The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North


This is my second Claire North. There’s a clear pattern in her writing, and I love it. This book starts out with a large concept. It’s complex, and comprehension was touch and go for a bit. And then she weaves this big idea into a particular story of good versus evil. The last half of the book is more readable than the first as we settle into the heart of our story.

The concept – a man that dies and is reborn into the same life over and over again. And as he comes back he remembers his last go-round. So at 3 years old he remembers doing this before, and he knows what’s coming. We get 15 trips with Harry as he learns and grows and fails and rallies. Slowly a dilemma arises – bc with Harry’s plight comes great power – and Harry has to figure out what he wants to do.

The story is sad at times. Overall there’s a vibe of loneliness in the life that Harry faces. But mostly it’s a stunning concept that lets a reader stretch her mind, emotions and imagination. This was heady stuff, but less cerebral (and therefore more accessible) than The Sudden Appearance of Hope.

North writes a sort of “Sci/Fi With A Heart” genre that I find enchanting. Intellectual but also warm and vivid. She’s an amazing author, and I look forward to great stuff to come from her.

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