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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Book Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

"I was six years old. I was seven hundred and fifty.”

I've gone a bit reading mad lately (..it's my method of guilt-free procrastination) and last night I finished this relatively new novel by 'Claire North' (pseudonym for Catherine Webb) so thought I'd share my thoughts on it. 

Harry August is reborn every time he dies, in the exact same place and at the exact same time as he was in his first life. He is not alone in the world and others exist like him, although hidden. In one of his later lives he is warned that the world is ending quicker in each life and he must find what is causing it and how to stop it.

Even after glimpsing the premise of this book in Waterstone's I was sold; it was only later that I saw the huge number of rave reviews it's received since it was published in April. Once you get past the horror of the thought of having to relive the ages of 13-17 at least 15 times over, it's quite fun to think of what you'd do differently if you could be reborn again. Don't expect a stable, linear narrative; The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is one main storyline that is interwoven and threaded with various side stories and often shocking tales from Harry's previous lives. The novel's premise allows you to be transported from Soviet Russia, to inter-war Leeds, to the beaches of Normandy and to New York City on the day of the collapse of the World Trade Centers, but in a completely believable and plausible way as Harry lives his multiple lives over and over again. Basically, it's a literary escapist's dream. 

Written from the perspective of Harry, it can be touching, philosophical and cynical. It goes in its ups and downs - from exciting to violent to dull - depending on Harry's location in his lives, so it's pretty difficult to generalise with this one. I will warn you that it can get a little heavy and slow around two thirds in, and, like most time travel related stories, it can get confusing as hell. I find with time travel books/movies it can be best not to overthink things and just hope that the writers have got it right... Right? 

But all in all, this is a good one to read. I couldn't put the first two thirds down. Are you reading or looking to read anything good lately?


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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Book Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

"I was six years old. I was seven hundred and fifty.”

I've gone a bit reading mad lately (..it's my method of guilt-free procrastination) and last night I finished this relatively new novel by 'Claire North' (pseudonym for Catherine Webb) so thought I'd share my thoughts on it. 

Harry August is reborn every time he dies, in the exact same place and at the exact same time as he was in his first life. He is not alone in the world and others exist like him, although hidden. In one of his later lives he is warned that the world is ending quicker in each life and he must find what is causing it and how to stop it.

Even after glimpsing the premise of this book in Waterstone's I was sold; it was only later that I saw the huge number of rave reviews it's received since it was published in April. Once you get past the horror of the thought of having to relive the ages of 13-17 at least 15 times over, it's quite fun to think of what you'd do differently if you could be reborn again. Don't expect a stable, linear narrative; The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is one main storyline that is interwoven and threaded with various side stories and often shocking tales from Harry's previous lives. The novel's premise allows you to be transported from Soviet Russia, to inter-war Leeds, to the beaches of Normandy and to New York City on the day of the collapse of the World Trade Centers, but in a completely believable and plausible way as Harry lives his multiple lives over and over again. Basically, it's a literary escapist's dream. 

Written from the perspective of Harry, it can be touching, philosophical and cynical. It goes in its ups and downs - from exciting to violent to dull - depending on Harry's location in his lives, so it's pretty difficult to generalise with this one. I will warn you that it can get a little heavy and slow around two thirds in, and, like most time travel related stories, it can get confusing as hell. I find with time travel books/movies it can be best not to overthink things and just hope that the writers have got it right... Right? 

But all in all, this is a good one to read. I couldn't put the first two thirds down. Are you reading or looking to read anything good lately?


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Post a Comment

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