Replay

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Overview

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, ...

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Overview

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?"

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Editorial Reviews

The Los Angeles Times
Replay features one of the more thorough explorations of a theme one might ever hope to find. [The book] challenges us to take fresh views of that inexorable force, time. — David Brin
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this intriguing fantasy adventure, Jeff Winston, a failing 43-year-old radio journalist, dies and wakes up in his 18-year-old body in 1963 with his memories of the next 25 years intact. He views the future from the perspective of naive 1963: ``null-eyed punks in leather and chains . . . death-beams in orbit around the polluted, choking earth . . . his world sounded like the most nightmarish of science fiction.'' But Grimwood has transcended genre with this carefully observed, literate and original story. Jeff's knowledge soon becomes as much a curse as a blessing. After recovering from the shock (is the future a dream, or is it real life?), he plays out missed choices. In one life, for example, he falls in love with Pamela, a housewife who died nine minutes after Jeff; they try to warn the world of the disasters it faces, coming in conflict with the government and history. A third replayer turns out to be a serial killer, murdering the same people over and over. Jeff and Pamela are still searching for some missing part of their lives when they notice they are returning closer and closer to the time of their deaths, and realize that the replays and their times together may be coming to an end.
Library Journal
The possibility of traveling back in time to relive one's life has long fascinated science fiction writers. Without a single gesture toward an explanation, this mainstream novel recounts the story of a man and a woman mysteriously given the ability to live their lives over. Each dies in 1988 only to awaken as a teenager in 1963 with adult knowledge and wisdom intact and the ability to make a new set of choices. Different spouses, lovers, children, careers, await them in each go-round of the past 25 years, as well as slightly altered versions of world events. Their deep commitment to one another continues through the centuries of their many lifetimes. This delightful and completely engrossing story will appeal to a wide variety of readers. Literary Guild selection. Marcia R. Hoffman, M.L.S., American Hoechst Corp., Somerville, N.J.
From the Publisher
"Dufris's skilled delivery of the fantasy of reliving one's life has just the right tone of wise hindsight." —-AudioFile
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896218055
  • Publisher: Macmillan Library Reference
  • Publication date: 1/1/1986
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 519

Meet the Author

Ken Grimwood lives in southern California.

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Read an Excerpt

Replay


By Ken Grimwood

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Ken Grimwood
All right reserved.

ISBN: 068816112X

Chapter One

Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died.

"We need -- " she'd said, and he never heard her say just what it was they needed, because something heavy seemed to slam against his chest, crushing the breath out of him. The phone fell from his hand and cracked the glass paperweight on his desk.

Just the week before, she'd said something similar, had said, "Do you know what we need, Jeff?" and there'd been a pause -- not infinite, not final, like this mortal pause, but a palpable interim nonetheless. He'd been sitting at the kitchen table, in what Linda liked to call the "breakfast nook," although it wasn't really a separate space at all, just a little formica table with two chairs placed awkwardly between the left side of the refrigerator and the front of the clothes drier. Linda had been chopping onions at the counter when she said it, and maybe the tears at the corner of her eyes were what had set him thinking, had lent her question more import than she'd intended.

"Do you know what we need, Jeff?"

And he was supposed to say, "What's that, hon?" was supposed to say it distractedly and without interest as he read Hugh Sidey's column about the presidency in Time. But Jeff wasn't distracted; he didn't give a damn about Sidey'sramblings. He was in fact more focused and aware than he had been in a long, long time. So he didn't say anything at all for several moments; he just stared at the false tears in Linda's eyes and thought about the things they needed, he and she.

They needed to get away, for starters, needed to get on a plane going someplace warm and lush -- Jamaica, perhaps, or Barbados. They hadn't had a real vacation since that long-planned but somehow disappointing tour of Europe five years ago. Jeff didn't count their annual Florida trips to see his parents in Orlando and Linda's family in Boca Raton; those were visits to an ever-receding past, nothing more. No, what they needed was a week, a month, on some decadently foreign island: making love on endless empty beaches, and at night the sound of reggae music in the air like the smell of hot red flowers.

