Replay by Ken Grimwood

A book about a guy who has a heart attack (right when he has the dreaded “we need to talk” phone call from his wife) and wakes up to find that he’s 18 years old, living in the early 60s. No longer married, no longer stuck in a going-nowhere job. Free to do whatever he wants…sort of.

It’s a “what if” type of book. If you could go back and do it all again, what would you do? The obvious are the ones like trying to remember what horse/sports team/etc. to bet all your money on but then there are the deeper things as well. Would you try again with a bad relationship? Can you save a person’s life? Then again, what happens if you had to repeat your life again and again (that’s not a spoiler. It’s kind of obvious when he’s reaching the end of his second life and the book is no where near the end).
The book does touch upon the classic time travel type themes such as changing history. Is it possible to stop Kennedy from being assassinated or was it inevitable; a fixed point in time? And if you can change a key point in history, will the alternative be better?

But really, this book isn’t so much about those sort of questions, it’s an exploration of people. How each person has the potential of doing and being so many things and yet can trap themselves into a particular life, unable to pull themselves out of it.
I find the book so fascinating. It is really interesting to see how the minor characters change from one cycle to another, depending on the paths that the main characters take. And it is very thought-provoking book too. I can’t help but think about reliving my own life, what choices that I would make and how they would affect those around me. I probably wouldn’t be rich though, I can’t remember who wins the Melbourne Cup in what year 😛

EDIT:I should probably mention that the book does have some sex in it so probably not good for the younger reader who doesn’t yet feel comfortable reading about sex, erections and all that jazz. There’s a little bit of drug taking as well.


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