Book Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch (Four Stars)


Book Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch

(Four Stars)

“Time is an illusion, a construct made out of human memory. There’s no such thing as the past, the present, or the future. It’s all happening now.”

A compelling look at the nature of time and memory and what happens when people manipulate it. Believable protagonists find themselves in unthinkable situations: one as perpetrator, one as victim.

“Can this procedure—dying in the deprivation tank as a memory reactivates—actually alter the past?” “There is no past.” “That’s crazy.” “What? You can have your theories, but I can’t have mine?” “Explain.” “You said it yourself. ‘Now’ is just an illusion, an accident of how our brains process reality.”

Folded timeline, but then it must be. Escalating doom and a ticking clock impel the protagonists and reader toward a really big train wreck. Over and over. They more they try to avoid it, the worse it looms.

“If memories can simply change. What, then, is real? And if the answer is nothing, where does that leave us?”

Interestingly, the characters seem to have free will. When left to repeat their lives, they repeat them … exactly.

“In this moment, he is a man without memory.”

Quibble: Twice Barry finds himself without any memory. That is not provided for within the construct of the plot and throws the reader out of the spell of the story.

“Life with a cheat code isn’t life. Our existence isn’t something to be engineered or optimized for the avoidance of pain. That’s what it is to be human—the beauty and the pain, each meaningless without the other.”