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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

de Claire North

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2,5231564,775 (3.97)209
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.… (més)
  1. 100
    Replay de Ken Grimwood (BeckyJG)
    BeckyJG: A protagonist who lives his life over and over, remembering the entirety of it each time, with the opportunity to do things differently, as well.
  2. 20
    The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle de Stuart Turton (fannyprice)
  3. 42
    Life After Life de Kate Atkinson (sturlington, fairyfeller)
    fairyfeller: Explores the same concept of one person living the same over and over.
  4. 10
    My Name Is Memory de Ann Brashares (LAKobow)
  5. 00
    Before I Fall de Lauren Oliver (jordil2)
  6. 00
    The Here and Now de Ann Brashares (LAKobow)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 156 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I like the majority of the book but I could never emotionally connect with any of the characters and the pace was painfully slow. ( )
  awesomejen2 | Jun 21, 2022 |
WTF? :)

The author clearly knows that even standing for 5 seconds in the past could create huge changes, because she typed that concept coming out of a character's mouth, but fails to address that fact except when her bad guy does it. Suspension of disbelief: not easy.

The Cronus Club's only rule is to not change the future, but most of them change their lives completely whenever they're reborn. How does Harry's "lucky" investing and company building not change the future? How do all the big and little changes the ouroborans make not have an effect on history? :)

Even though this book is complete garbage, it gets fun when it actually starts (after the halfway point?). It becomes a really really slow thriller that kind of feels like a romance. Good ending, too. Almost redeeming.

... I think I like this book. :/

Side note: lol this guy gets fifteen lives and I get none haha great read ( )
  brutalstirfry | May 6, 2022 |
Sometimes, people get interviewed who have had long and incident-filled lives, and the interviewer asks "If you had your time again, would you do anything different?", and the answer is invariably "No, not a thing." Never believe a word of it. I know I would do things differently. It's a theme that has been infrequently visited in imaginative fiction; my collection only has four books of the sort - this, Ken Grimwood's Replay, Kate Atkinson's Life after Life and Jenny Erpenbeck's The End of Days (though I'm told that in the Erpenbeck, the idea is more of a literary device than the actual plot). Of those, it's years since I read Replay and the other two are still in the foothills of my To Be Read pile. No matter.

Harry August is an ouroboran, or a "kalachakra". After he dies, he is resurrected into his own body at the moment of his birth, but over the next three years he gradually retrieves all the memories of his previous life, so that he is able to take different decisions. More, Harry is a mnemonic - he has full recall of his past lives, rather than just remembering stuff at random, the way ordinary people like you and me ("linears" in the language of the book) do.

The kalachakra have a support mechanism, the Cronus Club, which exists to help support its members, especially after they've been around the loop a few times and find their accumulated knowledge of the future too much at odds with the things they are taught and expected to believe as children. This is especially useful for those born in the first part of the twentieth century, where science, technology and societal norms changed so much over the course of one lifetime. The Cronus Club has a more sinister objective - to prevent individual kalachakra from impacting the timeline too much. Imagine what someone with a knowledge of the science and technology of the 1960s, 70s or 80s could do with that knowledge in the 1920s or 30s. Of course, this is exactly what happens...

This is perhaps the major divergence between this book and Grimwood's Replay. In Grimwood's book, we follow the protagonist through their life, finding that they cannot make major changes to the timeline even if their own lives vary a lot. Grimwood's protagonist only ever finds a handful of fellow ouroborans, and at the climax of that book a baton is handed on to a new individual. The focus is on the personal story. But Harry August, who has similar experiences, is part of a bigger picture; the span of Claire North's story is greater, there is more at stake and the Cronus Club is the secret society to end all secret societies!

North adds to the idea, with some speculation as to what is actually happening to the kalachakra; there is no "Tell me, Professor..." info-dump, but a lot of hints are dropped as to the nature of the universe and the phenomenon the kalachakra are experiencing. The 'many worlds' interpretation of quantum physics is hinted at. Generally, situations and consequences are well thought out. Harry moves through the twentieth century world, being careful to avoid some of the more obvious traps. The writing is rich and the characters, I felt, quite well drawn, though Harry does have a habit of launching off into digressions to illustrate some point or other. And there is a long section on the last kalachakra to try to change the world, and what became of them which could have done with a little more tightening up. But equally there were laugh-out-loud moments and some ingenious twisting of the history we know. I found this a compelling read that engaged me on so many levels. Recommended. ( )
1 vota RobertDay | May 5, 2022 |
I'm giving this a 5 because even though I'm not going to read it again any time soon, it is so well-plotted. This was a joy to read, and to anticipate.

The asides all have a purpose, and are inserted at deliberate points in the story. I was very happy when I turned back to the first chapter to confirm the setup, only to find that the next chapter would have retold me the necessary details. There's one aside that I haven't figured out yet, but I finished the book at 1 a.m. and I'm ill, so hopefully it will make sense when I'm coherent.

I guess the writing style might seem stodgy, but I really enjoyed it. It wasn't overly emotional, and the academic-ish asides served to show Harry's interests and education or to further the plot. It was so well-researched.

And the time period chosen was perfect too! It all fit together so nicely! ( )
  Tikimoof | Feb 17, 2022 |
I stumbled across one of claire north's book in a second hand bookshop in london. i read the first paragraph and immediately knew i wanted the book, i wanted to read her other books, and i wanted to read them in order (if logistics and my attention span allows it)!

so i bought [The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August], her first foray into science fiction, i believe, and as with the secondhand book it gripped me from the very first words...its a time travel story as i have never encountered before. and this coming from someone who reads and watches a lot of fantasy, scifi, and comics. its not just a new treatment of the tropes, it also presents a new...core mechanism. the closest i can describe it is if Dr. Who starred in Groundhog Day, but it somehow felt realistic and gritty, with very thoughtful ruminations on the scientific, philosophical, and ethical implications of the events unfolding in the story.

a superb reading experience.

ps...i also found out that claire north as a pseudonym. she also writes as kate griffin. i want her griffin books now, too :) ( )
  riida | Jan 14, 2022 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
North, Claireautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Daniele, ValentinaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Graswinckel, LisetteTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kenny, PeterNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Nickolls, LeoDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Troin, IsabelleTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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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.

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