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Replay

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Author: Ken Grimwood

Published: July 22nd 1998 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1987)

Format: Paperback , 311 pages

Isbn: 9780688161125

Language: English


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Jeff Winston was 43 and trapped in a tepid marriage and a dead-end job, waiting for that time when he could be truly happy, when he died. And when he woke and he was 18 again, with all his memories of the next 25 years intact. He could live his life again, avoiding the mistakes, making money from his knowledge of the future, seeking happiness. Until he dies at 43 and wakes u Jeff Winston was 43 and trapped in a tepid marriage and a dead-end job, waiting for that time when he could be truly happy, when he died. And when he woke and he was 18 again, with all his memories of the next 25 years intact. He could live his life again, avoiding the mistakes, making money from his knowledge of the future, seeking happiness. Until he dies at 43 and wakes up back in college again...

30 review for Replay

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. Every night and every morn Some to misery are born, Every morn and every night Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night. God appears, and God is light, To those poor souls who dwell in night; But does a human form display To those who dwell in realms of day. All poetic excerpts in this review are from Auguries of Innocence by To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. Every night and every morn Some to misery are born, Every morn and every night Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night. God appears, and God is light, To those poor souls who dwell in night; But does a human form display To those who dwell in realms of day. All poetic excerpts in this review are from Auguries of Innocence by William Blake Ancient of Days by William Blake October 18th, 1988 is an insignificant date, but for Jeff Winston it is a day that will live in infamy. He is on the phone with his soon to be ex-wife Linda when something punches him in the chest. It is a pain like he has never felt before as nerve signals are scrambling and the most critical muscle in his body stops working. When people have near death experiences they typically talk about their lives flashing before their eyes. Ken Grimwood takes this a step further as Winston finds himself waking up in 1963 about to replay his life. It is right it should be so; Man was made for joy and woe; And when this we rightly know, Thro' the world we safely go. I can only imagine the discombobulated state of anyone waking up 25 years in the past. If this phenomenon happened to me today I would be waking up in 1989 I’d be 22 years old, almost finished with college and already I’m starting to think about things I would do different. The interesting aspect to this phenomenon is that Jeff Winston wakes up remembering his entire life up to when his heart gives a last shuddering heave. This is a similar concept to Groundhog Day as Bill Murray keeps waking up remembering everything he has done while repeating the same day over and over again; only Grimwood expands the scope of the idea. 24 hours becomes 25 years. Chateaugay is the horse to the far right making young/old Jeff Winston a nice stack of green. Jeff Winston is back in college, but who needs college when you know everything significant that is going to happen for the next twenty-five years starting with the horse that wins the Kentucky Derby. He sells everything worth selling including his car, borrows money from his parents, and convinces an upper classman, old enough to place a bet, to put every red cent he has mustered on Chateaugay to win. Chateaugay paid $20.80 to win and Jeff cleared a cool $17,000. It was only the beginning. (Just in case, covering my own future bets, I looked up the Derby winner in 1989...Sunday Silence.) Now I stated earlier, rather cavalierly, that Winston remembers his entire life for the next twenty-five years, but of course memory is faulty, and he continues to be amazed at the number of details he has forgotten about his personal life and how fuzzy he is about world events. He remembers enough to be able to keep making sure bets and keep adding to his wealth. The whore and gambler, by the state Licensed, build that nation's fate. The harlot's cry from street to street Shall weave old England's winding-sheet. His girlfriend Judy, the girl that feels she is being wild and crazy letting Jeff massage her breast on the OUTSIDE of her blouse, does offer to give him a handjob. This is 1963 still several years away from the summer of love, and the late ‘60s didn’t happen to all people, some had “two fifties and moved right into the seventies”. (Remember Annie Kinsella from Field of Dreams) Judy is fine and good for an inexperienced 18 year old, but then we have to remember that Jeff is actually 43 years old. What he needs is Sharla. ”She had fit right in with the fight crowd, had looked perfectly at home among the other pneumatic young women in their tight, flashy dresses and excessive makeup. Face it, he thought, glancing at her in the seat beside him. She looks cheap. Expensive but cheap; like Las Vegas, like Miami Beach. From the most cursory of appraisals it was clear to anyone that Sharla was, quite simply a machine designed for fucking. Nothing more. The very image of a Girl Not To Take Home To Mother.” Sharla knows what a man wants whether he is 43 or 18, and Jeff is a mish mash of those two ages. The older Jeff is thinking I’ve never had sex with such an uninhibited woman in my entire life, and the younger Jeff is all libido. In essence, at least for a while, those two divergent people can enjoy the benefits that Sharla is so willing to provide. Jeff remembers that the Kennedy Assassination is coming up and feels he needs to do something about it. He engineers a situation that has Lee Harvey Oswald arrested. Kennedy still dies. JFK Limousine I won’t reveal what actually happened to insure that history continued as before, but it becomes clear that there are certain events that must happen. The interesting point about the Kennedy assassination is that until 9/11 happened the death of Kennedy was the singular event, the most impactful moment in time, that most people, if given the means and opportunity would want to change the outcome. When I asked my mom a few years ago where she was when Kennedy died, her eyes filled with tears and she couldn’t speak for a few minutes. Almost fifty years after the event, and the emotions surrounding that tragedy are still as raw as if it had just happened. Fiction is full of speculations about where the world would be if Kennedy had lived. Some show a better, more advance world, but others show a world that is much worse than the one we wake up in today. I think many of us feel, even those that were born after the event, that we were robbed of a better version of ourselves, a divergent self that died with Kennedy. #mythology The questioner, who sits so sly, Shall never know how to reply. He who replies to words of doubt Doth put the light of knowledge out. October 18th, 1988 Jeff Winston dies again and wakes up back in 1963. The empire he built with all those can’t lose gambling bets is gone. He builds a life with Judy after finding the Shallow Sharla route so unfulfilling. He dies again. He has a life with Linda. He dies again. He finds another “replayer” like himself named Pamela. They still both die again. They live frugally, off the grid. They still die at the same point in time regardless of what they do with their lives. They try going public hoping that scientists will be able to help them with what is happening. The CIA, not surprising, takes over their lives using their knowledge of the future to stop catastrophic events...against American interests only of course. What do you do about people like Qaddafi? The soldier, arm'd with sword and gun, Palsied strikes the summer's sun. The poor man's farthing is worth more Than all the gold on Africa's shore. At first Jeff and Pamela like helping, but soon discover the more they help the more treacherous the world becomes. Oh and each time they come back now they land in a different time period that shortens their cycle. A point of concern, no denying that. ”If the flow of time is continuous--uninterrupted as far as the rest of the world is concerned, ignoring this loop you and I keep experiencing, and branching out from each version of the loop into new lines of reality depending on the changes we put into motion each time around--then history should have progressed twenty-five years for each replay we’ve been through.” When I try wrapping my mind around time travel and the math associated with such concepts the pressure in my head usually has me looking for a shot of high octane alcohol to keep my brain from exploding into shards of disconnected thoughts. It wouldn’t be very useful after that. This book certainly had me thinking about what I would do if I had a chance to relive the last twenty-five years. At first there is a sense of excitement about being twenty-two again, looking like a Greek God again, but as I gave it more thought I realized that overall I’m very happy with my life. I’m not sure I’d trust fate enough to follow a different course. There are minor things I would fix, maybe look a little smarter by not saying the wrong thing this time around. I’d skirt around those points of stupidity that I use to bludgeon myself with when I’m feeling blue. I would bet enough on sporting events to become comfortable, but not enough to become obscenely wealthy. (How much money does anyone really need?) I would enjoy being young because only someone in their forties or older can truly enjoy all those wonderful fledgling benefits properly. This book won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1988. I can certainly see why. Warning: reading this book will make you think.

