All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

on June 21, 2019

Blake Crouch
Pan Macmillan AUS
2019, 326p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Barry Sutton is driving home from another long shift as an NYPD detective when the call comes in. A woman is threatening to commit suicide, and someone’s got to try to talk her down. Only as he stands on the rooftop, mere inches away from her, does he realize that the woman is infected with False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious disease that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. When Barry is unable to save her, he’s rocked to his core–not only by her death but the fear that he’s been exposed to this devastating illness.

Helena Smith is a brilliant but frustrated neuroscientist. If she could only get the funding, she’s sure she could build the ambitious device she’s long imagined–one that would allow people to preserve their most intense memories and relive them whenever they want. So when a billionaire entrepreneur offers to bankroll her project, she jumps at the opportunity–even if there are some strange conditions attached.

As Helena’s efforts yield stunning results, Barry investigates the mystery behind the woman he failed to save. He finds himself on a journey as astonishing as it is terrifying, ultimately revealing the true danger posed by Helena’s invention–and a plot that could bring about the end of reality as we know it.

Weaving together Barry’s story and Helena’s in ways even the savviest reader will never guess, Recurson is a brilliant science fiction thriller about time, memory, and the illusion of the present, built on our inability to escape the flashbulb moments that define us.

This book was a wild ride!

I picked it up because it was the ‘odd one out’ on my monthly TBR pile. I had a lot of quite similar looking books left, mostly romantic suspense or thriller types and this looked different and just something that I don’t read very often. So I decided to give it a go and it was a really nice surprise how much I enjoyed it.

Barry is a NYPD officer who tries to stop a woman jumping off a building in Manhattan. She suffers from False Memory Syndrome a condition that started striking people who suddenly wake up with two sets of memories – the life they’ve lived until that moment and also, an entirely different life. It’s assumed that only one life is ‘real’ but they have memories of two lives, vivid memories which are difficult to distinguish between. The woman on top of the building has a son in her alternative life….a son who doesn’t exist in her real life, which is more than she can bear. She tells Barry that her son has been erased. Which leads Barry to start investigating FMS and suddenly he’s given an opportunity to right an injustice….. His journey leads him to Helen, a gifted neuroscientist who just wants to map and record memories so that people can relive them whenever they want. Her motivation is her mother, who has Alzheimers disease and will soon no longer remember Helen or her father. She wants to make it so that her mother can ‘store’ and access her memories, thereby preserving her relationships with them. But the best laid plans often go awry and an offer of funding from an eccentric billionaire turns into Helen’s worst nightmare and a disaster of worldwide proportions.

It’s really difficult to explain this story – at times it was difficult for me to even fully grasp what Helen was doing, science wise and the far reaching implications of doing it over and over again. My brain doesn’t really process science or maths things and this is a deeply complex story revolving around an ability to not just map and return to memories, but taking that even further.

I think everyone has probably had a moment or more in their lives where they’ve thought ‘what would’ve happened if I’d made this choice instead of that one? If I’d done this instead of that’ and this book is like having the opportunity to go back and make that choice. I know there are things I would do differently, if returned to a certain point in time and given the option, with hindsight and clarity, to make a different choice. But sometimes, you can go back and make a choice….and it’s the wrong one. And all of a sudden there are huge consequences, butterflies flapping their wings etc. For Helen, what starts with the most honourable of intentions, the chance to give people losing their memories piece by piece the opportunity to preserve and experience precious memories, it is like many great discoveries or inventions. What Helen wants is to give people a gift but others see the potential to go further, to really push this technology to its limits and it takes on a life of its own. And for Helen, it’s a life’s work corrupted and now she and Barry have to try and come up with the answer to fix it….without making things worse. And things? They get a lot worse.

This was really enjoyable. It was complex and I know there were things I didn’t quite grasp the specifics of but it wasn’t in a ‘I don’t understand this, it’s all going over my head’ sort of thing, it was more the mechanics of the situation rather than the actual story itself. I actually kind of feel that I shouldn’t understand these sorts of stories, that the technology should be far beyond my grasp as a non-scientist person who knows zip about the brain. But I got right into this and the horror of it as well as diving into Helen and Barry as characters and how these two people came together in incredible circumstances in order to try and fix something that had gone so very wrong.

This is why I love to dive into things that are a bit different from my reading norm sometimes, because I discover things that I am really into and this was one of them. I’ve not really explored books with scientific elements too often but I’d love to read a bit more along this line of thinking with similar saving the world sort of motivation.


Book #92 of 2019


2 responses to “Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

  1. Lloyd Russell says:

    He’s a popular author. I’ve read book 1 of The Pines trilogy along with Dark Matter. They were both pretty good.

    Lloyd (408) 348-4849

    On Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 5:02 PM All The Books I Can Read wrote:

    > 1girl2manybooks posted: “Recursion Blake Crouch Pan Macmillan AUS 2019, > 326p Copy courtesy of the publisher Blurb {from the > publisher/}: Barry Sutton is driving home from another long > shift as an NYPD detective when the call comes in. A woman is threatenin” >

    • Wayward Pines was made into a TV show right? I sort of have vague recollections of it airing here but I didn’t know it was from this author until well after I wrote this. I also looked at Dark Matter, probably should have read that first! But this was really good regardless, so I should definitely check out his other books.

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