Friday, August 15, 2008

Book Review: Ken Grimwood - Replay (1987)

Published by

It’s hard to imagine that a fun comedy like Groundhog Day could be inspired by such a dry tedious novel. I had picked the book because of the movie having had a good experience with Minority Report, but then again that’s Philip K. Dick we’re talking about. Must remember to flip through the book and not read just the back cover next time I do it.

The story is about a middle age radio journalist who dies of a heart attack in the 80’s only to wake up in full youth in the 60’s with all his memories intact. A chance to a new life? Make that several. The same heart attack ends them all, but while the world is the same in general, the immediate surrounding is never the same. He gets to change his life by his actions, living several possible variants and becoming wiser after each experience and at the end of the day lonelier too. ‘Cause at the end of each life he loses everyone he loved and made his life worth living.

This predicament makes him look for other people like him and he eventually finds a woman who goes through similar life cycles. It seems like a good idea to team up together and they even become a couple. Unfortunately their replays show the clear tendency to become shorter with them continuously waking up in later stages in life. In lack of synchronicity they have to wait for each other to wake up too losing precious time they could have spent together. The only constant they have in their multiple lives is their love.

Sometimes though a lifetime of love is not enough. Through ads put in the papers they kept looking for other people with similar experiences but their searches are in vain. No one can tell them what is going on, why, and when or if ever this is going to end. The stress levels are high and desperation is settling in.

A clear sign for that is their decision to go public and face the media hysteria. The government is even worse. They end up being locked up and forced to answer questions about the future to no end. Depression and alienation tear them apart. It’s time for another life.

And this goes on again and again until the day when beginning and end meet in an everlasting heart attack. This could be the rest of his life right until the end. But the purgatory is over and the heart attack stops. Somewhere in Scandinavia another man starts repeating his nightmare. You’re free to make of this what you wish, your guess is as good as mine.

* * * * *
Written for “Scrie ca sa primesti…o carte”

No comments: