The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

  • by Claire North
  • Narrated by Peter Kenny
  • 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Rosa

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.

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- AudioBook Reviewer "All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-08-2014
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio