The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

Read Time: 2 Minutes

With an Audible credit to spare and an ever-increasing wish list, I figured it was time to dive deep into said list and see what I’d put on there and never got around to grabbing. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, written by Claire North, I’d put on ages ago and since forgotten about. I have read the book a number of times on my Kindle, so I knew I liked it, and since it’d been so long that I’d pretty much forgotten everything save for the barebones general plot, I dropped the credit and plugged in.

First off, this book was as good as I remembered. The general premise is that there are certain people in society that, when they die, return to the moment of their birth with their memories intact. From there, they can live their life over again or do things differently. Harry August, the protagonist, is born in England during the 1920s. Harry tells us the story of many of his lives, sometimes out of order – skipping ahead and then back – all while weaving the narrative of something greater at play.

The world, Harry has been told, is ending. How does he know? Others like him have passed the message back through time. One of Harry’s oldest friends looks to be the cause of the world coming to a premature end.

Like all time-travel stories, there is a degree of belief you must leave suspended going in. That aside, though, what author Claire North has written is a cracker of a story spanning multiple generations of the 20th century, revisiting time and again (Groundhog Day-style but way, way better… no shade on Bill Murray).

Narration by Peter Kenny was good. Not stellar, but a decent job of keeping the voices distinct and the pacing on point. Quality was a bit of a letdown. Published less than eight years ago, I’d expect better, especially from a major publishing house like Hachette. Audio quality has been decent for a few decades now, so the quality seemed a bit cheap, all things considered.

Overall, an excellent story well told. Certainly, one I’ll revisit again (déjà vu!) as I have enjoyed it a number of times already in other forms.

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