  2. 4 out of 5

    George

    This book crushed me. It sparked such a deep feeling of loss and regret in me. Made me examine my own life, my own decisions, missteps and regrets and wasted time and opportunities. Life is short, and this book will remind you of that. It will remind you of lost loves and what could have been. It will remind you that life should be lived to the fullest, that you shouldn't ever waste a single day. It will teach you about true loneliness. And finally, it will teach you about acceptance. I loved it This book crushed me. It sparked such a deep feeling of loss and regret in me. Made me examine my own life, my own decisions, missteps and regrets and wasted time and opportunities. Life is short, and this book will remind you of that. It will remind you of lost loves and what could have been. It will remind you that life should be lived to the fullest, that you shouldn't ever waste a single day. It will teach you about true loneliness. And finally, it will teach you about acceptance. I loved it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    (4.5) One of my favorite premises is a character reliving their life over and over. So this book was on my radar. I really liked Grimwood's take on it as, for once, I could relate with the main character's decisions and he added a nice twist to it. It did become more philosophical and would recommend it if, as a literary fiction or contemporary reader, you're trying to get into sci-fi.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I had very high expectations for this 1988 World Fantasy award winner. The main character, 43-year-old Jeff Winston has a heart attack and dies, only to wake up in his college dorm room 25 years earlier with his current memories intact. He "replays" his life several times throughout the book trying to correct the mistakes of his "previous" lives. After the second "replay", I got tired of reading about Winston's miserable life and sexual escapades and wished he would just die and stay that way. T I had very high expectations for this 1988 World Fantasy award winner. The main character, 43-year-old Jeff Winston has a heart attack and dies, only to wake up in his college dorm room 25 years earlier with his current memories intact. He "replays" his life several times throughout the book trying to correct the mistakes of his "previous" lives. After the second "replay", I got tired of reading about Winston's miserable life and sexual escapades and wished he would just die and stay that way. There is a message in the story -- life is short, so live it to the fullest. The preachy tone of the story and the characters' constant self-indulgence left a bad taste in my mouth. If you liked The Time Traveler's Wife, you will probably enjoy this. I didn't.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    5.0 stars. I did not go into this book with high expectations, despite the numerous awards this book was nominated for and won. Well I just finished it and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!! Calling it the best "time travel" novel ever does not adequately explain the emotional depth of the novel. This was an incredibly well-written, extremely well plotted novel that is at times both gut-wrenching and uplifting. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!! Nominee: Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Nove 5.0 stars. I did not go into this book with high expectations, despite the numerous awards this book was nominated for and won. Well I just finished it and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!! Calling it the best "time travel" novel ever does not adequately explain the emotional depth of the novel. This was an incredibly well-written, extremely well plotted novel that is at times both gut-wrenching and uplifting. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!! Nominee: Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel Winner: World Fantasy Award for Best Novel

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    The horse race was good. I expect that I am just brimful of wealthy self-centered mediocre individuals undeservedly basking in privilege and power. But, all that irksome name dropping worn thin. I get it. There's a disproportionate lack of insignificant villagers in the past lives of people who claim to remember them. Nobody wants to be part of the three serf families that the Rostov's neighbor traded for a dog. When I'm disengaged and uninterested in the story, it's awfully easy to find low hangi The horse race was good. I expect that I am just brimful of wealthy self-centered mediocre individuals undeservedly basking in privilege and power. But, all that irksome name dropping worn thin. I get it. There's a disproportionate lack of insignificant villagers in the past lives of people who claim to remember them. Nobody wants to be part of the three serf families that the Rostov's neighbor traded for a dog. When I'm disengaged and uninterested in the story, it's awfully easy to find low hanging targets to knock. But, they not the reason that I dislike this book. I never had a problem with similar character flaws in other stories where someone is gifted youth. But, Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dr. Heidegger's Experiment never expected me to admire those characters. I'm going with it's all a dream within a dream. I like George Berkeley's theory of subjective idealism, what little I know of it from Sophie's World. And, I appreciate the point made by Welwyn Wilton in a comment on her review. One of the things I believe is that a novel is written by both the author and the reader, who brings to the novel whatever views or worries or perceptions s/he/they has. The unique point of view the reader brings changes the novel; we none of us ever actually read the same novel. It's like looking at the same river. Impossible.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eh?Eh!

    There was a period of time where I made myself think through what I wanted, realistically, and how to achieve them, ultimately. Were you one of those kids who wanted to set the world on fire and initiate changes for the better, if not for fame then for purpose? I was saddened by how scaled back my plans became once I was a bit ground down by circumstances. Then I set it all aside and half-numbly addressed day-to-day tasks. Recently, I was in a situation where a man-boy poured his little heart out There was a period of time where I made myself think through what I wanted, realistically, and how to achieve them, ultimately. Were you one of those kids who wanted to set the world on fire and initiate changes for the better, if not for fame then for purpose? I was saddened by how scaled back my plans became once I was a bit ground down by circumstances. Then I set it all aside and half-numbly addressed day-to-day tasks. Recently, I was in a situation where a man-boy poured his little heart out to me about the woman he hopes will love him back. They'd gone out on dates, although I ascertained that she may not have realized they were dates. Poor lamb. Since the conversation had progressed to the point where I'd become invested in his happiness and wanted this to work out for him, I grilled him about whether he was also considering her interests, if he was more attracted to her looks and common activities than her self, blabbidy blah blah, and what his goals were and whether they meshed with hers. Hey, he seemed to be relieved to unload and I was obliging. Totally not in a twss way. But, the reason I brought that up, he turned the future goals question back to me and caught me flat-footed. I don't think my stammers were a good return answer. I couldn't remember what I'd worked out before, my "realistic" goals. Too much numb trudging. And then this book. A man dies in middle age and wakes up back in college to live his life again. He works his way through money, sex, children, nihilism, and it turns out that he keeps dying at the same time but wakes up older and older, skipping at first days then years ahead. I liked that it's not as flashy as you'd expect. He didn't suddenly figure stuff out or have circumstances that ridiculously fell into place for good or ill, no more than you can kinda reasonably expect if you had future knowledge. There was still an undercurrent of mediocrity, which made the story work for me. I think the conclusion was to love what you have. That's a message that can survive my numb days.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Welwyn Wilton Katz

