It’s the premise of a book called Replay by Ken Grimwood that came out in 1986 and huge thanks to Seth Godin (and his off the wall book lists) for sharing his discovery! I can’t believe that I haven’t come across it before! Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a day and a half. It combines science fiction, fantasy, and philosophy. It’s said to be the precursor of the film Groundhog Day and it has threads that are similar to the more recently published novel The Time Traveller’s Wife.
The story begins in 1988 with Jeff, a 43-year old man, fully aware that he is dying of a heart attack and who re-awakens to himself but 25 years younger – he is the same 43-year old man but in his 18-year old life and body. And he lives his life again until he is 43 and once more dies of a heart attack. He chooses differently his second life around, or 2nd Replay, and it continues on…
It poses many powerful questions – What would you have done differently in your life? For whom are you living your life? For whom are you making your life’s decisions? What fears are getting in your way? What are your priorities? I don’t want to share too much so that the story is a surprise gift to you too but suffice it to say that it leaves you with more than the usual notion that “you make the best decisions you can with the information you have at the time”.
Grimwood takes us on a journey of memory, history, love and loss that is moving and spectacular. And to be swept up by a story that is so captivating that you cannot let go of its pages is a magical experience.