A decent house would be nice, too, maybe one of those stately old homes on Upper Mountain Road in Montclair that they'd driven past so many wistful Sundays. Or a place in White Plains, a twelve-room Tudor on Ridgeway Avenue near the golf courses. Not that he'd want to take up golf; it just seemed that all those lazy expanses of green, with names like Maple Moor and Westchester Hills, would make for more pleasant surroundings than did the on ramps to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the glide path into LaGuardia.

They also needed a child, though Linda probably felt that lack more urgently than he. Jeff always pictured their never-born child as being eight years old, having skipped all the demands of infancy and not yet having reached the torments of puberty. A good kid, not overly cute or precocious. Boy, girl, it didn't matter; just a child, her child and his, who'd ask funny questions and sit too close to the TV set and show the spark of his or her own developing individuality.

There'd be no child, though; they'd known that was impossible for years, since Linda had gone through the ectopic pregnancy in 1975. And there wouldn't be any house in Montclair or White Plains, either; Jeff's position as news director of New York's WFYI all-news radio sounded more prestigious, more lucrative, than it actually was. Maybe he'd still make the jump to television; but at forty-three, that was growing increasingly unlikely.

We need, we need... to talk, he thought. To look each other straight in the eye and just say: It didn't work. None of it, not the romance or the passion or the glorious plans. It all went flat, and there's nobody to blame. That's simply the way it happened.

But of course they'd never do that. That was the main part of the failure, the fact that they seldom spoke of deeper needs, never broached the tearing sense of incompletion that stood always between them.

Linda wiped a meaningless, onion-induced tear away with the back of her hand. "Did you hear me, Jeff?"

"Yes. I heard you."

"What we need," she said, looking in his direction but not quite at him, "is a new shower curtain."

In all likelihood, that was the level of need she'd been about to express over the phone before he began to die. " -- a dozen eggs," her sentence probably would have ended, or " -- a box of coffee filters."

But why was he thinking all this? he wondered. He was dying, for Christ's sake; shouldn't his final thoughts be of something deeper, more philosophical? Or maybe a fast-speed replay of the highlights of his life, forty-three years on Betascan. That was what people went through when they drowned, wasn't it?

This felt like drowning, he thought as the expanded seconds passed: the awful pressure, the hopeless struggle for breath, the sticky wetness that soaked his body, as salt sweat streamed down his forehead and stung his eyes.

Drowning. Dying. No, shit, no, that was an unreal word, applicable to flowers or pets or other people. Old people, sick people. Unlucky people.

His face dropped to the desk, right cheek pressing flat against the file folder he'd been about to study when Linda called. The crack in the paperweight was cavernous before his one open eye: a split in the world itself, a jagged mirror of the ripping agony inside him. Through the broken glass he could see the glowing red numerals on the digital clock atop his bookshelf:

1:06 PM Oct 18 88

And then there was nothing more to avoid thinking about, because the process of thought had ceased.

Continues...


Excerpted from Replay by Ken Grimwood Copyright © 2006 by Ken Grimwood. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 131 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(84)

4 Star

(32)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 132 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating read

    On the third week of October 1988, journalist Jeff Winston dies of a heart attack in the middle of a droning conversation with his wife and "wakes up" alive at age 19, back in his old college dorm room in 1963. He realizes he must now replay the next 25 years of his life. A few smart sporting wagers and 12 million dollars later, Jeff thinks he is set for life. Until he dies again on the same third week in October in 1988. And again and again and again.
    As Jeff replays his lives, he encounters his wife Linda in many forms and many different ways. Jeff uses his journalist's knowledge of major newsworthy events to make slight alterations in his favor and plays a major role in the Kennedy assassination, with surprising results. Careless conversation where Jeff inadvertently tells the future are giggle-inducing while the birth of Jeff's daughter inspires Jeff lives out all the various permutations that readers would expect: successful financial decisions, sexual abandon and drug use, isolation in the woods, scientific exploration, meditation. Until one day in one of his lives, he meets Pamela, another replayer.
    While this is a fantastical (yet philosophical) thriller, it is also a romance, as Jeff experiences the joy of being with someone who truly understands him.
    Jeff and Pamela enjoy the rest of their lives together, until that same third week in October in 1988. They find each other again, though at different points and with different memories. Why are they replaying? Will it end? What's the point of it all?
    Replay is for anyone who has wondered about our purpose, our paths, our choices as humans. But it's also great fiction. Easy to read, well-written and perfect for a book club as it will spark hours of "what if" conversation. Next to K S Michaels, this is on my top 10 shelf.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic Time Travel

