Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

I saw The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August while browsing the sci-fi section of Powell's and then put a hold on it from the library.  I'd gotten a lot of book ideas that day, though, and I've currently got a stack of a dozen or so books on my night stand, all just waiting to be read.  This book was kind of in the middle of the pile when I went to the library website to renew all the books I've got out and this one wouldn't renew due to another hold.  Okay, then, to the top of the pile it went.

I liked The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August which is the story of Harry August who, after living a rather normal life from 1919 until 1989, finds himself reborn in 1919 in the very same circumstances as the first time.  This causes him to go mad and commit suicide as a young child.  Then he's reborn in 1919.  This, as the title more than implies, is his telling of the first fifteen of his lives.  He finds others, in fact, there is a whole club.  They pass messages forward and back in time through having young children talk to those who are dying, thus, taking a message from, for example, 1988 to 1919.  Or, more specifically, really 1925 or so in Harry's case.  It takes a while for full recollection and self awareness.  Mostly, nothing done in life really effects much of the overall flow of time.  These folks live and die and the world goes on.  When someone does manage to change things, the repercussions tend to not be good.

I mostly liked Harry and I enjoyed the playing with time.  It is an interesting form of time travel and an interesting take on the questions of paradox.  Overall, I liked the book and would recommend it, but I didn't love it.  I did not consider setting it aside but I also didn't find myself sitting down to read at any chance, so it took me a while to get through it.

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