'Replay' - Book Review

by Ken Grimwood
Harper Collins, 311p.

A friend who knew of my interest in movies like "Groundhog Day" recommended this book to me. It came out during the peak of my enthusiasm for Science Fiction, but I don't think I was ever aware of it. I may have dismissed it because it was classified as "Fantasy" (which I've been reading more of since) - although the story walks the line between the two worlds. But even if I'd read it then ... the book is in large part about how relationships develop over decades. I was too young to understand that then; I would have thought I did, but I wouldn't have appreciated it as I do now.

Our protagonist is Jeff Winston, who dies (on the first page) in his mid-forties in 1988 - and finds himself waking up again in 1963. Back in college, doing it all over again. He makes a fortune betting on horse races and the World Series, and then proceeds to make even more money from that stake, betting on things he knows will happen but the rest of the world is unaware of. But the book evolves, with Jeff living and dying several times, with different relationships each time - and it examines what's important to him each time around.

The best thing about this book is it's well written. Second most important thing - it's really well thought out. Grimwood knew exactly where this was going all along ... and keeps the reader every bit in the dark as his protagonist. The book won a World Fantasy Award for a good reason. It's elegantly written, thought-provoking, and very much worth your time.