A SciFi tale of time travel, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August follows one man who must continually re-live his life. Faced with immortality, Harry sets out to determine ‘what it all means,’ when he is tasked with saving the future.
Slow, take-your-time novel
A thoughtful, exploratory story, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August isn’t a page-turner, an action book, or anything you’ve just got to finish in one sitting. It’s a relaxing piece that contemplative, with “saving the future” as the ultimate, long term goal for Harry. Claire builds a curious character who introduces you to historical events in a first-hand way, as he experiences them and reflects on them. As Harry learns what he is, so the audience begins to understand who he is – an average person like you or me – no particularly special lives or decisions.
A new kind of story
Harry August is a new kind of time travel, a new kind of reincarnation. As he relives the same life over and over, in the same time period, surrounded by the same people, he battles with the question why and experiments with what impact his choices have in the grand scheme of time. While much of Harry’s story is told in the sequence he experienced it, some past and future scenes are interspersed throughout his history.
I’m looking forward to a sequel
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August isn’t my usual choice of read, but the unique story and style in which is was written intrigue me. His own discovery and coping with what he is, the well-fleshed-out society in which his kind are protected (at least from others, if not from themselves), and the focus on friendship rather than love made me appreciate this tale. Should Harry’s life continue to be full of learning experiences and well-thought-out plans, I will continue to enjoy his story by reading his sequel… though I wouldn’t mind a little more action next time.