Fiction Review: Recursion

Recursion by Blake Crouch. Crown, 2019. 9781524759780. 336pp.

Crouch is a master of putting a unique spin on time travel puzzles, then weaving those into intense and emotional family stories. His novel Dark Matter was one of my favorite books of 2016, and I had just as hard a time putting this one down. (Here’s the Unshelved Book Review comic about Dark Matter: )

There are two stories in Recursion, that of Helena Smith, a neuroscientist researching memory to help her mom, who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, and that of Detective Barry Sutton, a man mourning the accidental death of his teenage daughter eleven years ago. Smith gets a blank check from a mysterious source, to fund the development of a device she wants to invent but that she’s discussed with no one. Sutton fails to stop a suicide, and is then kidnapped and offered a chance to make his life right. Both narratives relate to a new disease, False Memory Syndrome, whose sufferers find they suddenly have multiple sets of memories, of possible lives they’ve never lived. When the narratives finally come together, it’s amazing.


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