Monday, January 12, 2015
I've read three books this year; The Peripheral by William Gibson, Road Side Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. All are science fiction and all are really good. I must confess to being a massive fan of William Gibson who I feel can do no wrong and who's Spook County is one of my favourite books of all times. However, I have to say that Claire North's novel is a m a z i n g. It was a book that I picked from my book group as part of a thing we call secret librarian that we do at Christmas whereby everyone gets to read a book that is picked by someone else and gift wrapped. This is a fast paced novel that works on many levels. It's a science fiction classic themed around reincarnation, it's a detective novel, it's a spy novel and, more importantly it's a who dunnit. The amazing thing is that it works on every single level and the writer is able to carry off the most complex plots with aplomb. I loved it and will be reading more from her. As a synopsis the story is obviously about Harry August a boy born after a rape of a domestic by the head of the house. Harry was born in 1919 and at the end of his life finds out that he is in many respects immortal as he is born again to live his life with the memory of his previous life in tact, fully by the age of 4. Armed with this extraordinary talent enables him to navigate his lives in ways most of us can only dream of. He has adventures and experiences that are wonderful and terrible and and. The story moves through with the assistance of a plot that is the primary link between lives, especially latterly. We are introduced to the Cronus Club, an organisation that looks after those who are of a similar predisposition thought to be about 1 in a million. This club enables people to pass messages up and down time and allows the message that the world is coming to an end to come down to Harry. This is at the end of Harry's 12th life just before he dies. A seven year old girl comes to see him on his deathbed and explains that he has to pass a message down through time that the end of the world is coming and it's coming quickly. You have to read this.