Monday, November 19, 2018

42. Replay by Ken Grimwood

I had never heard of this book before and have since learned that it is considered a classic and deservedly so.  It is thanks to my wife that I did discover it.  She did some research on Dark Matter (which she also passed on to me) and discovered people saying it owed a big debt to Replay  It's also a huge favourite in Japan and probably inspired the manga upon which the Tom Cruise vehicle Tomorrow Never Dies is based.

The story starts with Jeff Winston dying of a heart attack at the age of 43.  He is a producer at a local radio station, unhappy in his marriage and stuck in his career and life.  After dying, he wakes up to find himself in his old college dorm room.  More than that, he is actually is his 18-year old self and it is 1963.  He still has the conscious and memories of his 43-year old self and as you can well imagine, struggles to adapt to this new old situation.  I have to admit, reading this part made me feel a bit panicky.  While the idea of starting over is intriguing, I would just fucking hate to sit through all those classes and lectures again.  Also, trying to act your age would really hard.

One of the things that makes Replay so enjoyable is that as you read it, you can also fantasize about what you would do and how you would deal.  I am not going to go into any more details about the narrative here, as the fun is in finding out what happens.  Ultimately, though this was classified as fantasy, Replay is what I usually disparagingly call literary fiction.  Here, I will not disparage because this is just a really good novel, well thought out, entertaining and quite moving.  It's about love and what we do with our lives and while it has a lot of darkness it is ultimately quite hopeful and inspiring.  A great read.  Nice find, Meezly!

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