53. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August: Claire North

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

This was a book club choice which I really didn’t fancy. I thought it sounded very similar to Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and Stephen King’s 11/22/63 neither of which I had much enjoyed (reviews here and here) and a host of other sci-fi, time travelling type stuff (think Groundhog Day  or Quantum Leap). I admit, this initial reluctance may well have clouded my judgement on reading the book but once I start something I do try to keep an open mind and do want to enjoy what I’m reading.

Harry August is a kalachakra. That is, someone who is reborn over and over again into the same life but with their whole memory of previous lives in tact. As a small child, the first time this happens is quite disturbing but as kalachakra’s get ‘older’ they are better able to cope and make use of this information, especially when they discover that they are not alone in this strange existence. In one of Harry’s lives he is told that the world is ending and it transpires that he knows the fellow kalachakra, who is breaking all the rules by changing the ‘linear’ world, causing the problem so, over several lives, he sets out to bring him down.

As I wrote at the start, I just found the basic premise for this book unoriginal. I found Harry uninteresting and all the other characters too briefly explored to have any opinion on them. I think the book is over-long, over-complicated and over-ambitious. It tries to impress you with both science and religious/ philosophical ideas about free-will and determinism but, for me, fails on both counts.

Not my cup of tea. A generous 2 stars.

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3 thoughts on “53. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August: Claire North

  1. The concept of this book sounds interesting but, as you said, it’s certainly been done before. I’m probably not inclined to pick this book up, but I enjoyed reading your review!

    • I don’t really like sci-fi, its got to be said, so I’m not the best person to read/ review a book like this. In one of my book clubs people nominate books and then we vote on which to read and a lot of the others like this sort of thing and they’re enjoying it. I wouldn’t have read it otherwise so I guess that’s one good thing about the club- it widens my horizons! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Pingback: A to Z of Book Thoughts | BookAWeek: A Challenge to Read 52 Books in a Year

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