    Hard to believe this book was written in the 80s. It's as fresh as anything written today in the sci-fi realm. This was a book I couldnt stop reading until it was finished. It was a compulsion to follow the story to its end. I've recommended this to a lot of people of the years and everyone's been very happy with it. If you're even remotely interested in time travel, check this book out now.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Replay, a book I bought after seeing a review in The New YOrk Times.

    A very absorbing book, one I had never heard of even though it but was first published in 1986, I believe. The central theme is life after death by reliving your life over and over. It is a page turner, compelling and dark. The characters felt real but some of their lives seemed a little too fantastic but this may have been the author's intent. It is definitely thought provoking.
    I enjoyed it and I plan to read a some of Ken Grimwood's other books.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2010

    Awesome read

    I love anything that has to do with time travel, alternate realities, or changes in history, so this book appealed to me immediately. I'm in college, so I don't have that much time to read in between everything else, but I couldn't stop reading this book. The story was so easy to jump into and the pace of the story kept me interested all the way through. The only complaint I have about the story is the amount of sex in certain chapters. I know the book is for adults, and that sort of thing is common in adult literature, so I expected it to a certain degree, but in some places it was entirely gratuitous. That being said, I will probably read the book again in a few years, and would definitely recommend it to anyone that's not afraid to hang on until the last page for an explanation.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    A timeless concept that will leave you asking, "What if?"

    Ken Grimwood's Replay may have been written in the 1980s, but the fictional journey of its protagonist is one that we have all pondered in some form: What if we woke up in our own past with the knowledge of the future? Yes, the movie Groundhog Day gave us a glance at this hypothetical impossibility by having Bill Murray re-live the same day over and over until he got it right. However, Grimwood's version is more touching, more real, and more emotionally engaging. We find ourselves getting wrapped up in the multiple lives of Jeff Winston, a man who continually dies from a heart attack in his mid 40s, only to wake up in college at the ripe age of 18. The burning and obvious questions revolves around what Jeff must do to appease the heavens and have his conundrum terminated, but the story takes a series of twists and turns that whisks the reader away from the expected and into a fun, frightening, and epic adventure.

    Grimwood is so effective because of his ability to write simply and to humanize characters amidst a whirlwind plot that is both complex and filled with room for potential error. However, Grimwood never escapes from his own story by going too much into the science fiction of Jeff's phenomenon. Despite unintentional time travel and talk of parallel universes, the story at heart is about how to appreciate life, what to do with second, third, and fourth chances, and how to re-examine the mundane things we take for granted.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    Time Travel

    I bought this book for a friend of mine because it was recommended reading if you watch LOST. He enjoyed it very much.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Haven't I met you somewhere before?

