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Replay by Ken Grimwood

Replay (1986)

by Ken Grimwood

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,347982,679 (4.16)1 / 102
  1. 120
    Time and Again by Jack Finney (Kichererbse, browner56)
    browner56: Both of these are well-written stories that deal with the concept of time travel in an interesting way.
  2. 100
    11/22/63 by Stephen King (SJaneDoe, dltj)
    dltj: Shares a similar plot line that covers part of the same time period, and "Replay" even includes a story fragment about November 22, 1963.
  3. 133
    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (hyper7, ahstrick)
  4. 40
    The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (Alirob, BeckyJG)
    BeckyJG: A protagonist who lives his life over and over, remembering the entirety of it each time, with the opportunity to do things differently, as well.
  5. 42
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Kichererbse)
  6. 10
    Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer (freelunch)
  7. 10
    A Shortcut in Time by Charles Dickinson (GirlMisanthrope)
  8. 10
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Life after Life and Replay feature characters who live multiple lives against their wills; the complications of dying and coming back to life form the core of each novel and create moving, sometimes funny, always thought-provoking situations.… (more)
  9. 00
    Flight by Sherman Alexie (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Reincarnation to learn a Life Lesson joins these works
  10. 11
    Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein (Kichererbse)
  11. 11
    The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver (amysisson)
    amysisson: Another, very different examination on where our choices take us in life.
  12. 00
    Regression by Kathy Bell (infiniteletters)
  13. 01
    Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman (Daimyo)
  14. 02
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (sturlington)
  15. 03
    The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg (ostgut)

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English (92)  French (4)  Japanese (1)  Catalan (1)  All (98)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
First Impressions:

In some ways Replay reminds me of the Groundhog Day film, where Bill Murray's character relived the same day over and over again. In the book, Jeff relives the last 25 years of his life at a random starting point as a junior in college up to when he gets a heart attack in 1988.

It's an interesting premise and one where we could fantasize what we would do ourselves. Jeff tries to stop the Kennedy assassination and fails, although he gets Lee Harvey Oswald arrested. Kennedy dies anyway. Why? Jeff figures that some large events cannot be changed. I don't agree with that. If a small change can occur then certainly a large one can.

Jeff's theory is further bunked by the middle of the novel where he and another "replayer," Pamela, make startling predictions that all come true up to a point. The US Government under Nixon start listening and soon Carter does not get elected and Reagan is bombing the Middle East! Oops!. Now tell me that's not big.

Jeff at first gets selfish and becomes a multimillionaire. In another replay, he gets married and has a daughter, Gretchen, whom he misses greatly in his next replay. In another, he tries to see if there are other "replayers" out there with dubious results.

As in Bill Murray's adventure in Groundhog Day, Jeff comes to an epiphany of sorts in regards his previous lives and the future that he eventually sees for himself. [Spoiler] The live-die-live-die every minute at the end was quite freaky! [End Spoiler].

Bottom Line:

The book is easy enough to read and you can get through it in a day. The mild sexual descriptions may raise the age to 18 on some scenes. What would you do? Could you relive the last 25 years knowing what you know now? Great story.

Other Books by This Author:

Into the Deep

Related Material:

Biography - Grimwood, Ken(neth) (1945-2003): An article from: Contemporary Authors ( )
1 vote James_Mourgos | Dec 22, 2016 |
2.5 rating.

Skipped through this one quite a bit. The premise was great but the writing was just ok. ( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
Lose yourself in it. Forget the science and just enjoy the characters and their reactions. Two of us here read it and we did discuss it afterwords - and a book that both of us (with our divergent tastes) are intrigued to discuss is a good book!

Reread for the Time Travel group, Dec. 2014. My opinions stand. :) ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
I didn't like this book because I thought the protagonist was immature and self-centered. At the end of his first life, he is complaining about the house (too small), the wife (he lacks passion for her, and she has a medical problem that makes her unable to have children), the job, and the last vacation. What a twit!

I was disappointed and would not recommend the book. ( )
  NLytle | May 12, 2016 |
What would you do if you could live your life again? And what if you had knowledge of what was to come? Would you try to save the world – to prevent tragedies from happening? Would you use that knowledge to become rich? Famous? Would you use it for good or for self-gain? Would your lifestyle be similar to your old one – or hedonistic, or charitable?

Although I’m perfectly happy with my life, there have been times when I wondered what might have happened if I’d made different choices – worked harder at school, married my first ‘love’, taken a different job... I think at some time or another we’ve all had the fantasy of revisiting the past.

For Jeff Winston, this fantasy becomes reality when he suffers a heart-attack in 1988… and wakes up as a college freshman in 1963. At first he’s completely bewildered, but soon he comes to realise that this situation could work to his advantage. After all, a well-timed bet might change his fortunes – and he is onto a winner, being able to back a dead cert.

But will he be happy with his new-found life? And what will happen when he dies once more – and wakes up in 1963 again?

I mentioned on the Book Club Forum that I don’t “do” fantasy and was challenged to read this by another member. I needn’t have worried though – it was great. It’s such a good story. Despite the fantasy element of the book, Jeff is a totally believable character. Although he changes the course of his history, he doesn’t become egotistical and try to change his life into something extraordinary or to make himself into a hero. I guessed a few things in the book but that didn’t detract from it at all.

If I have one, tiny, criticism of the book it’s that some of the secondary characters, even some of those with whom Jeff becomes very involved, maybe lack a little depth, but that’s only a minor criticism. I hardly like to admit this, but this is definitely one of my favourite reads of this year. Thanks for the recommendation, Steve. :)

According to Wikipedia, Ken Grimwood was working on a sequel to Replay when he suffered an untimely heart-attack at the age of just 59 and died. Or maybe he just went back to being 18 again…?!
( )
2 vote Bagpuss | Jan 17, 2016 |
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Information from the Norwegian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Awards and honors
For my mother and father
First words
Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died.
The future: hideous plagues, a revolution in sexual attitudes achieved and then reversed, triumph and tragedy in space, city streets haunted by null-eyed punks in leather and chains and spiked pink hair, death-beams in orbit around the polluted, choking earth...Christ, Jeff thought with a shudder, from this viewpoint his world sounded like the most nightmarish of science fiction.
"Chateaugay, at eleven-to-one odds.
He sold the Chevy, his books, stereo, and record collection....
...Now he had to place a bet, a large one. But how?"
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Rowland Damaris is NOT the author of Replay, Ken Grimwood is.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Replay is the account of 43-year-old radio journalist Jeff Winston, who dies of a heart attack in 1988 and awakens back in 1963 in his 18-year-old body as a student at Atlanta's Emory University. He then begins to relive his life with intact memories of the next 25 years, until, despite his best efforts at cardiac health, he dies of a heart attack, again, in 1988. He immediately returns to 1963, but several hours later than the last "replay". This happens repeatedly with different events in each cycle, each time beginning from increasingly later dates (first days, then weeks, then years, then ultimately decades). Jeff soon realizes that he cannot prevent his death in 1988, but he can change the events that occur before it, both for him, and for others.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 068816112X, Paperback)

Jeff Winston, forty-three, didn't know he was a replayer until he died and woke up twenty-five years younger in his college dorm room; he lived another life. And died again. And lived again and died again -- in a continuous twenty-five-year cycle -- each time starting from scratch at the age of eighteen to reclaim lost loves, remedy past mistakes, or make a fortune in the stock market. A novel of gripping adventure, romance, and fascinating speculation on the nature of time, Replay asks the question: "What if you could live your life over again?"

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:44 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Jeff Winston has many opportunities to relive his life until he gets it right.

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