4.15 (21,010 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 140 x 220mm | 474g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • Grafton
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0246131918
  • 9780246131911

Review Text

"Replay" is the word, all right - because Grimwood (Elise, The Voice Outside) here rehashes just about every time-travel/reincarnation cliche you've ever encountered. Worse yet, instead of recycling all those notions into a shapely, involving entertainment, he merely repeats one after another - in a numbingly episodic novel that rends like a dozen or so sf short stories strung together haphazardly. Jeff Winston, 43, has a fatal heart attack in 1988. . .and wakes up as his 18-year. old self(in all but mind) back in 1963, complete with culture-shocks and push-button nostalgia in the Back to the Future/Peggy Sue Got Married groove. Soon, after failing in a predictable attempt to prevent the JFK assassination, Jeff decides to use his time-warp memory for fun and profit: he becomes a multimillionaire via gambling and investment, marries for status instead of love, winds up unhappy, dies again at 43 - and then the whole cycle is repeated over and over, each time with Jeff trying a different approach to life and time-travel. After one nice, quiet life he tried hard to not die at 43 - but fails, ("Jeff just didn't much give a shit after that.") There's a "replay" devoted to sex and drugs. Then, about halfway through the book, Jeff meets moviemaker Pamela, a fellow "replayer" who becomes his "consummate companion" - in pretentious musings on time-flow, in repetitious reunions and partings as their overlapping "replays" get shorter and shorter. Together they locate the world's only other replayer: a psycho-killer who believes that the replays are being controlled by sadistic, amusement-hungry extraterrestrials. In another replay episode, they go public with their astonishing predictions and prevent assorted disasters. . . only to find that their tampering with history makes things different but not better. And finally both Jeff and Pamela decide to use their diminishing replays for explorations of art and self-knowledge. Despite all these alternative scenarios, both Jeff and Pamela remain faceless, unappealing characters - enervating company over such a long haul. Grimwood's humorless, catchall approach has neither the charm of Jack Finney's Time and Again (or a score of similar fantasies), nor the intellectual dazzle of serious science-fiction, nor even the small-scale impact of a top-notch Twilight Zone installment. So most readers, even if intrigued by the ever-popular initial premise, won't want to stick around as Jeff does 1963-1988 over and over and over and. . . (Kirkus Reviews)
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Rating details

21,010 ratings
4.15 out of 5 stars
5 42% (8,868)
4 37% (7,768)
3 16% (3,392)
2 4% (761)
1 1% (221)
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