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Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Review: Replay

Replay is Ken Grimwood's novel that was the inspiration for Groundhog day. Well, OK, it's not, but it's what Groundhog day would have been if it was written by an intelligent thinking person. For instance, one of my pet peeves about Groundhog day was that the protagonist never considers doing anything that a smart person would do to break his enchantment (e.g., staying up past midnight). By contrast, while reading Grimwood's novel you get the impression that his protagonists would have tried everything.

The premise of the novel is what if you got to relive your life again, but with all the experience acquired from actually living it, including knowledge of future events, past mistakes, etc. And what if you got a chance to do it again and again?

With a multiple decade span, Grimwood's protagonists try everything, from winning horse races, betting on stocks, hiring Spielberg/Lucas to make movies, etc. The drawbacks of all these opportunities are also presented in focus. The novel even does a good job of ensuring that there's a reasonable ending, though of course, no reasonable explanation of why the protagonists are the only people to get a chance to re-live life that way is posited (or explained). All the actions are drawn to their logical conclusions, and I was happy with the way the novel ended.

Recommended, and thanks to Terence Chua for the recommendation!

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