Recursion: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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New York Times best seller
From the best-selling author of Dark Matter and the Wayward Pines trilogy comes a relentless thriller about time, identity, and memory - his most mind-boggling, irresistible work to date, and the inspiration for Shondaland’s upcoming Netflix film.
"Gloriously twisting...a heady campfire tale of a novel." (The New York Times Book Review)
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by Time NPR BookRiot
Reality is broken.
At first, it looks like a disease. An epidemic that spreads through no known means, driving its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. But the force that’s sweeping the world is no pathogen. It’s just the first shock wave, unleashed by a stunning discovery - and what’s in jeopardy is not our minds but the very fabric of time itself.
In New York City, Detective Barry Sutton is closing in on the truth - and in a remote laboratory, neuroscientist Helena Smith is unaware that she alone holds the key to this mystery...and the tools for fighting back.
Together, Barry and Helena will have to confront their enemy - before they, and the world, are trapped in a loop of ever-growing chaos.
Praise for Recursion
"An action-packed, brilliantly unique ride that had me up late and shirking responsibilities until I had devoured the last page...a fantastic read." (Andy Weir, number one New York Times best-selling author of The Martian)
"Another profound science-fiction thriller. Crouch masterfully blends science and intrigue into the experience of what it means to be deeply human." (Newsweek)
"Definitely not one to forget when you’re packing for vacation...[Crouch] breathes fresh life into matters with a mix of heart, intelligence, and philosophical musings." (Entertainment Weekly)
"A trippy journey down memory lane...[Crouch’s] intelligence is an able match for the challenge he’s set of overcoming the structure of time itself." (Time)
"Wildly entertaining...another winning novel from an author at the top of his game." (AV Club)
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 47 minutes|
|Narrator||Jon Lindstrom, Abby Craden|
|Audible.ca Release Date||June 11 2019|
|Publisher||Random House Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #1,165 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#6 in Technothrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#17 in Technothrillers (Books)
#49 in Adventure Science Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from Canada
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I read this in an evening, so I think it's well written enough to capture attention and hold it.
The chapters are broken up into the author's "books 1 to 5" . 4/5 were great. 5 of 5 was a tough pill to swallow. High intense action in the ending but the under development of the muli- life long bond the characters have is severely underdeveloped. An event occurs early on with the male character that forges the motivation of his entire psychology and it works with him to the very end. The other main character is a classic damsel, turned action hero, turned let down.
At one point the book actually stated it's own similarities to minority report after an hour of myself thinking "so this is minority report" . It expands beyond that thought thankfully.
I think a younger audience would enjoy the simplicity of this books characters but the sci fi is for an older audience.
The parallels to 12 monkeys the tv series are very similar when it comes to this book, whereas the competing characters for control of their universes in both series undergo a similar bold change. The "they did, I did, see the butterfly effect" cause an effect is extremely similar.
At the end of the day I ordered this book on a sale and it was satisfying to fill an evening. Full price, I'd find less value in the novel as it was quite predictable if you've read or watched sci Fi in the last 20 years. Newer readers to sci Fi I'm certain will soak it up!
And again...4 of 5 chapters were very inticing, it was the last chapter for me that felt rushed with not enough time to soak up the bond developed in the book between two main characters.
This book was enough, I'm going to read dark matter by Blake Crouch as well as I liked his writing style for an easy read to fill an afternoon at the cabin.
I would read it again.
La première partie du roman se déroule rondement, on ne s'ennuie pas. Cependant comme l'indique le titre, çà devient très récursif ensuite jusqu'à la presque fin et on est tenté de sauter quelques pages pour voir s'il y a du neuf plus loin.
Je n'ai pas aimé autant que Wayward Pines, mais c'est très 'lisable' disons à 90%
Pour les franco-lecteurs (y a-t-il un mot pour décrire les francos qui lisent en anglais ?) Vous serez heureux d'apprendre que l'auteur ne se prend pas pour Shakespeare et les mots utilisés ne vous distrairont pas de l'histoire.
Top reviews from other countries
The novel opens with Barry Sutton, an NYPD officer, trying to coax a distraught woman away from the edge of a Manhattan rooftop as she tells him of her pain at remembering a life she never lived. "My son has been erased," are the final words she says to Barry before throwing herself off the building. This event is the catalyst that leads Barry to further investigation into a bizarre, unexplained condition called False Memory Syndrome (FMS) which causes people to develop memories of things that never actually happened.
His investigation takes him down a path of shocking discovery with implications that could change the world forever.
Sound vague? Well, this is a story you'll want to dive into without knowing a lot. It makes the many revelations and twists better - the same with DM.
With a narrative built around questions of memory and consciousness, I found the descriptions of the characters' memories particularly vivid and convincingly tangible. I also liked that the story was told completely in the present tense as it made the scenes feel as though they were happening in the present moment and helped bring them to life.
Recursion is perhaps more relevant to today than DM was, as there are references to things like the Mandela Effect, deja vu, and a recent real-life experiment where scientists successfully manipulated the memories of mice. Because these are things that have recently circulated pop culture, things people are familiar with, these references add a layer of realism to the story.
