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  • Writer's pictureDonna

Recursion is a brain-twister of a book that is un-put-down-able

Recursion by Blake Crouch book cover

Recursion, Blake Crouch

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

Published 2019, 336 pages

Wow. I mean, wow! I did not want to put this book down. I hardly know where to start. Last year I read this author’s novel Dark Matter and loved it equally as much, although I understood that story/concept better! HA! Even when I didn’t fully comprehend every aspect of Recursion, it still kept me totally fascinated and involved. This is one of the most imaginative and complex (don’t let that word scare you off) stories I’ve ever read.


Briefly, this is a story of false memories – a mysterious affliction drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. Trying to invent technology that would store memories and help her mother who has Alzheimer’s, Helena, a neuroscientist, invents a process that does so much more and lives her life over and over regretting it and trying to change it from ever happening.

“What teachers and professors never told her was about the dark side of finding your purpose. The part where it consumes you. Where it becomes a destroyer of relationships and happiness. And still, she wouldn’t trade it. This is the only person she knows how to be.”

Along the way she meets Marcus Slade who wants to use the technology for all the wrong reasons. “I’ve traveled too much. Filled my mind with too many lives. Too many experiences. It’s beginning to fracture.” “Your perspective changes when you’ve lived countless lives.” (made me think of Groundhog Day, although nothing about this story is funny)

And she meets Barry, a cop, who tries to help her stop the literal destruction of the world. In each “loop” of their 29 years together, which he doesn’t remember but Helena does, they experience exactly the same fights, fears, dynamics – everything. Until his old memory catches up with him and they both experience real time together which only lasts until disaster strikes and it all happens again.

Barry: "Life is nothing like he expected it would be when he was young and living under the delusion that things could be controlled. Nothing can be controlled. Only endured."

When Helena’s chair/chamber falls into the hands of people trying to do the right thing its “sole use is for the undoing of unthinkable tragedies and disasters, which can be circumvented easily and anonymously by one agent. Albert has taken to calling their group the Department of Undoing Particularly Awful Shit.”

If only it ended there and it was “happily ever after.” But this story had me wondering what else could happen, thinking surely this is the end of the story; but no, it kept going to new places and new heights. As a reader who is not a sci-fi fan, the two books by Blake Crouch that I’ve read have absolutely blown me away. There is heart and humanity and fear in his stories. Highly recommended and would be great for a book club.

I'm so curious - have you read either one? Please tell me what you think..... Let's talk about these!

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