    I read this book for a book club I'm in, and it surprised me that I hadn't heard about it before. I bought the book and I read it and I wanted to like it. There had been a lot of hype when it came out in 1986 and won the World Fantasy Award of 1988. I like fantasy. I write fantasy. But I don't think this book is actually real fantasy. I don't think it's science fiction either. I think it is a failed attempt to write a story where a human being finds redemption through an unusual method. I feel i I read this book for a book club I'm in, and it surprised me that I hadn't heard about it before. I bought the book and I read it and I wanted to like it. There had been a lot of hype when it came out in 1986 and won the World Fantasy Award of 1988. I like fantasy. I write fantasy. But I don't think this book is actually real fantasy. I don't think it's science fiction either. I think it is a failed attempt to write a story where a human being finds redemption through an unusual method. I feel in a way as if I should not review this book, because so many people have given it such high ratings that a negative comment will make me seem inconoclastic and picky or, worse, small-minded since it comes from a fantasy writer. I don't think I'm any of those things. I want to be surprised in fantasy, that's all. I would like to be surprised in every book I read, excited by a beautiful turn of phrase, startled by a concept, taken to a new place in my own mind. And Replay didn't do that for me. There are three things wrong with Replay, in my opinion. (a) the character (b) the plot (c) the writing. The character never excited me by any growing maturity. He was ordinary, dull, selfish, and he just knew too much and not enough. For instance, after 23 years of life, he wakes up as a teenager remembering bits and pieces of his old life, and he 100% remembers what horse won the Kentucky Derby that year. I could have accepted that, if the character had shown a major interest in horse racing all the way through the book. But no. He never even notices a horse anywhere else, except that each time he wakes up he needs some cash so he bets on that same horse. Did I believe that? No. Did it surprise me not to believe it? No. Why not? Because the writing is pedestrian, and I do not expect surprises from pedestrian writing. I will merely say that each time this character "replays" his 23 years (no spoilers on this since you find out about replaying on page one) he remembers the important things that any normal person would remember from his life before dying. The memory of his old replays could help him change: could make him see the need to grow, to become something better than he has been before. But he never uses what he knows about world events for the good of others, only for his own self-destructive "good". He always falls into the same trap, even when he decides to go and live off the land (a decision we're not privy to, and therefore find totally out of character for this sexually charged man). The trap? It's selfishness. What we know about this man can be expressed in one sentence. He has to have what he wants. What he wants is usually sex. Clarification? Okay, he has to have sex with perfect women. Clarify still more? Okay, if they are only perfect on the outside, he tires of them and goes on to choose exactly the same kind of woman he had before. Eventually, and this may be a spoiler, though I do think it is predictable (but if you haven't read the book maybe you shouldn't read from here: he finds a woman who is a replayer too. Together they make the world a much worse place. They don't intend to, but anyone with half a brain could see that their actions together were bound to result in terrible things. Spoiler ends here. And at the end of the book, has it changed him? Page 309 of 310: and I quote: "Christ, how he yearned to hear a song, any song, that he had never heard before!" Think about this. A man has lived a lifespan consisting of his first childhood and - let's say - ten replays. Let's say that gives him 240 years of human existence. There is no way that in 240 years he could ever manage to listen to every single song ever sung or written, even at a full 24 hours a day. Even if he changed his preferences from, say, the Beach Boys to blues and rock and roll or even to medieval chants, there is a whole world of blues and rock and roll and medieval chants out there. That's what I think is wrong with this guy. He never changes his preferences. He keeps re-doing what he always did, which is to find stuff for himself, and it's always the same kind of stuff for himself. He's unable to choose the right stuff to make him happy, because he doesn't realize that he has to use that stuff to make other people happy too. Only once does he try to use his foreknowledge unselfishly: regarding the assassination of President Kennedy. Otherwise, he doesn't really care about the world and its issues; he doesn't let himself worry about changing the future. The whole book - with one major exception - is about how he wants stuff for himself. Only by divine intervention (why, please?) does this change. And even after he's given what he wants, the chance at a whole, full life without repetition, he whines about his past (all those songs, all the same). Redemption has to do with choices, with people choosing to change. I won't say that the hero of this book never chooses to change anything at all, but basically, he never chooses to change himself. Things happen to him. He lets them. He lives from one thing to the next. He never says, "Enough of this. I'm going to figure out why it's always me who is replaying." He never even changes his attitude toward it. It's always a torment. It's never possible for him to see it as a gift. Had he done this, the book would perhaps have lived up to the movie Groundhog Day, which despite its fluffy name, is a movie worth watching at least once a year for the rest of your life. The plot? I say it doesn't work. Why? Because a plot asks why and why not. Does the hero ever do anything to try to find out why he has to replay this section of his life? I'm going to say something that I imagine most thinking people will expect, having read this far, but if not, this next part could be thought of as a spoiler. Here it is: The hero meets another replayer. A woman, natch. Together they start looking for others. They find one. It's the only truly great bit of writing in the book. I loved it. It gave us an explanation for the replayers. It even almost made sense, despite the fact that many readers won't be familiar with the concept as yoga understands it and as it is explained using the Bhagavad Gita by the one person who understands. But since most people who don't understand the yogic concepts have read Shakespeare (I'll paraphrase the next part): "All the world's a stage, and we but men and women acting on it... taking our exits and our entrances...." This reasoning, provided by someone who even tells our two replayers how and why the world is a stage for a certain group of people watching the replayers in the bloody stage of history they live in, a stage they make even worse, is an exciting concept! I so hoped it wouldn't turn out to be a cop-out. But, sadly, it did. The thought never runs through our replayers' minds again... The explanation was just insane. But I hung onto it. I hoped. I saw that there was an epilog. I didn't dare read it ahead of time in case I was wrong... I got to it at last. And no. The whole explanation had been presented and thrown away. End of spoiler. So, to me it is a total mystery why this book won the world fantasy award. It is mediocre writing that forces you to live with a guy you really don't much like for all those pages, and there is never an explanation for the plot hook, and the hero is a sad, flawed character who never takes his own life by the horns and makes himself strong.

  9. 4 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    It's a shame that REPLAY by Ken Grimwood is not more well known. The writing and story are stellar, and this book is still one of my all time favorites.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    This one’s about time travel. Now, as a reader of comic books, this phrase has a chilling effect on my brain, because time travel stories are usually (but not always) the last refuge of the unimaginative or gassed out writer, but this book has been sitting on my shelf for a while and heck, because Stephen King wasn’t available, even Dean Koontz has some nice things to say about it on a cover blurb. The story unfolds like so: Henpecked, depressed dude dies in the middle of a phone call with his wif This one’s about time travel. Now, as a reader of comic books, this phrase has a chilling effect on my brain, because time travel stories are usually (but not always) the last refuge of the unimaginative or gassed out writer, but this book has been sitting on my shelf for a while and heck, because Stephen King wasn’t available, even Dean Koontz has some nice things to say about it on a cover blurb. The story unfolds like so: Henpecked, depressed dude dies in the middle of a phone call with his wife, he wakes up in his college dorm in 1963, he lives his life differently, dies again at the exact same date and time and wakes up circa 1963. He lives off money betting on sporting event outcomes he remembers and plays the stock market on his inside knowledge of companies that did well over his previous lifetime (IBM, Apple, etc.). Because this last paragraph is the paraphrased back cover description we are coming up on Spoilertown. Take the exit ramp to the bypass now! During one of his replays he meets a woman who also experiences the same phenomena and during their multiple lifetimes together they try to not only figure this stuff out but search for others who “replay” as well. And they find one, but he’s a crazed serial killer who thinks his ability is a gift from aliens and he’s paying them back with human blood. Because I’m on the shallow side, I was thinking, damn, now these two are going to be chased down and forced to outwit a lunatic for the rest of their replayed lives. Woo Hoo!!! Um, no. It was not to be. It was back to hitting the familiar historical notes and taking a turn at amateur philosophizing and mixed metaphors and trying to lead a different life this time around. If you’ve read Stephen King’s time travel book, 11/22/1963, you might recognize a few minor plot points - taking a run at stopping the Kennedy assassination, using sports betting as a way to make ends meet – something King did infinitely better. This book predates King’s by about 15 years. Grimwood toys with some interesting concepts along the way, but never really gets to the “why”? Which is something I don't ordinarily complain about, I don't have to be spoon-fed everything. Here it just feels like a cheat - like going to your favorite restaurant in anticipation of a grand meal only to find that it was closed by the Board of Health. Although, there’s some good story telling here and there, the book is weighed down with awkward dialogue, a chunky prose style and a nagging feeling that the author had a thesaurus handy – writing sentences that run smoothly until a jarring word choice makes the reader feel like they’ve just been smacked in the back of the head. The ending is worthy of a throat punch. If you loved the movie Groundhog Day (time-looping FTW!) or thought that 11/22/1963 was the bee’s knees, you may give a moment’s pause before you pick this tome up. A really strong two and a half stars rounded down.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I'm a total sucker for time-travel novels, and Replay is a dam clever one filled with unexpected twists and traumatic experiences.After a fatal heart attack at age 43, Jeff Winston wakes up baffled to learn he is not dead, but a young college student again back in 1963, (no spoiler here) and as he begins to relive his life over and over and over again, he becomes a bit more prepared and curious each time. Wanting to know the cause of this unusual phenomena, he finally stumbles across an interest I'm a total sucker for time-travel novels, and Replay is a dam clever one filled with unexpected twists and traumatic experiences.After a fatal heart attack at age 43, Jeff Winston wakes up baffled to learn he is not dead, but a young college student again back in 1963, (no spoiler here) and as he begins to relive his life over and over and over again, he becomes a bit more prepared and curious each time. Wanting to know the cause of this unusual phenomena, he finally stumbles across an interesting clue resulting in an outcome that gives special meaning to his tumultuous recurring lives.Replay is a fast moving 300 pages that can in no way compare to my two favorites in the world of time-travel, (Outlander and 11/22/63) but I still found it to be a unique and enjoyable read I'm glad I did not miss. Life Is So Short!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    As I read this, I had to go through a period of adjustment that included shock, pleasure, annoyance, and eventually acceptance. It’s by no means a bad book. Indeed, it’s a great book that kept me riveted throughout the reading, and despite... or rather, BECAUSE of the associations I kept making as I read it, I must give this novel many more props than I might have done otherwise. What the hell am I talking about? This book won the World Fantasy Award back in the mid eighties, but since then, we’ve As I read this, I had to go through a period of adjustment that included shock, pleasure, annoyance, and eventually acceptance. It’s by no means a bad book. Indeed, it’s a great book that kept me riveted throughout the reading, and despite... or rather, BECAUSE of the associations I kept making as I read it, I must give this novel many more props than I might have done otherwise. What the hell am I talking about? This book won the World Fantasy Award back in the mid eighties, but since then, we’ve had Groundhog Day, Stephen King’s 11/22/63, and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. Those stories are basically retellings of Replay. So many of the events, solutions, even the focus on Kennedy, gambling, and building brand new careers, repeating a whole lifetime over and over, learning and attempting bold crazy schemes, are the same. Ken Greenwood did it first. See what my problem is? I LOVED Groundhog Day, 11/22/63, and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August!!! Hell, I tend to daydream about the basic concept, myself. I LOVE these kinds of stories. Edge of Tomorrow, anyone? Ken’s book was just as good as the rest. Still fantastic. Well-written. The whole ball of wax. And it’s very emotional. I love it. :) I’m forced to come to the conclusion that this is GENRE. Details can differ all you like, but the basic idea is definitely an offshoot of the usual time-travel thing, unique to itself. Definitely a recommendation for all of you fanboys and fangirls out there.

  13. 5 out of 5

    unknown

    With a setup that recalls Groundhog Day and Back to the Future II (a middle-aged man, Jeff, relives his life from age 18 to his "death" at 43 over and over, able to change things each time but never escaping the loop; going back in time gives him a chance to make a fortune betting on horse races), Replay promises to be a fun sci-fi wish fulfillment story, but winds up something else entirely, a wistful meditation on the relentless passage of time and the regrets we all carry about the choices we With a setup that recalls Groundhog Day and Back to the Future II (a middle-aged man, Jeff, relives his life from age 18 to his "death" at 43 over and over, able to change things each time but never escaping the loop; going back in time gives him a chance to make a fortune betting on horse races), Replay promises to be a fun sci-fi wish fulfillment story, but winds up something else entirely, a wistful meditation on the relentless passage of time and the regrets we all carry about the choices we didn't make and the risks we didn't take. Don't go into this looking for a hard SF exploration of how or why Jeff is time traveling, because that isn't this book. Most of it is actually a love story that develops over more than a century's worth of years when Jeff happens upon another caught in the same loop and the two try to make sense of what is happening to them, building and rebuilding a life together, retaining all of their memories each time they complete a cycle (Jeff calls them "replays") and loop back. Some of these variations are pretty dark (Jeff nihilistically descends into drugs and sex), but others are fun (Jeff and the love interest change the world by creating an ecologically-themed Star Wars type movie years before Star Wars in an effort to inspire others to live better, a section that is full of cool details for movie buffs). Of course, things get more complicated as the replays become shorter and shorter, each time beginning a few months or years closer to Jeff's unavoidable date of death, which never changes. Some of the replays are far from happy, and Jeff realizes that even with several lifetimes to live, there's never enough time to avoid regrets. In the end, living is about recognizing that, and always moving forward. Wikipedia says Grimwood was working on a sequel when he died (rather young) in 2003. It's hard to imagine where he would have gone with the story, which is wrapped up pretty well, but I'm sorry it won't continue.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Iulia

    I enjoyed Replay mainly because it is a great example of wish fulfillment. The main character, a middle aged man with a regular job and stuck in a lackluster marriage, gets to go back to his younger body while retaining all the knowledge and wisdom he accumulated during the years. This gives him a huge advantage over everyone else; he has knowledge of the future that can potentially make him rich, he can avoid all the mistakes that lead him to the bleak future he just escaped, and he can enjoy I enjoyed Replay mainly because it is a great example of wish fulfillment. The main character, a middle aged man with a regular job and stuck in a lackluster marriage, gets to go back to his younger body while retaining all the knowledge and wisdom he accumulated during the years. This gives him a huge advantage over everyone else; he has knowledge of the future that can potentially make him rich, he can avoid all the mistakes that lead him to the bleak future he just escaped, and he can enjoy his physical youth without the awkwardness and confusion that comes with being young and inexperienced. I think this particular fantasy can resonate with everyone even a little bit, regardless of their age or current level of happiness. Aside from the "replay" aspect, the novel is strong in terms of plot, character development and writing. Comparing it to another similar book I've read recently, The Fifteen Lives of Harry August , I definitely like Replay better, both in terms of style and the approach to time travel. I would definitely recommend.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    Jeff Winston is a 43 years old radio journalist, trapped in a tedious job and a dysfunctional marriage, when he gets the chance of a lifetime: when he's having a heart attack, instead of dying he wakes up 25 years earlier, in 1963, with all his memories intact. I don't think there's any person on this planet who, approaching the 50 years milestone, has not fantasized about starting over with the wisdom that only age and experience can grant, and enjoy all the perks a young body and financial for Jeff Winston is a 43 years old radio journalist, trapped in a tedious job and a dysfunctional marriage, when he gets the chance of a lifetime: when he's having a heart attack, instead of dying he wakes up 25 years earlier, in 1963, with all his memories intact. I don't think there's any person on this planet who, approaching the 50 years milestone, has not fantasized about starting over with the wisdom that only age and experience can grant, and enjoy all the perks a young body and financial foresight can grant. The time-loop story has been done before - my first one was The Tunnel Under the World by Poul Anderson, followed by movies like Peggy Sue Got Married and Groundhog Day . The merit of Ken Grimwood is to take this premise and explore it in all it's implications and variations, well beyond the immediate self gratification most of us think at first (like betting on the winning horse in a major race or going out with the hot babe from your chemistry class). The fact hat he chooses a 25 five year interval for the loop instead of 24 hours, helps him develop his characters better and provides a more adequate canvas to explore consequences. He turns the idea of reliving one's life into the chance for introspection and for searching an answer to the grandest existentialist questions: Why are we here? Why struggle if it all ends in death and loss? Frank Capra declared in one of his classic movies : You can't take it with you! and Jeff will realize this axiom in painful detail once his initial quest for fortune and easy living comes to an abrupt end in his first replay, when he once again he is 43 years old and has a heart attack. I don't really care about genre categories and whether Replay should be considered science fiction or fantasy or mainstream (speculative fiction seems the best bet) . The author deliberately avoids any attempt at a scientific explanation for the ordeal/blessing Jeff is subjected to, because the point of the novel is self discovery and the Meaning of Life. Jeff exclaims at one point: Our dilemma, extraordinary though it is, is essentially no different than that faced by everyone who's ever walked this earth: We're here and we don't know why. The key to the novel is to be found in the quote Grimwood atributes to Plato (and Goodreads to Socrates) : 'The unexamined life is not worth living' So: it doesn't really matter if we get several chances to get the answer right like Jeff, or one like everybody else on this planet. The novel invites us to make the best of what there is, live every moment fully ("soaring into the clear blue skies") and, whenever possible, try to leave the world a little bit better than we have found it. Another point I loved about the book and its message is that having a companion along the way is every bit as important as wisdom or fortune. After chasing money, fame, sex, drugs, family life, debauchery, political involvement, scientific enquiries, solitary meditation, stoic resignation, Jeff will hopefully end this quest with some answers. I recommend looking for them in the book. I found it very well written, with a fine balance between facts and emotions, intelligent and funny in turns, thought provoking without becoming preachy. Grimwood selected another quote as an aswer to the "questioned life" , one that I can use without being afraid of spoilers. This one is from William Blake, and will be added to my favorite quotations here on Goodreads: 'To see a world in a Grain of Sand, and a Heaven in a Wild flower' 'Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, and Eternity in an hour' My final recommendation is for a companion book to Replay . By pure coincidence, I started another novel in parallel to this one : Dancing With Eternity by John Patrick Lowrie. If Ken Grimwood looks backward and inward in the search for existential answers, Lowrie uses the same replay concept (named reboot in his space opera) of receiving another chance at life in a rejuvenated body with memories intact, to look forward thousands of years into the future and explore the effect of quasi-immortality on human psychological and social development.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Metodi Markov

    Review on English, followed by the Bulgarian one. Ревюто на английски е първо, следва това на български. I had read it twenty years ago and I did not remember anything about "Replay", except that I did liked it a lot. Now, after rereading it, I can say with a clear heart that Ken Grimwood's book is great. How would you live your life if you can start it again at the very beginning of it? Combined with the knowledge and experience accumulated during your previous lives? Will this be an obstacle or w Review on English, followed by the Bulgarian one. Ревюто на английски е първо, следва това на български. I had read it twenty years ago and I did not remember anything about "Replay", except that I did liked it a lot. Now, after rereading it, I can say with a clear heart that Ken Grimwood's book is great. How would you live your life if you can start it again at the very beginning of it? Combined with the knowledge and experience accumulated during your previous lives? Will this be an obstacle or will be a priceless help when wandering around in an known - unknown world,with so many questions without reply? It's a tough task and not everyone could do it. But Jeff and Pamela succeed and their story is gentle and touching, real one. I also did enjoyed the dolphins line in the story. I highly recommend it and will search for the other books of the author! Бях я прочел преди двайсетина години и не помнех нищо за "Игра на живот", освен че ми е харесала. Сега, след препрочитането ѝ, мога с чисто сърце да заявя, че книгата на Кен Гримууд е страхотна. Как ли бихте изживяли живота си, ако можете да го започнете отново в началото на съзряването си като пълноценно човешко същество? Но съчетано със знаниията, натрупани по време на предишните ви животи? Ще пречи ли това или ще помага в лутането из един познат - непознат свят, без отговорите на толкова много въпроси? Трудна задача и не всеки би се справил. Но Джеф и Памела успяват и историята им е нежна и трогателна, истинска. Хареса ми и линията за делфините. P.S. Има ново издание от издателство "Orange Books". Препоръчвам я и ще потърся останалите книги на автора! Dolphins at Coral beach, Bulgaria:

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    Well see Bill Murry is in this small town and for some reason he wakes up there every day and it's the same day. He's living Ground Hog day over and over and he needs to learn.... No wait, that's a movie this is a book. Okay Jeff Winston is 43 years old and he apparently has a heart attack...and wakes up in his old college dorm room 25 years before. He died in 1988 and woke up in 1963. We now follow the story of his life...his redeath and his reawakening again, and again. While Murry in Ground Hog Well see Bill Murry is in this small town and for some reason he wakes up there every day and it's the same day. He's living Ground Hog day over and over and he needs to learn.... No wait, that's a movie this is a book. Okay Jeff Winston is 43 years old and he apparently has a heart attack...and wakes up in his old college dorm room 25 years before. He died in 1988 and woke up in 1963. We now follow the story of his life...his redeath and his reawakening again, and again. While Murry in Ground Hog Day relives the same day, Jeff is reliving 25 years. I won't go into what happens in his lives as that is the point and I think most will enjoy reading this book. It is a very involving read. It has a nice feel and deals with something I think most people have considered ("if only I knew then what I know now", "if only I could have that chance I blew back when", "if only I could have another chance with the girl/guy who got away"). There is a little bit of "urk" in the book (thus my 4 instead of 5). The writer's politics will show up and the book's conclusion is a bit...subjective. I'm not huge on "Message books" and (of course) this book does have it's point of view/message to give. It's not however overwhelming (that is the message doesn't overwhelm the plot) and it doesn't spoil the story. The book doesn't get preachy it simply tells a story where the writer's idea/view point are assumed to be fact. One of the best ways to convince someone of your viewpoint. So whether you will be convinced of anything or not the book tells a good story and I think you'll enjoy it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kara Babcock

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. For the first time in a while, I actually regret sticking out this book instead of DNF-ing it. It was bad. Just as I was starting to lose all hope, there was a glimmer a couple of hours in that made me hang on a bit longer. And then I figured I might as well finish the whole thing just to learn why Jeff keeps replaying parts of his life. Because when you get right down to it, Replay has a sick and amazing premise, but Ken Grimwood's writing leaves much to be desired. Grimwood's prose is so purple For the first time in a while, I actually regret sticking out this book instead of DNF-ing it. It was bad. Just as I was starting to lose all hope, there was a glimmer a couple of hours in that made me hang on a bit longer. And then I figured I might as well finish the whole thing just to learn why Jeff keeps replaying parts of his life. Because when you get right down to it, Replay has a sick and amazing premise, but Ken Grimwood's writing leaves much to be desired. Grimwood's prose is so purple I'm surprised it's not gangrenous. I listened to the audio version (because that was the only version available from my library), mostly at 2.4x speed, and it still felt like too long. Grimwood feels it's necessary to describe every single thing in detail. It's not just a table; it's a luxurious oak table with a fine gold inlay that Jeff purchased with money he won or got from investments or whatever. She's not just a woman; she has pert yet simultaneously round breasts that rise just the right amount as she raises her long, slender arms above her head. Every time Jeff picks up a glass of wine or looks at an album label the narrator has to interject with some kind of commentary on the vintage or irrelevant facts about the career of that band. It is, quite literally, a maddening experience. I could almost forgive that, but Replay is also just creepily male gazey. At one point, pretty early on in the novel, Jeff literally calls a woman "a machine made for fucking." NO. You just don't say that, ever, with the possible exception of writing (bad) erotic fiction. Oh, and then he gives that character a huge bag of money because he's breaking up with her, and she pity fucks him, because "for $250,000 you deserve it." What?? But this isn't just poor writing. Indeed, it should be a laudable thing when I inform you that, aside from Jeff, almost every other character of note in this book is a woman. That is, until you realize that's the case because they are all sex interests for Jeff. Grimwood spends an inordinate time focusing on Jeff's sex life. The bulk of Jeff's replays focus on which woman he decides to shack up with and how well she satisfies his physical and emotional man-baby needs. And with the exception of his mother (because ew), even if Jeff doesn't sleep with a woman, he still thinks about sleeping with her, and the narrator describes her entirely in terms of how fuckable she is. This is pretty much the textbook example of male gaze. It's painful to listen to this for hours on end. Now I know what's like for women to watch or read most movies or books. So, yeah. Thanks, Replay, for helping me to build empathy with how women feel in our society by being so terribly creepy? I think? It's just such a shame that this amazing premise gets squandered. Jeff, and then Jeff and Pamela when he meets her during his third replay, speculate a little as to the cause and reason behind their staggered, spiralling reincarnations. Yet there is no payoff. None. We never learn why or how they keep reliving their lives, just that they have learned some big lesson about making the most out of their futures. Except I'm pretty sure that Jeff is just going to continue evaluating women's worth as sex objects and being a terrible husband, because he is the worst. Just don't read this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    Replay is a book that had been lingering on my to-read stack for well-nigh three years before I finally got up the gumption to actually crack the cover. Once again I find myself a victim of the too-many-books-too-little-time syndrome which seems to plague all of us various Goodreaders and am kicking myself for waiting so long before reading this eminently enjoyable time travel romp. I think that one of the reasons I avoided reading this for so long is that it is saddled under the unfortunate umbr Replay is a book that had been lingering on my to-read stack for well-nigh three years before I finally got up the gumption to actually crack the cover. Once again I find myself a victim of the too-many-books-too-little-time syndrome which seems to plague all of us various Goodreaders and am kicking myself for waiting so long before reading this eminently enjoyable time travel romp. I think that one of the reasons I avoided reading this for so long is that it is saddled under the unfortunate umbrella of time travel fiction. Often this means a lot of obtuse descriptions of quantum mechanics and the paradoxes of accidentally meeting yourself in the past; Time Travel 101, if you will. Fortunately, Grimwood plays upon the well-worn theme with a unique twist. Rather than jumping in a machine and galivanting into the future to romp with the Eloi, Grimwood has his hero Jeff die one chill October evening in 1988. Yet, instead of pearly gates and St. Peter, Jeff awakens to find himself in his college dorm in 1963 with full knowledge of the future to come, from the fall of Saigon to the horse that will win the Kentucky Derby. With this premise Grimwood has tapped into one of the most fundamental wishes of humankind: the desire to do things differently now that you know how it will play out. It's thrilling to watch as Jeff relives his life, testing out various professions or challenges, finally having the children that he longed for in his first life, attempting to stop the Kennedy Assassination, investing in Apple when Jobs and Wozniak were still tinkering in their garage, reveling in the reckless hedonism of early 60s Paris. As he plays through each iteration, though, Jeff realizes what a lonely existence he lives as the only one who seems to realize that everything that happens has already happened before, until he sees a film that he had never heard of before and stumbles across a woman who is also trapped in a historic loop. This was an incredibly fun read that I never wanted to put down. Jeff isn't perfect, which makes him more fun. He wastes several of his lives and inadvertantly ends up with much blood on his hands when he tries to alter the course of history, but it is this that makes him relatable. He may be forewarned, but that does not always equate to being forearmed and I would often find myself agreeing with several well-intentioned decisions he makes that inevitably blow up in his face. From a fantastic premise through a great follow-through, Ken Grimwood has crafted a story that will stand the test of time, even if it's on repeat.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Reading this on a train journey where I was travelling to meet up with a friend and was very excited about seeing him could have meant that this book would rather have been like 'musac' going on in the background and ought not to have made any real impression but it did. It was a really clever concept of one man who dies of a heart attack at 43 but then keeps reliving the decades leading up to that moment. And each 're-life' is informed by what he has been and done in all his previous incarnatio Reading this on a train journey where I was travelling to meet up with a friend and was very excited about seeing him could have meant that this book would rather have been like 'musac' going on in the background and ought not to have made any real impression but it did. It was a really clever concept of one man who dies of a heart attack at 43 but then keeps reliving the decades leading up to that moment. And each 're-life' is informed by what he has been and done in all his previous incarnations. In different lives he seeks to correct or change, remould and remodel who he is and how he works and Grimwood cleverly captures the frustrations and confusions, the anachronistic bombshells or blurted non-sequiturs which must arise. Each time he returns to himself after his 'death' he is older and thus he is not repeating the same life over and over again. Opportunities missed, meetings passed mean that necessarily there is a newness to the life he leads even in amidst the same-old-same-old. After a while, there is the added frisson of a romance that spans the lives as Jeff encounters another person undergoing the same horror/excitement, (and it is sometimes a joy and sometimes deathly; the groundhog day stuggle writ large) and then the two of them together encounter a third who, instead of seeking ways in which he can improve the lot of the world, uses his re-life for murder and mayhem. I rally loved the book and the tension and sadness inherent in the plot. There was humour, there is challenge but over-riding it all there is a sense that we cannot remake ourselves differently to how we are, we cannot scale an impossibly high wall just by virtue of having a lot of runs at it. We are who we are and all we can do is begin to find a way to be that person more happily, more honestly, more real-ly. The denoument was surprisingly undramatic and unresolved but,in the context of the weirdness and unnerving experience that the two main protagonists had had and that we the readers had shared with them over countless lives, it rang true. A clever concept, well executed, or at least, I thought so.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bill Jr.

