Thursday, May 9, 2013

Replay (1998)

ReplayReplay by Ken Grimwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if you could live your life over again? That's the question at the heart of Ken Grimwood's cult classic. Even though we have the movie Groundhog Day and now Kate Atkinson's masterpiece of a book Life After Life, Replay comes from a slightly different angle. It took me less than two days to read because I couldn't put it down. Highly recommended.

In Groundhog Day, the same day day is lived over and over again until a lesson is learned. In Life After Life, choices made and the resulting circumstances conspire to cause death and rebirth with a possible goal to be achieved. But in Replay the reader is treated to the possibility of exploring completely different lives knowing the exact time of death if not of rebirth. It's a fascinating conceit and the author has written a variety of options one might choose in such a situation.

This is not science fiction. This is speculative fiction that asks "What if?" And it is a heck of a good story.

If like me, you were in college in the 1960s, you will have the fun of recognizing details and differences in the world we live in today.

A middle-aged man, with a less than satisfactory existence, has a heart attack at his desk and awakes to find himself eighteen again. What choices will he make that will change the trajectory of his life?

My daughter suggested this book to me when I pitched Kate Atkinson's Life After Life to her. I finally picked it up the other day because it was due back at the library and I had already used up all my renewals. One day later  I was finished reading but not finished thinking about this amazing book, which for me falls under the heading Books You Might Have Missed.

Ken Grimwood died in 2003 at the age of 59 of a heart attack at his home in Santa Barbara, California.

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