By Ken Grimwood

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Rating: Spectacular!
4 Stars

First Published: 1986
Pages: 311

Review © 2009 by Stephen Roof
Genre:  Modern Fiction, Literature, Fantasy



Replay by Ken Grimwood is one of my top five favorite novels of all time. You don’t really need to read the rest of this review.  Just buy it or check it out and read it. 

This book could be categorized as a fantasy but it’s really more of a modern fiction book that offers a fresh examination of the meaning of life.  The central premise, the only “fantasy” aspect of the book, is that some people are destined to live their lives over and over while retaining all the memories of their previous lives.  The result is similar to the movie “Groundhog Day” except that many years of life are repeated instead of just one day. 

In Replay, the main character, Jeff, finds that when he dies at the age of 43, he wakes up in his own 18 year old body back in the past.  He gets to do things completely differently during his second chance at life with the added benefits that he has the experience of his first life to draw upon and he knows one heck of a lot about the future.  Knowledge of future events such as sporting championships and major stock market events offers the potential for almost unlimited wealth and power.  However, as you would probably expect, the best laid plans don’t always lead to expected results. 

Replay is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that I can’t recommend highly enough for anyone who’s made it to adulthood.  It has something for everyone; adventure, comedy, romance, tragedy, and hope.  Replay does a remarkable job of exploring mortality, love, and the meaning of life.  It makes you think both about the little things and the big things.  If you haven’t read this book, get it immediately and push it right to the front of your reading list!