    Replay one of most interesting and compelling science fiction novels I've ever read. It's cleverness is only exceeded by the book's probing insights into love, values and the human spirit. Replay is a page turner, so be prepared to miss meals and train stops.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The author does a great job of illuminating the main character's inner dialog and questions about his predicament. At each point in the novel, the protagonist responds to his situation sensibly and/or understandably, demonstrating smarts, will-power, perseverance, and human fallibility (his patience can and does reach a limit). I liked the plot twists and turns ... at least for the first 2/3 of the book, I really had no idea WHAT was going to happen next. I was hoping it wouldn't end the way it The author does a great job of illuminating the main character's inner dialog and questions about his predicament. At each point in the novel, the protagonist responds to his situation sensibly and/or understandably, demonstrating smarts, will-power, perseverance, and human fallibility (his patience can and does reach a limit). I liked the plot twists and turns ... at least for the first 2/3 of the book, I really had no idea WHAT was going to happen next. I was hoping it wouldn't end the way it did, simply because that's what I was guessing might happen ... but the author did keep me guessing for the majority of it, so I am mostly satisfied. This book makes you think of a lot of questions about your life and what it means, and how "REAL" any of it is. Kind of like the Matrix movie. Also, in terms of its mass-market appeal to Americans and its page-turnablity-index, I thought it was on par with the DaVinci Code. Both books are mass-market thriller/fluff pieces on the one hand, but on the other hand, they really get you thinking. And both are very easy and fun to read. I'm not sure why "Replay" doesn't seem to be famous at all, while the DaVinci Code was this big inflated international phenomenon. Hmmm. Perhaps the DaVinci Code benefitted from the free press due to its controversial religious themes (Whaddyamean, Jesus wasn't a virgin? And he had kids of his own!??!? How could this be? He was GOD, he was perfect! Perfect people don't have SEX! Let's make a big fuss and ... whoops, now the blasphemous author has sold tons of books! Oopsie!!!). By contrast, there is very little discussion of religion or politics or anything that would get people all "RILED UP" in Replay. So ... maybe that's why this book didn't become an "international sensation" like the DaVinci Code. One thing about "Replay" which is either positive or negative, depending on who you are, is that it is closely tied to American sports, popular culture, and political events from 1963 to 1988. Americans of baby-boomer age (and older) will probably personally remember all the historic references and follow along with the book as if re-living their own lives. I grew up in the 80s, so I didn't have THAT feeling reading the book, but at least I was familiar with the goings-on and could imagine what it would have been like. But, as these events recede further and further into the past, I'm not sure how much these "what-once-were-current events" will resonate with people. Then there's the geographic angle. I'm guessing most people in the world have only vaguely heard of (if at all) the Kentucky Derby or the World Series. (Seriously .... these are purely American things that a busy housewife in Laos probably never had a reason to ever hear about. Know what I mean?) And I don't know how well the book will translate across time, to readers 100 years from now, when names like Dustin Hoffman will probably no longer mean anything. (No offense to Dustin, but how many great actors can we name from 100+ years ago?) I'm hoping that readers from other places and other time periods will be able to enjoy the thought-provoking themes of the book while using context clues to fill in their mental question marks on names/places/events. Still, the close ties to American events from 1963 to 1988 may create some barriers for some readers.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Right from the back of the book: “As exciting as ‘Back to the Future’, As romantic as ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’, a phenomenal time-tripping adventure.” Well, in the spirit of a little ‘time-tripping’ let me bring these comparisons slightly up to date; Replay certainly has a quaint combination of elements from the aforementioned films, but it most resembles ‘Groundhog Day’. Any fan of the three previously mentioned films would find it difficult to be disappointed by Replay. Beginning with the first Right from the back of the book: “As exciting as ‘Back to the Future’, As romantic as ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’, a phenomenal time-tripping adventure.” Well, in the spirit of a little ‘time-tripping’ let me bring these comparisons slightly up to date; Replay certainly has a quaint combination of elements from the aforementioned films, but it most resembles ‘Groundhog Day’. Any fan of the three previously mentioned films would find it difficult to be disappointed by Replay. Beginning with the first sentence of the book, author Grimwood makes it obvious that something spectacular is happening to the protagonist, Jeff Winston. Jeff is in the throes of death before we truly know anything about him, and in his final seconds under the strain of a heart attack, the little that is related is that his marriage to his wife Linda has become unfulfilling and is headed towards divorce, his dream of moving from radio station management to a job in television has been unsuccessful, his efforts to have a child with Linda have failed, and money is tight. Basically, Jeff Winston is a man with many regrets as to which fork in the road of life he’d followed on numerous occasions, and just after 1PM on October 18th of 1988, his life stops and he falls face forward on his desk after another tedious and routine staff meeting. Jeff suddenly comes to, and after a short time of trying to piece together what the hell has just happened, he’s rather shocked to discover he’s now back in 1963, at Emory University, eighteen years old and still possessing all the knowledge of his previous life and world events. Naturally, he has some serious questions as to what is going on; could the ‘life’ he’d experienced have been a nightmare brought on by a serious bender, is this really what the afterlife is like, can he effect any changes in this alternate reality? Luckily, Jeff doesn’t play around, once he’s reasonably sure that this is for real he goes about using his foreknowledge of events to come to his advantage, beginning by rounding up every dollar he can get and placing a bet at 11 to 1 odds on Chateaugay at the Kentucky Derby. In doing so, due to his age, he has to get an older student to place the bet, and that person is Frank Maddock, who meant very little to Jeff in his original existence. At this point, I was sold on the book, one of my best friends lives on a street called Chateaugay (all the streets in his area are named after successful racehorses like Man O War and Dark Star) and every time we’d have a crazy-ass party there and call Hungry Howies pizza to make a delivery at 1AM while trashed was extremely interesting. “Chateaugay. Yes, GAY, G-A-Y…no, this isn’t a joke, it’s the name of a champion racehorse.” Well, after the success at the Derby, Frank assumes that Winston is a mastermind handicapper, and they head off to Vegas increasing to their roll. Jeff meets Sharla Baker, a rough-around-the-edges nymphet with an insatiable sexual appetite. His partner in the whole affair, Frank, is pushing for him to prove his gambling prowess again, and here is where they make it big, Jeff tells him to lay all their previous winning on the World Series, claiming the Dodgers will sweep the Yankees 4-0. This bet pays out over 12 million in cold, hard cash, but also succeeds in making sure no reputable bookie is ever going to do any business with them again, so they begin Future, Inc, and start making some honest money by snatching up stock which Jeff knows will experience phenomenal growth. Jeff is soon faced with some dilemmas, despite what appears to be a far more fortuitous existence than he could have ever counted on, as he’s now changed his own history, and the events in his own future are no longer so predictable. Frank has become suspicious of the accuracy of Jeff’s investments and apparent knowledge of things to come and breaks off their partnership. Sharla has also become tiring, he also misses having a meaningful companion and he kicks her slutty ass to the curb with a parting gift of 200K. But the real mind-boggler is his inability to change a single world event: he tries to stop the JFK assassination by getting Lee Harvey Oswald arrested, but on that fateful day in Dallas the deed is still done, this time by some chump called Nelson Bennett. This is obviously bothersome, as it means that this JFK shooting was either much more involved than he thought (perhaps Bennett had always been a back-up should Oswald wind up arrested or perhaps throw his back out laying the wood to his old lady) or can there be events which he is simply powerless to change? These questions are enough to make him start doubting himself, but the most devastating event occurs when he goes to meet Linda, his former wife, at the same time and place he did in his original life, but this doesn’t work out so well, he’s too full of himself and his intimate knowledge of her (as a total stranger) freaks her out and chases her off. He’d thought that with his wealth secured and having a comfy job he could make their relationship work this time, alas, she ends up threatening to call the police on him. He ends up in yet another unfulfilling marriage, this time to a snobby socialite named Diane. The only good thing to happen in the coming years is finally having a child, a daughter named Gretchen, the light of his life. But before she enters womanhood, despite his routine medical check-ups and all the precautions he takes concerning his health, he still kicks the bucket on the same day, at the same time, when Oct 18 1988 rolls around. But, he wakes up again in 1963, and this is destined to keep happening to him, but with a minor variation, each time he begins life anew, he starts a little later in time, the next replay begins a matter of hours later, but the pace increases, and soon he’s starting month later, then years later. Seems like I just ruined the book, eh? Far from it. This isn’t even the first third of the book. It only gets better from here. His first replay is exactly what you’d expect someone to do, hook themselves up and live the good life. With each successive replay, Jeff approaches his course of events from a different angle, with wildly varying results for good and for ill. Over the course of his next lives he’ll end up spending one with his college sweetheart, Judy, serene, loving, and peaceful, in another he just goes apeshit, once more hooking up with Sharla the floozy before living in Paris, where they spend years having wanton group sex while smoking pounds of opium. However, when a movie called ‘Starsea’ becomes the highest grossing film in history something is awry and after seeing the film, he realizes that only another Replayer could have made such a stunning allegorical work; when he meets producer Pamela Phillips, his suspicions are confirmed. Pamela, however, is determined to use her experiences replaying to heighten the collective consciousness of mankind, and they immediately clash over how to use the unnatural influence they have. When Pamela’s sequel to Starsea is a dismal failure, she returns to Jeff and they fall madly in love, until 1988, of course. More replays; one with a common goal, to seek out other replayers. Now that they know their situation isn’t quite as unique as they once suspected, they begin putting ads in major newspapers asking anyone who is familiar with obscure references to the future to reply. Another to try getting help in understanding their situation; they go public with their knowledge of the future, in an effort to get some help or explanation from the scientific community as to what is happening to them, and, more specifically, what might be the cause of the ‘skew’, why are they beginning each replay later and later, and will the final one result in permanent death? This is where it gets sentimental and begins making the reader question what they might do in this strange circumstance. When Jeff begins a replay in which he’s already with Linda, back when they were still passionately in love, can he bring himself to go to Pamela now? As bad as he knows his relationship with Linda will end, he’s lived almost 100 years without her, having failed to win her heart in the first replay and not seeing her since. So, what do you do? Do you go and try making the best of the life you originally lead? Do you go and try spending that precious little time left with a new love that has proven to have varied results? The remainder of the book, with Jeff and Pam forced to make these decisions, is definitely worth the price of admission.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hayat

