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Publisher's Summary

In 1988, 43-year-old Jeff Winston died of a heart attack. But then he awoke, and it was 1963; Jeff was 18 all over again, his memory of the next two decades intact. This time around, Jeff would gain all the power and wealth he never had before. This time around he'd know how to do it right. Until next time.
©1998 Ken Grimwood (P)2008 Tantor

Critic Reviews

World Fantasy Award, Best Novel, 1988

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  • Tim
  • Bradenton, FL, United States
  • 05-10-12

Groundhog's Day, It's Not!

Groundhog’s Day was a fun movie where the character wakes up to the same day…day after day after day. According to what I’ve read, this book was the inspiration for the movie. Both the movie and the book are about reliving the past but that’s where the similarities end.

Instead of living one day over and over, try living 25 years over each time. What would you change? Or would you live each life in the same style every time? You have many choices of how to live out those years by making lots of money (since you already know the future), becoming a recluse and getting away from it all, living it somewhere in the middle as a family man, etc.

Then come the moral questions of whether you try to do good for others leading them away from bad choices, disasters or even helping your country to avoid major conflict. But how much information is too much to give? Would you try saving President Kennedy? Every life is a new life. What would you choose to do knowing the future history? Or will it be the same future history when you tell others of upcoming events?

I had trouble laying the book aside. Enjoy the listen!

95 of 100 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • psnorb
  • Northwest Chicago Suburb, United States
  • 12-29-08

My Favorite Book for the past 10 years

Replay was the first book that I searched for when I joined audible. I am glad to see that it is finally available.

Replay has been my favorite book for the past 10 years. I have two hard cover copies one for my library and a second that I use as a loaner. I have lent the book out to no fewer than 10 friends. I have not gotten anything less than rave reviews from those that have read it.

The writing is excellent. Imagine if you could live your life over again. Would you end up the same person? What would you do differently? What could you do now to change your future? These are all wonderful topics that the book explores. The book also demonstrates how fleeting life is and that each moment should be savored to its fullest.

This was my third time through the book and I was so moved that I wanted to write a fan letter to the author. I was disappointed to see that he had passed away of a heart attack. One could only hope that he is Replaying his life again.

Don't just trust my opinion. Visit there are 313 reviews for this book and it got 4.5 stars. Enjoy.

104 of 110 people found this review helpful

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Underground Classic

30 years ago I picked this book up at a Library sell. This was early in my reading life and it was part of the reason I continue to read today. All my life I have wished I could go back in my life with the knowledge I have today and correct the wrongs I have committed to others and take advantage of the opportunities I missed in the past. I am not talking money, but personal relations, maybe take my foot out of my mouth and not say some of the stupid things I have said in the past.

This book explores these issues and more. It is not great literature and is a little depressing in parts, but still makes your mind itch. I would have loved this book even better rewritten by Robert Sawyer, but hats off to Grimwood for coming up with the idea. KG lets his liberal ideas flow a little too much and I think he has a sad outlook on life and marriage, but I love the book.

This has probably not been proclaimed as a underground classic yet, but I believe someday it will. It won the 1988 Fantasy award and I see that is continued to be reprinted from time to time. I understand he was writing a sequel, when he died.

I don't want to talk much about the story, because part of what makes the book so good are the surprises. If you have daydreamed about living your life over, then you will like this book. If you like this book then you will probably also like Flash Forward by Robert Sawyer. It is Replay in reverse.

The narrator I did not like so much and that just may be a personal flaw on my part. At times he sounds a little too comical. He is kind of the exact opposite of Scott Brick, who I don't like because he sounds to dramatic. Lots of people love Scott Brick. Just my personal taste.

92 of 99 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

My Favorite

If you liked the movie "Ground Hog Day", it was inspired by this book. This is the one person's life I have read about, that I would actually like to live. The story doesn't ever let you down; it is happy, sad, funny and depressing. It NEVER slows down and never has a boring minute.

Altough, I was at first skeptical of William Dufris narrating it (I have listened to several of his books), I quickly found that I forgot it was being read to me and just became involved with the experience of Replay. Dufris now sounds to me like the voice of Jeff Winston.
I was afraid this book wouldn't ever make it to Audio.

51 of 55 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Entertaining and more than worth the price!!

In 1987 I read the paperback copy of REPLAY and just couldn't put it down ... in fact I enjoyed it so much that I read it a second time while going the beach! It's just one of those books, a great concept and good all-round story. Just the other day I ran across this same title on audio here - downloading it immediately I might add - and was NOT dissapointed, it was indeed worth the asking price, if not more. Well written AND well read in my humble opinion. While some of the more jaded 'upper-crust' listeners may knock the story, writing and/or plot, take it from someone who reads a LOT of books and has a MASSIVE audio book collection, REPLAY is one of the gems. Listening to this was like having an experienced someone read me the book! The story will give you pause for thought and, if nothing else, take you away for 11.5 hours or so. I stay a member of for diamonds such as this title!
Now if we can just get some John DeChancie titles in here ... the Starrigger saga - hint, hint ... or H. Beam Piper's 'Little Fuzzies' trillogy ... !!

