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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August | [Claire North]

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

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 Harry nears the end of his 11th life, a little girl appears at his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August," she says. "I need to send a message." This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.
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Publisher's Summary

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 Harry nears the end of his 11th life, a little girl appears at his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August," she says. "I need to send a message."

This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

©2014 Claire North (P)2014 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

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  •  
    Nathan London, Ontario Canada 09-23-14
    Nathan London, Ontario Canada 09-23-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    56
    ratings
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    Story
    "Read for the concepts and not for the characters"

    Finished reading: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North.
    The classic question: if you could live your life again, what would you do differently knowing what you know now? For Harry August this isn't hypothetical, he is born, lives, dies and is reborn again at the exact same day and place as before. The premise has been explored before in Groundhog day and Edge of Tomorrow but having to live his whole life again is a big difference.
    This is a book about concepts and big picture plot. Explores how an individuals would react, what kind of secret society would form, deal with the tediousness of childhood, try different careers, and keeping life interesting. This allows other concepts like alternative history and pre-crime prevention to be examined.
    This kind of story needs many characters and settings but only two characters are really developed. While the concepts that are introduced are interesting to think about the story narrative is only adequate. There no interesting characters to draw you in and no risk or thrill until the last third.
    Narrator was excellent keeping the different characters and accents distinct.
    The story is slow and not a page turner. Read if your an ideas person.

    36 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Hartmann D.C. & St. Croix 04-30-14
    C. Hartmann D.C. & St. Croix 04-30-14

    Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science

    HELPFUL VOTES
    464
    ratings
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    "A Very Tough Read -- but perhaps worth it"

    This is a tough book -- there is a lot physical and psychological torture. The idea is not new, but it is well-done. Excellent narration. That all said, I enjoyed the intellectual challenges. It was like reading Kafka -- a book that ends up being as much about you as it is about the character. More literature than Science Fiction despite the excellent time-travel "rules." It put me in mind of "the Man in the Empty Suit".

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Kansas City, MO, United States 04-16-15
    Stephanie Kansas City, MO, United States 04-16-15 Member Since 2014

    Hi, I'm Stephanie and I'm addicted to Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    Story
    "Come for the time travel and stay for Harry"
    Any additional comments?

    I admittedly am a time travel geek, so I was thrilled to discover this book. I was surprised at how much I cared about Harry. And I love that the authro didn't take it down the love story path completely. It would have been less of a book. The narrator was great and impressively nailed several accents. His accents for Victor were creepy and spot on. I also loved the concept of the Cronus club. In so many of the time travel books, the protagonist is so lonely in their journey. The club brought a nice twist to it.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim 11-29-14
    Jim 11-29-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thought Provoking"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would, but I also know not everyone would "get" this book. It is a bit hard to follow, and the characters are a bit confusing at times, but I loved the idea of the story.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August?

    The buildup to the 15th life was good.


    Which character – as performed by Peter Kenny – was your favorite?

    Well, I suppose it would have to be Harry since he was the dominant character through the whole thing.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Life doesn't always end the way you expect.


    Any additional comments?

    Very enjoyable. More so for the story than the characters.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Kim 05-01-14
    Kevin Kim 05-01-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "This is something I'd revisit every lifetime!"
    What made the experience of listening to The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August the most enjoyable?

    While at first the non-linear story telling, jumping back and forth in Harry August's lives, I really enjoyed the pace in the end. It revealed the necessary parts bit by bit and left me wanting more, as any good story should, whilst still leaving me satisfied, as every great book must.


    If you could rename The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, what would you call it?

    Harry August and the Chronos Club. To emulate the Harry Potter series. Only because I want 6 more books to explore the world Harry August lives in.


    Any additional comments?

    It's just damn good. Give it a listen.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AudioBookReviewer Madison, WI, United States 04-02-15
    AudioBookReviewer Madison, WI, United States 04-02-15 Member Since 2011

    All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It is a beautifully written book"

    Harry August dies at the end of each life only to be reborn as himself, an orphaned bastard in the early 20th Century; and each time he remembers…everything. At first he thinks he is insane, then he discovers others like himself, living the same life over and over again. They have formed clubs around the world. Some have become jaded and bored, indulging in wealth, sex and drugs, while others like Harry continue to search for knowledge. Harry is unique in another way, unlike the others who relive their lives, he remembers every moment in absolute, perfect detail.

    It is a beautifully written book, switching easily between Harry’s many lives like a darting bird. There are many challenging concepts of time and God which will keep the listener thinking hard. One especially clever idea was other life repeaters able to communicate with those in earlier or later periods through graffitied artifacts or youths finding their predecessors just before death. Mind bending stuff.

    The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August has a 19th Century SciFi feel to the book, something like H.G. Wells or Jules Verne. The descriptive elements of the novel unfold gently and beautifully, and the listener is well rewarded for his patience. There is plenty of action and an almost blasé attitude towards some horrendous torture scenes. Harry has seen and done so many things before and knows that he will simply die, reset his life, and do it differently next time. The story and the character develop a great sense of time. It works beautifully.

    Peter Kenny is the narrator and does an excellent job. Harry is British as is Kenny. His voices are well done and always enjoyable. His American accents are quirky and charming, not quite right but fun to listen to none-the-less.

    The Fifteen Lives of Harry August is a wonderful listen and will have you looking for more books by Ms North and/or books narrated by Peter Kenny.

    Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

    28 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cameron Arnold, MD, United States 10-13-14
    Cameron Arnold, MD, United States 10-13-14 Member Since 2011

    A lover of contemporary, character driven sci-fi.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
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    "Unbelievably good"

    This book is an amazing work of fiction- the characters are utterly real, and the premise is engrossing. I'm a picky reader, and this book met every criteria I have for a book that I would recommend to everyone. The actual writing of it sucks you in and makes you want more and more. I found myself coming up with excuses to continue reading.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Bradenton, Florida, United States 05-03-14
    Andy Bradenton, Florida, United States 05-03-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Somewhat disappointed"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The most interesting aspect of Harry's character was his vast knowledge from his previous lives. I don't think this was used enough in the story.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I don't think the romantic aspects were explored enough.


    What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

    No complaints there. He is great.


    Do you think The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I guess I am comparing this book to two similar books (Replay and the Time Travelers Wife). I would re-read one of these before reading another book on Harry.


    Any additional comments?

    Not sorry I listened. I just don't think it was as good as it could have been.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rosa 04-18-14
    Rosa 04-18-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
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    Story
    "Sociopathic tendencies"

    This book had an interesting premise, and once I got the "flow" down I liked the way the author dealt with time. However, the kalachakras that we spend the most time with have strong sociopathic tendencies--so much so that had I been told that the author was exploring a fictional theory on the reincarnation-based creation of sociopaths, I would have believed it.
    Since I had a distaste for the characters, I couldn't engage in their dans macabre or feel any of the pathos the author intended. Yes, the narrator finally reluctantly does what must be done, but how was I supposed to feel a sense of sadness and loss at "the best friend he ever had"--who had manipulated him from day one? Sorry, it left me cold. Really, I've had it with the glorification of sociopaths. Too much of our conceptual space is devoted to their antics.
    The reader seemed like he had trouble engaging with the narrator, too. The only good narration he did was with the "other" characters. I kept listening because I tend to finish books unless they are unbearably technically clumsy. Technically, there is nothing wrong with this book (except for a predictable ending). It is the content and execution that just didn't cut it for me.

    39 of 50 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. 05-10-14
    C. 05-10-14

    In the dictionary, next to the word "bibliophile" there is a picture of me... Ok... it's my dictionary... and I put the picture there.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    "Well read and written, just not my cup of tea."

    Good story and the narrator was genius at portraying the various characters. I liked the way it all flowed and came together and I found it to be an interesting plot, however it just wasn't my cup of tea. I got a little bored because I had a difficult time identifying with the main character. I would not fault the author with this though, it is simply a case of not finding every well written character interesting. I think I would have found Charity to be much more interesting.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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