At the end of 2014 I was obliged to read The Bone Clocks for a book group, and despite essentially enjoying it in the end, found it full of frustrating, over-complicated, belief-stretching annoyingness. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, on the other hand, was like an expansion of all the good bits of Bone Clocks, and elimination of all the annoying parts, with a pleasant addition of a Life After Life component. If you’ve liked either of these books, I suspect you’ll love this one.
The premise is a group of people who are born over and over again into the same life, with varyingly retained memories of their last lives, and the various ways in which they use this predicament/gift. The characters are engaging, and the plot is utterly compelling. I particularly enjoyed all the practical aspects (how many times can you go to school without getting incredibly bored, for instance, and how to get out of it), and seeing the different approaches to having a life destined to infinitely repeat. Sure, as with all this sort of thing, a bit of suspension of belief is called for. But it was absolutely worth it. The best book I’ve read in this genre and an excellent, you-can’t-make-me-put-it-down start to my 2015 reading.
Rating: 5 shoes