55 of 61 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 03-01-14

Groundhog Life

What if you could go back in time and relive the prime years of your life, with all your memories and knowledge about the world to come intact? For Jeff Winston, a reporter stuck in a lifeless marriage, this classic fantasy comes true when he dies of a heart attack at age 43 in 1988 and awakens in 1963, a college freshman again. Once he gets his bearings, he does what many might do in the same situation: he gets filthy rich making sure bets and lives an entirely different life. Then, at age 43, he dies again, and the cycle restarts. Over the next several quarter-century sequences, Jeff tries different paths, such as marrying his college sweetheart, the sex and drug craze of the late 60’s, and living alone on a farm. Yet, each time through, it gets harder for him to know what choices are meaningful in a world that will just reset itself.

It probably wouldn't have occurred to me to read this novel if it hadn't been on sale at audible, given how dated it sounded. But, I'm glad I did. I found Replay to be an intelligent but accessible read, and the datedness wasn't an issue. If you're an American over age 25, the cultural and historical references are long-lived enough that you'll get most of them. Grimwood uses his premise cleverly. In some lives, Jeff tries to get to the bottom of his predicament, only to have things go awry because of some issue he hadn't considered. Other times, he simply tries to live, exploring different versions of relationships with people he had known before. I won't spoil the major twist that happens around the midway point of the novel, but it adds another dimension to his experiences, creating new hope, but also new pain.

As the novel progresses, Grimwood turns up the dramatic tension by having each new reincarnation go back less far into the past than the previous one did. What will happen when Jeff’s "rebirth" date catches up with his death date? What can he accomplish with the briefer and briefer time windows he has? I wouldn't call the writing complex, but the questions behind the story are poignant ones. What gives this kind of life meaning? Or any life? Can we ever achieve our full potential in any one branch? Is there some true core to each of us amid all the possibilities of what might have been? Could we love the same people again, if we met them as strangers? Or as lovers who had disappointed us? Or both?

I won't give away the bittersweet conclusion, in which Jeff's cycle finally reaches its end, but it’s a thoughtful meditation on the necessary balance between control and acceptance. Ironically, there's an epilogue in which another character makes the jump from the mid-2010s to 1988. How abstractly in the future our time must have seemed to Mr. Grimwood when he wrote the novel!

In sum, this is a book I could easily recommend to most adult readers. It’s not difficult, and the basic human themes still hold up well. Audio narrator William Dufris doesn’t have a wide range, but I found his voice pleasant.

34 of 39 people found this review helpful

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Great book

Read the book about a year ago and loved it. Saw this and gave it a listen; good narrator and still great story

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Kenneth
  • ROCKAWAY, NJ, United States
  • 10-20-11

Pleasantly surprised...

I picked this up on a $4.95 sale because it looked interesting, although some reviews said it was predictable...some parts were but the story line was deeply interesting.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Deb
  • Columbus, Ohio, United States
  • 01-12-09


This is one of the only books I've read more than once. I actually read it 3x and listened to it once. It it well written and a great story. It is also very thought provoking. I've recomended it to many friends who all feel the same. Don't miss this one.
It will NOT disapoint!

28 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathy
  • Davis, CA, United States
  • 12-11-17

If You Could Do It All Over Again? Meh Plus Rating

Would you want to relive your life over again? I sometimes ask my husband and then I answer myself, 'Only if I could know what I know now.' Which sort of implies that I would make changes and probably not have the same kids or even my same husband. So, most likely, I would not want to do it over again knowing all I know now.

Unfortunately for our two main protagonists, Jeff and Pamela, they are caught in a type of time warp in which they die and keep waking up to live their lives over again. Except, each time they wake up a little later in the cycle, indicating to them (because each cycle is shorter) that eventually their 'replays' will shorten to nothing and life as they know it will be over.

Jeff and Pamela are given many chances and try different scenarios based on accumulated knowledge acquired in each of their lives, both before they met and after.

So, what did I think of this book? I loved it when I read the paper version many years ago and remember it as having a somewhat sad, romantic ending. The book is still sitting on a bookshelf in my room which indicates I had really fond memories of it. This time around, I was not quite as sold on it. I loved the premise but some of the lives were outright boring, some creepy and unpleasant, and some just glossed over very quickly. Maybe that was a good thing. I think the story did not age well and could have benefited from a rewrite or update, only the author is no longer living, having died of a heart attack at a relatively young age (like Jeff, our protagonist.) Perhaps he will get his own replay, come back, and do that update!

There were some really good ideas in the book. It was easy enough for me to listen to it and some parts were enjoyable and memorable.

The narration could have been better but it was good enough to keep listening. I just don't think the overall experience was good enough for me to recommend the audiobook to you. I guess I'd give Replay a Meh Plus.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful