The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

I have had this finished book sitting beside my desk all summer. While I always enjoy the experience of reading something new, my impression was that this book was a frustrating reminder to me that I don’t understand time travel, and this is why I haven’t blogged about the book.

Tonight, for reasons I will not go into, I now know the truth. It isn’t that I don’t understand time travel at all! The issue was that I don’t understand time travel as the author has written it! 

That’s a big damn difference.

The kalachakra, the ouroborans, those of us who loop perpetually through the same course of historical events, though our lives within may change – in short, the members of the Cronus Club – forget. Some see this forgetting as a gift, a chance to rediscover things which have already been experienced, to retain some wonder at the universe. A sense of deja vu haunts the oldest members of the Club, who know that they have seen this all before but can’t quite remember when. For others, the imperfect memory of our kin is viewed as proof that we are, for our condition, still human.”

But Harry remembers. He is born, lives, and dies, and lives again all over, but it is the same life. The biggest rule seems to be not to tell anyone where or when he’s from in too much detail (to avoid getting killed).

The living seems to be a curse to Harry (and many of his peers). Time is wasted. People are bored. No one cares about anything, because it doesn’t really matter when you are caught in the loop. But, some of them are free in the knowledge that nothing they do really matters. Some of them can manage to swallow a vapid life.

One of the major themes is that the search for meaning in life is hopeless. This sounds like a sure doom and gloom read if you know that going in, but I don’t interpret it that way at all. I think it is only when you realize that it is hopeless, that you can finally be free. It kind of takes the pressure off to just relax and enjoy yourself. Don’t sweat it too much, we’re all just coming around the bend again anyway… I get that. Freedom in the big empty.

I will concede that I don’t know or understand what a quantum mirror is, and have no interest in learning.