    Jeff Winston, a 43 year old journalist of modest accomplishments going through the motions of a tired marriage, dies of cardiac arrest in 1988. To his shock, he returns to consciousness in 1963 in the healthy young body of his former 25 year old self. Without knowing the reason it has happened, he comes to grips with his situation and realizes that all his adult experience, wisdom and awareness of events to come remain intact. <BR/><BR/>With advance knowledge of the outcome of sports events and the growth of companies such as Apple and Sony, Jeff finds it simple, through strategic gambling and investments, to amass a fortune and become one of the wealthiest men in the world. After attempts to "re-meet" his wife fail, Winston opts for a life of sexual decadence with someone he meets in a Las Vegas casino. Despite the high life he now enjoys, Jeff recalls the pain of his "death" by heart attack and is careful to maintain the highest standards of cardiac health. But, like the events around which he accumulated his wealth, Jeff discovers that his death in 1988 is also unavoidable and he again dies with a painful heart attack. <BR/><BR/>Awakening again in 1963, Jeff realizes he is trapped in an endless cycle of death and re-birth and that, yet another time, he is faced with the choice of how to live the next 25 years of his truncated and ever-repeating life. In his second life, he meets Pamela Phillips, an acclaimed film-maker. Because of certain anachronisms that don't fit with his knowledge of how world history unrolls in the turbulent decade of the 1960s, Jeff realizes that Phillips is also a "re-player", another person trapped in her own cycle of death and re-birth. Pamela and Jeff discover their love for one another, re-discover that love in one "replay" after another and make the best of the opportunities offered them to improve their lives and the lives of those around them! <BR/><BR/>The subjective moral of Grimwood's text in "Replay" is clear enough! Strike an appropriate balance between a hedonistic self-centered life focused on the present versus a life focused on what might be and the benefit of family, friends and the world around you. The difficulty with this balance rests with the realization that life is both tenuous and finite. We never know when the ending will arrive.<BR/><BR/>The objective message, easier to understand but perhaps equally difficult to implement in a real world setting is to twist your knickers only around those issues over which you actually have control. Nothing else is worth dwelling upon in terms of mental or physical stress and effort! <BR/><BR/>There has been debate over whether "Replay" is better labeled "sci-fi" or "fantasy". I'll opt for fantasy as Grimwood made no attempt to hypothesize a mechanism for the re-playing phenomenon. At the same time, I'm going to deduct one star from its rating for a sci-fi quibble. Grimwood chose to fix Winston's and Phillip's baseline of experiences, knowledge and history at the level of their first life. As a fan of the multi-worlds concept, I didn't see any reason to favour one world over another. As both Phillips and Winston re-played their lives in a linear fashion, there was no obvious fundamental reason to suggest that, of necessity, they would be re-born in their "first" universe. Why not their second, third or indeed a universe that they had yet to experience? <BR/><BR/>"Replay" is a heart-war

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    It's No Groundhog Day

    Whenever I've tried to tell people about this book they always say, "It sounds like that Bill Murray movie" which kind of annoys me because this book is so good. I loved reading it and pondering the possibilities the hero has before him each time and imagining "what if." Great book. Great story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    THIS IS AMAZING

    Even though I knew the twists and turns of the plot, the narrative continued to hold me. I had loaned the book to a close female friend in recent years who had commented that it had a lot of sex in it (which somewhat turned her off, as it was a very male-centric view of sex), which I hadn't remembered, but which I was aware of this time through. It definitely was male-centric, as it is Winston who provides the internal awareness throughout the first half of the book, and in one of his many replays he goes through a very hedonistic phase. Now that I'm over forty, Winston's actions actually seem more realistic than when I read it in my twenties. There's a reason for the June-December romance in our culture, where women are attracted by older men for their money--Winston, in his replays, is always able to make enough quick bets on sporting events to have a sizable bank account in his youth, which enables him to attract such women earlier in his life. What is revealing here is not that Winston seeks out sex in such a way, but that Grimwood makes it a point that such a lifestyle is as hollow as his first replay, where he simply accumulated a vast amount of wealth and prestige. When Winston discovers that there is someone else in the world who is replaying like him, he seeks her out and over time they become many-lives-long soul partners because of their shared experience. <BR/><BR/>Grimwood also was somewhat prescient about the U.S., terrorism, and how the latter could easily turn the former into a fascist state, by giving us one replay where Winston and Pam actually reveal themselves to the world, only to be co-opted by the government who disbelieves in their story, but keeps them under lock and key, including torture techniques, to get them to reveal the "secrets" of the world. Even though Jeff and Pam provide details that remove certain strong-man governments from power (in the 80s, when this was written, Grimwood's target was Qaddafi in Libya), new terrorist groups form based on the covert U.S. actions, thus starting an overall change in the timeline that Jeff and Pam are unable to provide any details for because it is unlike any replay they've been through. For me, that's the profound illustration of my objection to Bush's tactics since 9/11. Rather than capitalizing on the world sentiment and sympathy for that horrible day to truly direct world opinion against such meaningless violence, Bush and his advisors instead chose the worst possible options of vengeance (in Afghanistan) and pre-emption (in Iraq; let me remind you that Hussein had no use for Al Quaedi, nor that group for him, which seems to continue to be lost in the nattering nabobs of 24-hour opinion news). The atrocities committed in the name of the U.S.'s revenge have only strengthened terrorism, undermined our legal system, and removed any sympathy the globe may have had for us. It may have even contributed to our recent economic troubles, as the continued cost of the occupation of Iraq has been an awful drain. Grimwood saw such a possibility in the 1980s. <BR/><BR/>Ever since reading REPLAY for the first time, I've said that this is the most "life-affirming" book I know of, and it remains so.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Thought provoking

