January 20, 2014
Replay by Ken Grimwood
Finished on 10/9/13
Rating: 4.75/5 (Terrific!)
What if you could live your life over again? And again? And again?
A time-travel classic in the tradition of Jack Finney’s Time and Again, Ken Grimwood’s acclaimed novel Replay asks the provocative question: “What if you could live your life over again, knowing the mistakes you’d made before?” Forty-three-year-old Jeff Winston gets several chances to do just that. Trapped in a tepid marriage and a dead-end job, he dies in 1988 and wakes up to find himself in 1963, at the age of eighteen, staring at his dorm room walls at Emory University. It’s all the same…but different: Jeff knows what the future holds. He knows who will win every World Series…every Kentucky Derby…even how to win on Wall Street. The one thing he doesn’t know is: Why has he been chosen to replay his life? And how many times must he win—and lose—everything he loves? Winner of the 1988 World Fantasy Award for best novel and published in eleven languages, Replay unravels the answers in a masterful skein that captivates our imagination.
Replay came highly recommended from a fellow bookseller and I’ve had it on my shelves for several years. Other than the very briefest description, I went into this novel completely cold. It turned out to be all I expected and then some. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says, “Powerful… Compelling… Superb” and I agree wholeheartedly! If my weekends weren’t full of errands and chores, I could have gulped this book down in a day or two. Instead, it took me almost two weeks, reading a little bit each night. I’m glad I didn’t rush through the book, though. The pacing is even, tension taut, and that nagging question of “Why?” kept the pages turning. Just when I thought all that could happen had, Grimwood threw in a twist, surprising me over and over again. While one obviously needs to suspend disbelief, it was easy to accept and believe the details of the plot, and I found myself wondering what I might do in a similar situation. What paths in my history would I choose to take if given a second chance?
Unputdownable! Replay is an outstanding novel and one I’ll never forget. The ending was unpredictable, yet satisfying. This one's a keeper, folks! I know I'll read it again.