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Recursion by Blake Crouch


Each year thousands of members vote for our Book of the Year award—congrats to Recursion!
Repeat author
Blake Crouch is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include Dark Matter.

by Blake Crouch

Quick take

The tech bro villain we probably deserve.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Movieish


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Why I love it

Seth Fried
Author, The Municipalists

Did you know that everything is a memory? By the time your brain filters and processes everything you experience, as we learn early on in Recursion, the present is already gone. Even the words you’re reading now are in the past. This is the sort of mind-bending and disorienting concept upon which the best science fiction is built.

Recursion—the new book from the author of 2016 Book of the Year finalist, Dark Matter—begins with dual storylines that gradually converge. In one, we learn of the outbreak of a mysterious condition known as False Memory Syndrome, in which sufferers are haunted by past lives and loves that exist only in their memories. In the other, a brilliant young scientist is making groundbreaking strides in the field of memory, unaware that the mysterious benefactor who funds her research may be guiding her toward a discovery so massive that soon she—and the rest of humanity—are drawn into a dangerous, world-shaking intrigue that turns reality into a treacherous labyrinth.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is how it thrusts you into a world of the impossible while bringing you to a deeper understanding of the world around you. Crouch is a novelist in the spirit of M.C. Escher. He is a meticulous, mad architect of suspense and adventure. While reading Recursion, I was awed by the massive scope of his vision, made all the more satisfying by the human warmth that causes this world to feel lived-in and worth saving. This book is dizzying fun.

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Memory makes reality.

That’s what NYC cop Barry Sutton is learning, as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face to face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds, but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

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Get an early look from the first pages of Recursion.

Member thoughts

All (14184)
All (14184)
Love (8852)
Like (4633)
Dislike (699)
14437 ratings
  • 61% Love
  • 32% Like
  • 5% Dislike
  • Bellingham, WA

    If you’re a fan of Dark Matter, you’ll love this one! This is a one day read because you won’t be able to put it down. Blake Crouch does it again causing his readers stress with his cinematic writing.

  • Glendale , AZ

    I’m not normally a science-fiction fan, but I’ve loved both books I’ve read by Crouch - definitely sucked me in, confused the crap out of me (in a good way), lots of great book club discussion ideas!

  • Tucson , AZ

    Addicting!! I do not normally read scifi, but took a chance on this one. So glad I did!!! So good! Total page turner and easy to read and follow even though the plot gets complicated at times. ❤️❤️

  • Iowa Colony , TX

    WOW WOW WOW!! My mind is BLOWN ???????????? If you have read Dark Matter this is a no brainer. I personally enjoyed Recursion even more than Dark Matter, and I didn’t think that was going to be possible!

  • Gilbert, AZ

    I LOVED this book! Such an interesting concept, one I’d love to see played out in a mini-series! I’ve told EVERYONE I can that they need to read this book! Was on the edge of my seat till the very end

  • Smithville , MO

    Yet again I am absolutely in love with Blake Crouch’s Sci-fi fantasies as they’re so groundbreaking in my view. He really makes you question the idea of reality and what we think is real. Best author.

  • Baton Rouge, LA

    I loved this book! If you love dystopian, science fiction (even tho I could totally see this happening in real life...or The Silent Patient (not the same author but same thrill/ride) you will ❤️ this!

  • Los Angeles, CA

    This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I was continuously wonderinf what would happen next. The character development was prestine. I’ve thought about this book long after I finished

  • Washington , DC

    This book tackles the question of ‘if you could go back and change something in your life, would you?’ There were a few points where the book dragged a little but even that felt like it was for effect

  • Frederick , MD

    Probably one of the best books I’ve ever read and I’ve become obsessed with telling people about it. Truly made me feel like I was part of a different world (or should I say timeline) while reading.

  • Lake Forest, CA

    Oh my god, this book. This book, oh my god. It hit ALL the right chords for me. It was fast-paced, smart, and had some twists that I did NOT see coming. I literally couldn't put it down until it was done

  • Tulsa, OK

    If you loved Dark matter, you’ll definitely love Recursion! