Recursion by Blake Crouch


Having read and really enjoyed Dark Matter last year, I was excited about reading Blake Crouch’s latest novel, Recursion.

One of the things I most enjoyed about Dark Matter was the fact that it was a story that spanned various genres, with a gripping, thought provoking story which explores the importance of identity and what happens when our identity is in doubt. In Recursion, the focus is on memories, and from the opening pages I was hooked. Given that the experiences we gather through life, and the memories that we hold are one of the key things that make us who we are, I was intrigued by the premise of this novel which explores what happens when those memories become confused. We are introduced to the concept of False Memory Syndrome (FMS), a disease which begins to take hold, leaving people with vivid memories of a life they have not lived, whilst erasing the precious memories from their own life. The story begins with Barry Sutton, a detective with the NYPD who investigates the death of a woman who leaps from a Manhattan rooftop, moments after telling Barry that her son had been erased. Sadly, this is far from an isolated case, as this bizarre affliction takes hold, altering our reality. And as Barry searches for the truth, we also meet Helena Smith, a neuroscientist working on a remarkable piece of technology that can impact memory in extraordinary ways. As the plot develops, we see the effect that Barry and Helena’s progress has on the world around them, as the true impact of their discoveries comes to light.

I really enjoyed Recursion, a story which captured my attention early on and left me eager to get to the truth, and to see how life would unfold as the impact of FMS continues to take hold. The exploration of memories through this novel is very interesting, and it certainly makes for a thought provoking read. As Helena’s technological advances look set to give an opportunity to relive the memories that are most previous to us, it raises questions over the power of memory, and how far humans could go to keep hold of them, and at what cost. This makes the idea of False Memory Syndrome all the more terrifying, as we see Barry himself struggle with his own memories, and the prospect of changing his past. The plot is inventive and action packed, and the story has the feel of a thriller as well as a work of science fiction which is something that draws me to Blake Crouch’s work, which has plenty of surprises along the way. But amidst it all there is also something very human to this book, with the memories of love and loss, and the relationships that are formed at its heart.

Recursion is another genre-bending novel by Blake Crouch which tells a gripping story about the significance of memory which twists and turns through time, and leaves you with plenty to think about long after you turn the final page. I was interested to read that Recursion is to be adapted into a Netflix series, so am looking forward to seeing how this mind bending tale translates onto the screen. And in the meantime, I am interested in picking up more of Crouch’s work, which includes the bestselling Wayward Pines series.

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