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 eleventh 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.
©2014 Claire North (P)2014 Hachette Audio UK
"An astonishing re-invention of the time-travel narrative. Bold, magical and masterful" (M. R. Carey, author of The Girl With All the Gifts)"A thoughtful and considered time-travel novel, shocking twists and, most important of all, a beautiful character. Harry August will break your heart fifteen times" (Jared Shurin, Pornokitsch Blog)
This wonderful novel, narrated by Harry, ranges back and forth in time as he recounts episodes from his various lives, but it's all held together by a compelling mystery involving nothing less than the end of the world itself . . . Beautifully written and structured, the book should be a big hit . . . Fans of SF and fantasy authors China Mieville, Christopher Priest, and Adam Roberts might note a stylistic similarity, especially in the novel's elegant prose. Whoever Claire North turns out to be, he or she has written a remarkable book" (Booklist)
"A truly extraordinary novel: an impeccable portrait of a friendship tortured by time in which masterful character and fantastic narrative come together to tremendous effect" (TOR.COM)
"A brave, genre-defying novel, which is mind-blowing in its originality and bold concept . . . Stunning!" (NOVELICIOUS)
"Part unique and intriguing mystery, part philosophical look at life, memory and time travel this story kept me totally gripped from the opening words to the mind-blowing finale" (BITE THE BOOK)
"The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is an extraordinary novel, as the publicity has promised" (The Speculative Scotsman)
I came into this book with little hopes or expectations. And 1 hours into it i was simply in love. The main character is somewhat "blank" as the author puts it (Thru a dialogue with another character) But everything else about this book is simply superb.
The concept is great. Truly great twist on the whole time travel business.
The plot is Okay. Very engaging.
The EXECUTION is like no other. Claire North takes this story and twists it in such a lovely way that the reader cant help but love it.
Also, the wordsmithing is beautiful. Sometimes i would hit the rewind 30 seconds bottom just to go thru certain phrases again, so well crafted they were!
All in all. Just get this book. Its great and now on my list of favorites!
This book is built on a fascinating concept, that of the Kalachakra, a group of people that re-live the same life over and over again but with the all the memories of their previous lives.
The story is really well paced, with interesting characters, and a narrator that brings the story and characters to life.
Such a great book! Very well paced. Traveling between the present and the past with such grace, it was so easy to switch contexts. The author is truly gifted. The narrator did a good job too. Definitely a book to be listened to.
The praise for this book is more than well deserved.
One of the best books I've ever read in this genre. Probably the most original and interesting explorations of time travel.
The narrator is immensely listenable; truly superb.
"Fascinating and surprisingly fresh"
The book was my first audiobook ever, and I loved the experience. Peter Kenny was fantastic, with his voice and accents, and all the heart he poured into this. Looking forward to hear more of him.
I can't recall books similar to this one. It was something like Groundhog Day meets Edge of Tomorrow, but way more epic and sophisticated. It is deeply rooted in the reality, spanning across decades and intertwined with the most interesting periods and event in the history of the world as we know it, but also giving us a glimpse at the world that could have been but wasn't. Or won't be.
No I haven't, but I definitely will.
I cringed upon hearing the detailed descriptions of substance abuse and physical harm. It was as if my body was experiencing it by itself. Very well written, believable, and combined with the narration it was really morbidly fascinating.
I loved the language of Harry August - quintessentially British, with carefully crafted sentences, grammatically perfect and beautiful while always on point. It really felt the way someone extremely intelligent, and centuries old, would sound like.
"Oh my goodness!!"
This was absolutely, positively amazing. The story was intricately plotted; the performance, hands down, one of the best I've ever experienced. Truly did not want it to wnd
"Loved every second of this"
Grest premise for a story - and superbly read! The idea of the repeating cycle seen in the movie "groundhog day" or "end of days" applied to the life (lives) of Harry August - who always finds himself being born again, in the same place, at the same moment in time. He remembers everything.
"Déjà vu all over again"
A well written book, based on an interesting premise: whenever Harry August dies, he is reborn as himself, back in the original year of his birth, to relive his life. Each time, he can live his life slightly differently, but with each rebirth, history is reset (with the exception of his memories). The book builds nicely throughout, with a couple of interesting plot twists, towards a climactic but thought-provoking ending.
This book reminded me a little of the Time Traveller's Wife, although I found the "time travel" aspect of this plot a lot easier to follow!
I knew 20 minutes in that this was going to be a great listen. I love the idea and the plot, the Narrator got all the characters perfectly. Harry August was a great main character and the way the story is told as if written to you personally is enjoyable, its as if you are being spoken to directly by him at times. The Author could easily come back to this universe and Harry August with another story and I really hope that happens. One of the top listens for me this year, enjoyed it very much and look forward to more from the Author and Narrator. I am not sure how this book is categorised, it has elements of science fiction, technology and time travel but it is easily something that a person who is not a fan of Sci Fi would love to listen to. If you think the description sounds interesting, get this book!
