Home > Recommendations > Replay, by Ken Grimwood

Replay, by Ken Grimwood

NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN.  Includes explicit sex and great personal loss.

Replay begins with one of the lines that I remember mostly clearly of all
lines in fiction: “Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died.”
And that’s the end for him; he’s quite dead.

Except he doesn’t stay dead.  The next thing he remembers, he wakes up in his
college dorm room, twenty-five years in the past, twenty-five years younger, and
remembering absolutely everything of consequence that’s going to happen in the
next twenty-five years.

Needless to say, he lives a very different life.  Wouldn’t you, if you knew the future? If you could make long odds bets. . . and win?

He lives a whole life. And then he dies again.  And wakes up.  Again. And again. And again.

Replay is about what Jeff learns to value, what he gets out of another
viewpoint on his life, and how he learns to love.  It’s not an easy book in
places–there’s a couple of scenes that always make my skin crawl.  It’s
joyously upbeat overall, however.  A book that I’ve reread any number of times
since I discovered it when it won the World Fantasy Award in 1988. It always makes me want to tell the folks that I love how much they mean to me.

Unfortunately, Grimwood never wrote anything else nearly this good.  The three
novels he wrote before Replay (Breakthrough, Elise, and The Voice Outside)
have not lasted the years since their original publication, all being out of
print for at least a decade.  His follow-up novel, Into The Deep, was vastly
better than than the first three books, but it was still only good, compared to
Replay’s greatness.

Grimwood passed away in 2003, and at the time of his death, was writing a sequel
to Replay, which it seems will not be published.  This I consider a tragedy. If it was half as good as the original, it would be well worth reading.

Buy Replay at Amazon
Buy audiobook of Replay at Amazon

Winner, World Fantasy Award for Novel, 1988

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