    The choices the author makes might not be the same as my own, but very thought provoking book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    LOVE IT

    I love this book, I've often wondered what I could do if I could relive my life. The book is fantastic, from the first page until the last one. I would recommend this book to everyone, it really makes you think. I could read this over and over again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A Thrill Ride

    A moving thrill-ride of time-travel, lives and loves lost, regret, and what we'd do if we could live our lives all over again. A page-turner that I couldn't put down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2007

    A Time Travel Phenomenon

    This is my all time favorite time travel book. I first read it in 1987 and have read it every year since. What a great story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2006

    A zany journey we all wish we could take ourselves!

    I no longer have my copy of Replay because I loaned it out about eight years ago and miss it sorely! Replay begs to be read in one sitting, you just can't wait to find out what will happen next. This is a book I will purchase again (although I am still stalking the friend I lent the original hardcover to!). You will want to read Replay several times, there is always something you might have missed during prior reads.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2006

    twelve years ago

    Twelve years ago, in 1994, when I was deployed to Central and South America as a young Marine, I found this book and could not put it down. The book was incredible amd I read it several times over the six months I had it. Very easy to read and gripping at the same time. This book truly personifies the notion that we often put ourselves into the main characters place in the book...and there are many things the main character does that I think many of us would do!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 1999

    Grimwood 's Magical (Un)Mystery Tour

    Ken Grimwood's novel, REPLAY, is a triumphant exercise in storytelling. He takes a tired old fantasy cliche - time travel - and turns it around, upside down, sideways in a manner that leaves the reader breathless. Grimwood ignores the 'reasons' for the time travel. Instead he focuses on the people involved in this spacetime loop. What would YOU do if you knew everything of importance over the next 25 years? Highly recommended! I end up having to buy new copies every year because I loan them out to friends, and they loan it to other friends. Maybe Grimwood owes me some money :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Good Read

    It was a good read. The ending didn't quite have that climax that I would have expected, but it was good all the way to the end.

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  • Posted April 30, 2014

    The only book I have ever finished reading and then immediately

    The only book I have ever finished reading and then immediately turned back to page 1 to read again. I read voraciously and so rarely reread books, but Replay makes it back into my hands about once a year- each time I discover something new, or some scene resonates with where am I in my life. A genuine classic.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    2nd Review

    This captivated me so that it stokes an imaginative wishfull suspicion that it isn't fiction. There was definitely LIFE breathed into the story and characters. I was constantly worried that the story would end so much that i kept glancing at the page numbers....or that any ending at all could not possibly do justice to the story...it does, but that doesnt stop me from wishing for the sequel the author is said to have been working on at the time of his passing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    Great for a Book Club

    This would be a great book for a book club as it is thought provoking and would make for a good discussion. The author fit in a great deal of detail into Jeff's lives which kept the story moving and held my interest.

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