Review: Rewind and Edit by John Kruse

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A Good Read

The concept is universally appealing though the book can be repetitive at times.

  • 5

Unlucky in love, fifty-something building contractor Jeff finds himself wanting more out of life, willing the past few years of hapless romantic failures to rewind so he can re-write the fabric of his existence. But little does Jeff know that exactly this is possible…

Meticulous and repetitive in his routine, Jeff encompasses a Don Tillman persona for me, where much of his life is the same leading up to one big event that changes everything.

Post-divorce and wistfully looking back to university life, Jeff feels stuck in a life of ‘monotony and repetition’. He is trapped in the present: revisiting the past in photographs and his own diary entries in order to stay sane. And what is it that makes Jeff realise why his life is falling apart? Time travel, of course!

With a blow to the head in the spare room of his bachelor pad, Jeff is transported back 34 years to his first year at university, suddenly able to relive some of his most memorable diary moments, in which Kruse provides witty accounts of Jeff’s naive mishaps and blunders in love. Haven’t we all been there! Kruse’s humour shines through as the younger Jeff’s personality emerges: “It was an inelegant and unedifying sight, no doubt -a gangly youth in baggy blue pyjamas seemingly burgling his own flat before breakfast- and he nearly shed his elasticated pyjama bottoms in the process.”

Jeff, panicking when he finds himself in 1980, humorously ponders how time travel works. “If he didn’t buy a bag of crisps one day, would that purchasing choice feed through to effect the entire shop’s profits, their viability; would it cause them to close and in turn cause other repercussions eddying out unstoppably?” With an underlying tone of impending mortality (which is certainly no mean feat to address), Kruse strikes the right balance between the inevitability of time passing and the need to live in the present.

Often over-complicated in its language and style, Jeff’s account being in the third-person is somewhat confusing at times. One would think that such a personal recollection would be in the first-person. However, this makes for an interesting narrative stance, as we feel an eerie sense of otherness about Jeff’s character from the offset, something which is confirmed later on as the revelations of his past come to light. The big question though, is Jeff able to rectify his past in order to mend his future?

Though repetitive in places, this book slowly forms into a masterpiece. I love the concept – doesn’t everyone feel a need to rewind and edit at some point?

Rewind and Edit can be purchased for Kindle at amazon here

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