Living your life over again is a popular book under many titles. It sells, as it stokes the fires of self-examination, which prompts a good review or a recommendation. While there are many variants on this theme, one that is held up as a masterstroke is Ken Grimwood’s 1986 novel Replay.
The protagonist, 43-year old Jeff Winston, exits a strained marriage and disappointing media career via a fatal heart attack. He immediately revives as his 18-year old college self at Emory University. Knowing a few Kentucky Derby, World Series and stock market winners allows Jeff to live a wildly successful 2nd life until that set-in-stone 1988 heart attack. He wakes up again a smidge older and embarks on another replay of his life. Each time he takes a different angle, e.g., hedonism, altruism, isolationism, etc…, and each time his replay get a little shorter.
Love, which died in the first go around with his wife is a principal pursuit in the replays. While most of us would look up Farrah Fawcett or…Hillary Rodham (no comment), Jeff seeks fulfillment with his college sweetheart, a Las Vegas floozy and even a 2nd go around with his wife. Aside from his children, who we Illuminado spent time debating whether they survive in the multi-verse after Jeff’s death, his soulmate turns out to be another repeater, Pamela. Jointly they try to manage the oncoming repeats, but are handed several curveballs.
Literature, this is not. Though provoking, it is. More of a book club book, than an individual read.