    5+ life affirming Stars Replay is winner of World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (1988) I absolutely loved this mesmerising book with it's unexpected twists, beautiful romance, intelligent plot and incandescent characters. I read Replay on a whim, without knowing what it's about except that it has something to do with time travel, and now I'm so glad I took a chance on it this summer. “All life includes loss. It's taken me many, many years to learn to deal with that, and I don't expect I'll ever be 5+ life affirming Stars Replay is winner of World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (1988) I absolutely loved this mesmerising book with it's unexpected twists, beautiful romance, intelligent plot and incandescent characters. I read Replay on a whim, without knowing what it's about except that it has something to do with time travel, and now I'm so glad I took a chance on it this summer. “All life includes loss. It's taken me many, many years to learn to deal with that, and I don't expect I'll ever be fully resigned to it. But that doesn't mean we have to turn away from the world, or stop striving for the best that we can do and be. We owe that much to ourselves, at least, and we deserve whatever measure of good may come of it.” Jeff Winston is a 43 year old man who has a dead-end job and an equally uninspiring marriage all of which makes him feel trapped. Until one day, he wakes up back in 1963 and he is 18 but all his memories, experiences and knowledge of his adult life are still intact in this world full of promise and infinite choices. Jeff has the advantage he needs to enjoy this new life and the freedom to explores his potential to the fullest and make his dreams and fantasies come true with the exuberance of youth and the knowledge of an adult. But there is a catch...he dies at 43 and wakes up again, this time he is in collage and the cycle of life replay continues but each time he is a little older when he comes back. This time travel aspect is a double edged sword and, along the way, Jeff learns a valuable lesson about life, love, human nature and what or who gives his life meaning. “The only thing that mattered was that the quarter century or so he had remaining would be his life, to live out as he chose and in his own best interests. Nothing took precedence over that: not work, not friendships, not relationships with women. Those were all components of his life, and valuable ones, but they did not define it or control it. That was up to him, and him alone.” I love the fact that this Replay is so engaging, so alien and yet relatable in its essence. You can't help but wander what you'd do if you woke up and you were 18 again? Would you make the same choices, follow the same path, make the same friends and end up with your significant other? Or would you start a new journey? “Sometimes isolation can be shared.” Ken Grimwood is a skilled author, his style of writing is engaging and fast paced, his characters are distinct from each other and he makes you care about the characters and feel everything they go through as if you are experiencing it in person. His ability to make you feel a rainbow of emotions is amazing and I love that . Replay is a beautiful story full of epic highs, gut wrenching painful moments and those quite soul searching moments in between where you examine your concious and drift along in a peaceful nostalgic moment. Reading it was cathartic and life affirming experience for me, and I enjoyed every moment of it. I would recommend this book to everyone.

  25. 5 out of 5

    David

    This book is pure fun. It is a fantasy about Jeff Winston, a middle-age man with a marriage that has turned sour. He suffers a heart attack, and wakes up to find himself 18 years old again, in his college dorm room. He has retained all his memories. He figures out how to relive his life--differently. The story is sort of reminiscent of Groundhog Day, but instead of reliving a single day over and over, Jeff relives many years of his life, again and again. With each replay of Jeff's life, he takes This book is pure fun. It is a fantasy about Jeff Winston, a middle-age man with a marriage that has turned sour. He suffers a heart attack, and wakes up to find himself 18 years old again, in his college dorm room. He has retained all his memories. He figures out how to relive his life--differently. The story is sort of reminiscent of Groundhog Day, but instead of reliving a single day over and over, Jeff relives many years of his life, again and again. With each replay of Jeff's life, he takes a different approach, and learns important lessons. With his first replay, he manages to get rich quick by making bets on horses, baseball, and the stock market. But that does not necessarily make him any happier. Jeff finds himself in many "interesting" situations, and a number of dilemmas beset him. Should he try to prevent catastrophes? Should he try to prevent the assassination of President Kennedy? Should he try to meet with his "future wife" under a different set of circumstances? Will terrible paradoxes arise if he changes the "future"? Some reviewers think this is science fiction--but it is most definitely NOT science fiction. No scientific explanations are given, even though Jeff wants to consult with scientists for answers. It is a fantasy and a romance. The original plot line kept me guessing what would happen next, and fully engaged.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    Ok, so I'm a time travel novel addict. This is my tenth in a little over two years and I'm still on the lookout for more! This one is pretty good: the narrative has elements in common with other books I've read (the JFK assassination, how to make money quickly & well, if you get it wrong this time there's always next time...) but, in truth, it never really feels believable in a way the King novel, 11/22/63, does. Still, it's pacy, there are plenty twists and, like all books of this genre, it doe Ok, so I'm a time travel novel addict. This is my tenth in a little over two years and I'm still on the lookout for more! This one is pretty good: the narrative has elements in common with other books I've read (the JFK assassination, how to make money quickly & well, if you get it wrong this time there's always next time...) but, in truth, it never really feels believable in a way the King novel, 11/22/63, does. Still, it's pacy, there are plenty twists and, like all books of this genre, it does make you think about how you're spending your time! I'm not over keen on the ending though - I thing the author could have taken a chance on something a little less 'safe'.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patricija - aparecium_libri

