Recursion by Blake Crouch reviewed

Recursion Book Cover Recursion
Blake Crouch
Science fiction
Pan Macmillan
June 13, 2019

A breath-taking exploration of memory and what it means to be human, Recursion is the follow-up novel to the smash-hit thriller, Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch.

What if someone could rewrite your entire life?

'My son has been erased.'

Those are the last words the woman tells Barry Sutton, before she leaps from the Manhattan rooftop. Deeply unnerved, Barry begins to investigate her death, only to learn that this wasn’t an isolated case. All across the country, people are waking up to lives different than the ones they fell asleep to. Are they suffering from False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious, new disease that afflicts people with vivid memories of a life they never lived? Or is something far more sinister behind the fracturing of reality all around him?

Miles away, neuroscientist Helena Smith is developing a technology that allows us to preserve our most intense memories, and relive them. 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.

Barry’s search for the truth leads him on an impossible, astonishing journey, as he discovers that Helena’s work has yielded a terrifying gift – the ability not just to preserve memories, but to remake them . . . at the risk of destroying what it means to be human.


Recursion by Blake Crouch reviewed.

A while back I read quite a lot of good reviews about Dark Matter by this author. Having read and enjoyed that I was not going to miss the opportunity to read Recursion, his latest book. It starts with Barry Sutton, a detective from Robbery, who is called to a woman threatening to commit suicide. She tells him she has False Memory Syndrome and can no longer live with the fact she thinks she has had two different lives. Is it an infection/imagination or what? Interesting.

Then we meet Helena some 10 years earlier than Barry’s event. She is researching memory and hopes to be able to help people with dementia. Is it possible that these two threads could be linked? Is FMS actually that or something planted/engineered If so how and will Barry try and find out more?

I quickly became completely engrossed in this tale. I liked the two main characters, Barry and Helena, a lot. Other characters were far more shadowy and, mostly, had little impact on the story. I found a couple of them mildly interesting however they never took flesh really.

This story plays with “memory” very well. If it is a subject that interests you that would be good. Rather like Dark Matter the book is quite disconcerting at times. It explores some fascinating concepts – memory, time, reality – but spookily. For me this spookiness worked well here in the main. Dark Matter had a very similar impact on me.

I found it both compelling and easy reading. I found the interplay of and between Barry and Helena’s lives very good. Up to around 75% in I loved this book. It was dark, thought provoking and edgy. Quite a bit of the last 25% felt far more suited to an “action movie” to me. Somehow it seemed out of character with the earlier part of the book. The end though – yes that worked. I’d happily read more from Blake Crouch and if edgy SciFi is you thing try this one out.

If you knew what was going to happen in the future what would you do?

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review