The stakes are colossal, the characters are the perfect propelling forces of the story, and the big reveals are placed at exactly the right moments. Crouch is talented at putting super complicated ideas - involving things like quantum particle physics - into words in such a way that they are digestible to readers who aren't scientifically inclined. Recursion does get a tad convoluted and confusing towards the middle of the book, but this is probably inevitable with the scale and complexity of the ideas within it.
I hope Crouch continues to write more books in this goldmine-of-a-niche he seems to have struck. They are gripping and unlike any other books I have read.
Time travel stories are tricky beasts. So often the author can be tied up in knots by trying to be too clever in their plotting, or simply by using the idea of changing the past as an excuse to propel the story at the expense of internal or character consistency.
But when done well, it can give us a doozy of a story, and Crouch manages this magnificently.
While he's been on my radar - and my TBR pile - for some time, this is my first of his books, and grabbed me from the get go. The idea of False Memory Syndrome dangled an intriguing thread, immediately making me want to know where this would lead, and the author's prose is as cinematic, fluid and immediate as any top-drawer thriller writer, the kind of writing that mostly disappears as the reader is simply immersed in the tale - but, thankfully, with a deftness of characterisation that is so often missing from these writers.
He sets up the parallel tales of cop Barry Sutton, drawn into the suicide of a woman assailed by a double set of memories, and Helena Smith, a neuroscientist driven to find a way to recover memories as a treatment for dementia, and weaves them together in a way I honestly didn't see coming. About a third of the way through threads seem about to wound up before Crouch hits us like a truck coming out of the darkness with the real concept, sending the book spiralling off in recursive loops and increasingly extreme outcomes that could quite easily have felt too much had they not been handled so well.
(It's around this switch where I found the only sour note in the whole book; Barry's character reactions just seem completely off, given that he has just remembered is while previous life and both losing and regaining his daughter, his actions and interactions with Helena seem unaffected by this emotional maelstrom. However, as this is just prior to the Big Reveal, I'm happy to put it down to Crouch perhaps concentrating on what is to come.)
As well as the plotting and wonderful time travel premise (which is compelling enough for me to suspend my disbelief, even though I find it no more credible than magic or faster-than-light travel), the novel is fascinating due to the way the author writes character and uses the alternative timelines. That he shows Barry's marriage didn't fail because of his daughter's death, how characters are affected by their circumstances - even though Barry and Helena fit perfectly together and cherish the lifetimes they spend together, their is no clumsy hint of their being twin souls that are meant to be and will always find each other no matter what; having found each other, they need to make the effort to ensure they do so in each subsequent timeline, and this is reinforced by the ending that leaves open that, having now found each other so much later in life than previously, there is no guarantee that the people they now are will click in the same way.
Another bit of genius is the idea of the "dead timelines", where the alternatives cease to exist except as memories. There's a debate in science fiction that the many universes idea as it pertains to time travel can both be used as a lazy get out of jail free card and can also represent a callous indifference to the fate of others, as explored brilliantly in the TV show Rick and Morty, where realities are discarded with abandon when things go awry. In Recursion, Blake Crouch explicitly foregrounds how going back in time to change things for your own advantage - saving a daughter from a speeding driver, rescuing a failed relationship, focussing on a professional project that you'd allowed yourself to be distracted from - will have repercussions for other people that you cannot even begin to comprehend and, while he could have written a story in which these repercussions remain relatively small scale and personal, I quite like the Roland Emmerich-type extremes to which he takes it.
Blake Crouch has written a high-concept scifi thriller that drags you along and leaves you both open-mouthed and thinking. Perhaps it's not In Search of Lost Time or Solaris, but it is a damned-near perfect scifi thriller.
Five well deserved stars
How in hell such a colossal yet effortlessly evolving plot manifested from anyone’s brain I guess I’ll never know. But I am convinced their house is wallpapered in trillions of Post-It notes and they can’t have slept for at least five years.
The timeline is never-ending loop that is over-written with almost every page turn. As a result it contains a bounty of memories forged by characters whose intentions form the tip of a ruddy great iceberg of unforeseeable consequences.
Interfering with the natural order of events will certainly raise moral eyebrows everywhere, particularly as the ordinary folk featured in this tale are carried along by events but are unable to process the overlapping confusion that ensues.
In short, this book is a crisscrossing, mind-melting imagining of mammoth proportions and I’m delighted to have stumbled across it by happy accident, as its concept commanded my full attention throughout. Would seek out this author again for sure.
Unlike much of sci-fi where the laws of science aren't considered this book leans on theoretical physics to explore how we could time travel and the unintended consequences. And unlike many fiction books it manages to convey conversations between characters with realism without ever becoming boring. If you liked interstellar and edge of tomorrow, it's a weird love child of those two films in book form, but your mileage may vary of course.
Ultimately the author is trying to convey that life can't be lived with cheat codes. Our existence isn't something to be optimised for the avoidance of pain and ultimately to be human is to be flawed. Without any of these experiences the beauty in life becomes meaningless.