    I liked it, but I can't say much or otherwise I'll spoil too much. Loved the second half of the book and how its explained More on: https://readoff.wordpress.com/2019/04... I liked it, but I can't say much or otherwise I'll spoil too much. Loved the second half of the book and how its explained More on: https://readoff.wordpress.com/2019/04...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. July 2009 Groundhog Day is more like Groundhog Quarter-Century for Jeff Winston. Dead of a heart attack at 43, he suddenly wakes up in his old college dorm alive, healthy...and 18 years old. It’s 1963, and Jeff has been given a second chance in life. His dead-end job? His dead-end marriage? Haven’t happened yet, and they don’t have to. Because Jeff also remembers other things: Baseball scores, Kentucky Derby winners, all of the good stock options. Doesn’t take him long to amass a fortune and live July 2009 Groundhog Day is more like Groundhog Quarter-Century for Jeff Winston. Dead of a heart attack at 43, he suddenly wakes up in his old college dorm alive, healthy...and 18 years old. It’s 1963, and Jeff has been given a second chance in life. His dead-end job? His dead-end marriage? Haven’t happened yet, and they don’t have to. Because Jeff also remembers other things: Baseball scores, Kentucky Derby winners, all of the good stock options. Doesn’t take him long to amass a fortune and live out his life in luxury...until he dies again and has to start again. And again. He finds some comfort in meeting someone like him, another replayer, but even together their lives (re-lives?) are a frightening mystery. How is this happening? Why them? What happens when they run out of time? It’s a fascinating story with a great premise: what would you do if you could live your life again? I know what I’d do, which is annoying, because I had an idea for a story like this once and I was disappointed to see it’s already been done, but enough of that. Grimwood does it well. Jeff is understandably curious about this new power, and does what any excitable person would do: make money, have fun, seek love, lose it all, get desperate, make money, live shallowly, hate the world. The elation (and later, despair) soaks through the page. I do have some problems with the story, though, hence the less-than-stellar rating. The replays themselves are left mysterious and unexplained, and the rules are inconsistent: in his first replay, Jeff attempts to stop JFK’s assassination and fails (more on that below), thus realizing he can’t affect history (even as he makes millions from bets and investments); yet later, when he goes public about the replays in order to find answers, the consequences are horrific and history is altered in nightmarish ways. So which is it? You can change history, or you can’t? You can’t stop the small things but you can cause big events? It may not be a big deal, but it bothered me. (Aside: the Kennedy thing. In his second life/first replay, Jeff manages to get Lee Harvey Oswald arrested for threatening the president, supposedly making Dallas safe for open-air motorcading. But somebody else shoots Kennedy instead and Jeff gives up, thinking that he can’t change history. That’s it? One try? “Oh, well, maybe there really was a massive conspiracy in place to kill Kennedy after all, and Oswald was just one of the players, dur hur!” Me, I would’ve taken a sort of perverse pleasure in the attempt: On the next replay, I’d get Oswald and the other guy arrested, see if a third gunman shows up, then get him the next time around, and so on. Or just grab a camera and capture it better than the other guy did. I’d probably run out of replays soon, but c’mon, where’s the fun in quitting?) The second problem, far more important: as I said, the replays are unexplained, but worse, they don’t change anything. It’s one thing to leave the entire plot a mystery, but it’s quite another to end the story with no resolution. I mentioned the film Groundhog Day earlier, and it makes a good comparison. In the film, the reason Bill Murray was stuck repeating Groundhog Day for years on end was left unexplained too (I always suspected the bartender was behind it, given Hollywood’s love of the magical negro stereotype), but when February 3 rolled around, it was clear that those thousands of February 2nds had mattered. Here--and I don’t really want to give too much away--we’re left with a sense that those four or five replays, well over 100 years worth of time, were just...nothing more than a dream. I gotta say, that’s not a very satisfying ending.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    Replay: Imagine reliving your prime years over and over Originally posted at Fantasy Literature Replay is a story that every reader can empathize with. Who wouldn’t want to relive their best years over again, with all their memories intact? Fixing all the mistakes, seizing all the missed opportunities. It’s an irresistible thought, a fantasy of “what ifs”. Replay predates Groundhog Day (1993) by 7 years, and explore the concept in far more depth, taking it to the extreme to examine what gives our Replay: Imagine reliving your prime years over and over Originally posted at Fantasy Literature Replay is a story that every reader can empathize with. Who wouldn’t want to relive their best years over again, with all their memories intact? Fixing all the mistakes, seizing all the missed opportunities. It’s an irresistible thought, a fantasy of “what ifs”. Replay predates Groundhog Day (1993) by 7 years, and explore the concept in far more depth, taking it to the extreme to examine what gives our lives meaning. It’s a very appealing story, and delivers some powerful moments in the latter half. Replay is about 43-year old Jeff Winston, who dies of a heart attack and finds himself back as an 18 year old student at Emory University with all his memories intact, reliving this 25 year period over and over. This could easily be simple wish-fulfillment fantasy, and it starts out that way, as Jeff pursues wealth, women, and success using his knowledge of the future. But as the story progresses, Jeff realizes that no matter how he relives his life, making improvements and avoiding past mistakes, he cannot escape that fatal heart attack, and is mercilessly sent back to his past again and again. The pacing of the story is well-handled, as Jeff goes through numerous iterations of his prime years, each time with his previous memories intact, always taking a different approach and focus to his life. Initially he pursues the most sexually-appealing women his wealth can attract, but later he begins a new family, courts his first wife again, approaches his college sweetheart, and finally he meets a woman named Patricia who is also going through the same replay cycle. Their relationship is explored in great detail, as the only two people who understand what it’s like to live their lives over and over again. They think they have found a way to make this strange existence worthwhile, until they discover that the replay cycles are getting shorter at a accelerating pace… The choices that Jeff makes are understandable, as he faces the double-edged sword of immortality but continually having to restart from scratch. Sometimes he reacts negatively and descends into hedonism and drugs. In other cases he tries to do good for society. The most chilling episode involves when he and Patricia try to locate other “replayers” and encounter a monster. I did find the story quite sexist for the first half, as almost all the women are sexual conquests for Jeff, and only Patricia takes on equal status in the latter part of the story. In the early going, Jeff is fairly callow and seeks only to pursue his own pleasure. I didn’t like the suggestion that Grimwood thinks any guy given this opportunity would focus so intently on pursuing women. Perhaps he means that we always seek out companionship in life. In either case, after many iterations Jeff matures, much the way we all gain perspective over time without the benefit of reliving the past. The period details of the conservative early 1960s, tumultuous late 1960s, troubled 1970s, and materialistic 1980s are nicely described. It would be interesting to see how this story might be written now, shifting the start-point to the 1990s and ending today, for instance. In the end, it’s a thoughtful fable that encourages the reader to imagine how they might behave in Jeff’s position. While the details would obviously differ, I think most would likely progress from from basic wish fulfillment to more meaningful goals. The narrator of the audiobook is veteran William Dufris, who does an excellent job. Replay was Grimwood’s best-known novel, winning the 1988 World Fantasy Award and being chosen for David Pringle’s Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leo

    Jeff Winston, age 43, dies in 1988 at the start of this book. But he doesn't really. He awakes in his college dorm being barely 18 again. Ahead lies the chance to relive his life, change the things that went wrong, all with the future knowledge of what he has lived throughout the years. But 1988 comes again and Jeff dies again. And again and again. And the things he keeps doing in previous lives stop counting. Only he remembers them, but not the people he shared them with. He has to deal with th Jeff Winston, age 43, dies in 1988 at the start of this book. But he doesn't really. He awakes in his college dorm being barely 18 again. Ahead lies the chance to relive his life, change the things that went wrong, all with the future knowledge of what he has lived throughout the years. But 1988 comes again and Jeff dies again. And again and again. And the things he keeps doing in previous lives stop counting. Only he remembers them, but not the people he shared them with. He has to deal with that loss every time he “replays”. What’s the point in replaying if he can’t make anything count or change? He has the power of “living forever”, of making different choices and see where they lead him. But what for? He can’t even confide in anyone because he knows no one will believe him. He is living in a live-prison he can’t escape from. As the book goes on, you get a frightening feeling of oppression by reading Jeff’s lives. The book doesn't try to explain why Jeff is replaying or if there is or isn't an almighty force who is doing this to him. Jeff wonders why it’s happening at first, but there’s not much point in worrying when he can’t do anything. The book reaches its peak at his conclusion. It’s a beautiful minimalist ending that touched me. It was really powerful. It made me go from liking the book a lot to loving it. This is really a tale about life masked behind a sci-fi premise and I haven’t read anything this compelling in a while.

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