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Replay by Ken Grimwood

Replay (original 1986; edition 1998)

by Ken Grimwood

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,180952,981 (4.17)1 / 95
Authors:Ken Grimwood
Info:Harper Paperbacks (1998), Edition: later printing, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:read for book club

Work details

Replay by Ken Grimwood (1986)

  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. 123
    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (hyper7, ahstrick)
  3. 80
    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.
  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. 32
    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. 00
    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. 00
    Regression by Kathy Bell (infiniteletters)
  11. 11
    Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein (Kichererbse)
  12. 01
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (sturlington)
  13. 01
    Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman (Daimyo)
  14. 01
    The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver (amysisson)
    amysisson: Another, very different examination on where our choices take us in life.
  15. 03
    The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg (ostgut)

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English (89)  French (4)  Japanese (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (95)
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
A man dies at 43 and wakes up at 18, only to repeat the cycle. ( )
  jrthebutler | Sep 23, 2015 |
Jeff Winston is given a unique opportunity when amidst a mid-life crisis of sorts at the age of forty-three, talking to his wife on the phone, he has a heart attack and dies. Yes, this is only the beginning of his story. When he wakes up, he’s confused by his surroundings and thinks he must be dreaming because he hasn’t seen the inside of his dorm room since he was eighteen years old. Except he really is eighteen, all over again. He has the opportunity to do everything differently and he starts by using his knowledge of the future by betting on the Kentucky Derby and creating the start of his fortune. He becomes more successful than he ever could have imagined in his first life, he’s happy and healthy and while this life isn’t without its flaws he feels it to be far superior than the first go around. And then he turns forty-three, has yet another heart attack at the same exact moment, blacks out, and reawakens once again at eighteen.

Something really resonated in me with this book and I absolutely adored the time I spent reading it. Replay is so spectacularly simplistic yet bursting with brilliance. While it’s tagged as a time travel novel, it’s of a very different sort. With each replay, Jeff retains all knowledge of the past while constantly returning to his younger self. There’s a distinct lack of anything supernatural or science fiction, or even an answer as to why this was happening to him period. While you won’t be able to stop yourself from wondering about the why of it all, Replay’s real focus is more on the profound and of the components of what makes life worth living.

At one point or another, we’ve all wondered “If I could go back in the past, would I do things different?” If given the opportunity, knowing the things we know based on the lives we’ve led, would we attempt to try to change things in hopes of creating a better future for ourselves? While I fully agree that our experiences in life is what truly makes us who we are, and I’m pretty satisfied with the way I turned out, I still can’t help but think of the myriad of possibilities of what could be changed or at least slightly altered. In Replay, even though it is told from the point of view of a fictional character, you can’t help but feel as if you’re being given the opportunity to replay based on the way he chooses to live his various lives. His immediate reaction to second chances is money and he spends his life making millions only to discover by the next replay that it never quite made him as happy as he had expected it to. So in the next life he focuses on something different. One thing he does begin to realize is that no matter what life you choose to lead, something is bound to go wrong, even with a knowledge of the future and of memories of past actions. Even with the opportunity to replay, there’s never a guarantee that you’ll end up with anything close to perfect, you just learn to work with what you’re given and make it the very best possible.

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. ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Aug 7, 2015 |
I enjoyed this bit of fantasy but I was expecting science fiction. There are some interesting plot points, and there is a ticking clock aspect that adds a bit of tension, but I found myself pushing on to get to the end. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
I didn't like how it was written. Apart from the interesting concept I found nothing more to keep me hooked.

The story progresses super slowly. I finished 25% of the book and it's still his life going on and he's only making money. Doesn't he have anything else to do? And if he has to name money why not explain that in a couple of lines instead of a hundred ones?

The writing felt needlessly bloated. I started reading only the first line in each paragraph because I was getting bored with the slow pace but really wanted to finish it because it sounded like a really good plot. But nopes! I couldn't continue it. Weird that this was to be a part of a book club and it's been so highly recommended.

Characters: It's only about the main character. the rest of them are one dimensional ppl only there with a few comments. you don't "feel" any character like what were they worrying about, what did they deeply desire etc. As for the main character he seems to have an OCD. you win so much money that you're done for life and yet you focusing on only that until 25% of the book is gone? that's a bad OCD! I wish I could just somehow ignore all this hype associated with books somehow and pick up something that I'll really enjoy. ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
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 | Apr 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
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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.
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(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 (2)

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.

(summary from another edition)

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