"dont think to hard"
never listen to books twice
narration was good,playing with ideas repeating the story was interesting
his female supporters at the chronos club
i think as a film it would be a little confusing, a little like 12 monkeys on acid
good story, being a little scientific I wanted to know how the process of repeating time worked but had to content myself with just being part of a good yarn, no real answers at the end. I noticed the lead character said` I am what I am` which was what God said to Moses at the Burning bush!
Yes, I would recomend it. The storyline is wonderfully imaginative. The pace carries you along - wanting to engage. The narrator is pitch perfect and adding to the story with his voice-acting.
August - main character - the I of the story
This is the best science fiction novel I have come accross for a very long time. Highly recommended!
"A good one!"
Harry keeps getting a "do-over". And what to do when you are constantly reborn and into the same time period, and the same life?
My initial thoughts were that it was just a better version of Groundhog Day. Next I thought it was possibly a little bit predictable, ie if you get to see the same period of history over and over, should you meddle or not, what if others meddle, etc...? Therefore, not too many new ideas to hook me, but it was pleasant enough listening.
And then in the second half of the book, it all seemed to come together and took off. Absolutely compelling, cleverly done, and well narrated. The central characters are excellent. I can't say anything else without spoiling it, so I'll leave it to the blurb and other reviewers to give more hints.
The narration is good - occasionally the accents weren't brilliant, but it never distracted from the story. The narrator's voice really suited the main character and the consistency of his nature.
I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. Very much worth the credit.
Peter Kenny's narration gave the tale an evocative, grounded very English feel- the more grounded the narration, the more you accept the fantastical things that happen.It's told in such a matter of fact way, you buy into the central conceit very early on, and run with it.
Harry himself is fascinating- his many lives, the variations on a theme are beautifully explored. You accept the idea of someone repeatedly passing through the same events, ludicrous though it is, and feel for him.
Peter Kenny is always a hallmark of quality in audiobooks: his cool, urbane tones can render even a poor book entertaining. I've come to identify him with Iain M. Banks work, and so I entered this book with expectations. Those weren't dashed- this is a fantastic tale.
Harry's discovery of the fate of his wife buts like a knife, even though you and he both know this is transitory, that time will reset, the heartbreak he feels is genuine.
Peter Kenny's narration, and Claire North's writing combine seamlessly- the only comparison is Will Patton and James Lee Burke, where you feel it actually couldn't be better done except by the author themselves.
"Original and compelling"
I bought this book because I wanted something a bit different, and it didn't disappoint. It's an interesting concept, which I won't give away in this review, and the way that concept is used to drive the plot is clever and must have taken a lot of planning. Although the ideas are complicated, I found the plot easy to follow and enjoyed the shifts between times and lives. I found the characters compelling, and some of the ethical issues thought provoking. Overall I thought it was very entertaining, well written and voiced. I'll definitely be listening to more of Claire North's work.
"Anything but repetitive"
I was surprised that another reader found it a bit repetitive as I didn't. The pace and tension escalated perfectly, leaving me exhausted from lack of sleep. It is an extraordinary book and I can't recommend it enough, Having Peter Kenny reading it was a bonus. The book of the year.
"Wonderful in every way"
Difficult to say. I have a vivid imagination and through that I picture the story's protagonists but in saying that the Narrator painted a different picture in my mind to the one I might have done had I read the book. This is no way is meant to be detrimental to the audio edition. The narrator was excellent, and every character had it's own personality, by age, by gender, by trait. It took us through the 20th century time after time, and each journey painted a different story. I loved it, every second. Buy it.
Harry's ongoing relationship with his nemesis
Harry, without doubt.
Losing his wife, his mind and his 3rd life
"2014, best performance - Kenny, best book - North"
As everyone has said. It was a very interesting concept wonderfully executed. I'm not a fan of science fiction or fantasy and this book is entirely without dragons or convenient inventions to make the plot move forward. There were no logic holes or fudges to let the book down. This all ignores the important bit - it was so well written (and read) that I didn't notice how well written (and read) it was! Truly, an excellent book - I would recommend it to anyone, whatever your favorite genre. It will stay with me for a long time, and my memory is awful, so that's saying something.
Peter Kenny played every character so expertly that when he had to read entire passages in five or six different voices I knew each character distinctly and without any hesitation. This will be the audiobook I will gift to my friends to get them into audio. I haven't heard anything better (I've listened to well over 500 audiobooks).
If there were awards (there probably are) Peter Kenny should get one for this reading. I'm sure Claire North will be receiving many for the book.
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