Recursion by Blake Crouch
Published by Crown on June 11, 2019
Genre(s): fiction, science fiction, thriller
Format & Length: e-book, 336
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Memory makes reality.
That’s what NYC cop Barry Sutton is learning, as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.
That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, 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—a force that attacks not just our minds, but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.
But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?
At once a relentless pageturner and an intricate science-fiction puzzlebox about time, identity, and memory, Recursion is a thriller as only Blake Crouch could imagine it—and his most ambitious, mind-boggling, irresistible work to date.
Blake Crouch’s previous novel, Dark Matter, was one of my favorite books I read in 2017. So I was excited when I first hear about Recursion and eager to get my hands on a copy. And it did not disappoint!
“Everyone thinks FMS is just false memories of the big moments of your life, but what hurts so much more are the small ones.”
Much like Dark Matter, Recursion is rooted in science and then asks, what if? In this case, the what if deals with memory, asking what might happen if we could go back and experience memories over again. This is a fascinating idea but what Crouch does wonderfully is how he humanizes it. He creates complex characters you want to root for and explores how this concept affects each of them personally as well as how it affects society as a whole.
Recursion is told through two perspectives: New York City policeman Barry as he stumbles into an investigation of a phenomenon being dubbed False Memory Syndrome; and neuroscientist Helena Smith as she attempts to create new technology that will allow us to experience significant memories over and over again. It is skillfully structured, alternating the two points of view until they ultimately collide. And the outcome is thrilling and compulsively readable.
“That’s what it is to be human—the beauty and the pain, each meaningless without the other.”
Ultimately, Recursion blew my mind just as much as Dark Matter did. I can’t wait to see what Crouch comes up with next!