Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

A man has lived many times. Every time that he dies, he is born again, as the same child and to the same family that he was originally born. He remembers everything as soon his brain matures enough, when he is about five or six years old. There are other people like him, living through the same time period, again and again. There have always been people like him and, apparently, there always will be. The details of his life change, as he knows what will happen and he is able to make different choices each time. He lives in different countries, learns different occupations and languages, and so on. Once, when he is dying as an old man (from lymphoma, which he tends to get eventually in every life) a young girl comes to see him. She tells him that the world is coming to the end in the future – sooner than it was supposed to. When he returns to the past, and is reborn as a child once again, he starts to do something about it. He works with the mysterious Chronos Club, which helps him and other “immortals” to cope with life. For example, they give “scholarships” to young immortals, so that they can move away from home and are not forced to go through primary school for the umpteenth time (with the memories of several adult lifetimes). It takes a few lifetimes, but he finds out what is happening.
A very good book, with an unusual take on time travel and immortality. The writing was very good and the story was very interesting. There was some fragmentation of places, but that is to be expected from a book that tells the story of 15 lifetimes in a partially non-linear way. Also, at places, some condensing might have been a good idea but, in other places, some expansion of the story might have been nice. It would have been especially nice to learn what happened after the end of the book.

416 pp.

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