Recursion by Blake Crouch
Published by Crown Publishing on June 11th, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction
“But what do you cling to, moment to moment, if memories can simply change. What, then, is real?”
I can’t even remember how many people have told me to read Blake Crouch’s work. Dark Matter has been gathering dust on my bookshelf. I put it on my TBR only to read another book instead. Well, I finally read Crouch’s work. Just not Dark Matter. But that’s to come later! It’s my mission to read it by the end of the year.
Recursion follows New York City cop Barry Sutton as he investigates the weird phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome. It’s a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.
Helena Smith, a neuroscientist, has dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience the birth of a child or the final moment with a dying parent.
As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease. It’s a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to shift reality as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.
*Owen Wilson wowwwww* This book was insane. It’s a hard-hitting and mind-bending thriller. It’s well constructed, full of tension and suspense, and has off-the-wall ideas and concepts.
You will not get bored reading this. In fact, you’ll be sad when you finally have to turn off the light and go to sleep because there’s no way you’ll be able to wake up to work the next day if you stay up to read!
Crouch created a fast-paced story that’s never sacrifices thrills for important characterizations. I never expected a science fiction novel to have such an emotional impact.
Sometimes I find that sci-fi books can read a little emotionally distant or cold. But Recursion is a very emotional and human story. Ultimately, memories are precious in defining humanity and their sense of identity. It’s a scary thought — How would you feel if your life, your friends, your family, your job, your experiences were an illusion made up in your mind?
I really thought I was going to get lost in the complex concepts of time travel and neuroscience (well, as scientific as you can get in a novel like this), but Crouch explained everything very clearly. It wasn’t too confusing to follow, although I did have to constantly double check which timeline we were in.
I chalk that up to Crouch’s ability to write engaging prose that never veers into the ‘flowery language’ territory. You know the kind — where metaphors and similes form every other sentence. And I appreciated this when it came to understanding the origin of FMS.
What surprised me the most was how easily I bought into the characters and their lives. I felt for Barry and his pain of losing his daughter. I wanted to hug Helena for dedicating her life to saving her mother from a debilitating disease.
Although I enjoyed reading this from start to finish (I had to force myself to put this down to get some sleep!), I have to say the strongest part of the narrative was the beginning. I was hooked from chapter one and I didn’t mind the alternating perspectives.
Oof and the epilogue had me going through several emotions all at once. We were getting some final action scenes, answers, closure, and we got a mini cliffhanger! I just have to know what Barry said!
I highly recommend this for people who love thrillers, but are also looking for a more human and emotional story to go along with it. Also, if you’re into time travel and anything to do with the mind, you’ll love this.
Also, did anyone notice Barry’s friend on the force, Gwen, was extremely tall, unconventionally pretty and strong? Kind of like Gwendoline Christie? Was that just a cheeky reference? I mean, I’m down for Christie to play Gwen in the movie adaptation!