North aka Catherine Webb is a skilled writer who
strings a number of deeply complex events together flawlessly in a clear and
compelling narrative. I couldn’t put this down.
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

By Claire North

Narrated by Peter Kenny

Reviewed by Miranda Boyer

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is a book unparalleled by most. I picked this book up in an audio format.  First let me say this note about Peter Kenny, he is hands down one of the best narrators I’ve ever had the privilege of listening too. Throughout this book, there is an endless array of accents, even by our main character and Kenny handles each flawlessly. Not only does is voice add to the story, I can’t imagine that this superlative novel being told any other way.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August explores the meaning of time, life, friendship, and personal fate in awe-inspiring premise. Harry, our protagonist is reborn life after life as himself, same year, same family, same everything. Reincarnation or Groundhog’s day on steroids, I suppose we’ll never know. Each beginning of his lives is identical to the first with the exception that by the age of four or five Harry remembers the entirety of each of his former lives. At first, in his second life, Harry and his family think he’s gone mad and he kills himself by the age of seven. By his third life he’s adjusted to his fate and starts to understand the advantages to using his knowledge of the world to better his situation.

Soon Harry learns that he is a rare bread of people, the Kalachakra, who are apart of a secret society, the Cronos Club, spanning all of time. The club protects and saves young members from the hostage like state of having to live life as an adolescent repeatedly without being able to change their own lives. The club also is a way for each member to connect and pass messages through time both forward and backwards. Harry receives such a message in his eleventh life from a little girl: The world is ending, much like it always does, but at an accelerated rate and far sooner then it should.

I found that Harry is most fascinating when he’s at his most reflective moments in the book. Harry endures some atrocious experiences in multiple lives; he often looks back in a retrospective way with an almost cold historian like dispassion that edges on inhuman. This wall he’s built up around himself protects him from every experience he’s had in his more then 900 years on earth. Once in a while that wall cracks, and when those emotions come out and Harry can’t catalog them as a third party anymore, that’s when Harry is most compelling. The internal battle between what he dispassionately knows needs to be completed and what he emotionally desires to do instead makes for a beautiful read.

Claire North aka Catherine Webb is a skilled writer who strings a number of deeply complex events together flawlessly in a clear and compelling narrative. I couldn’t put this down.

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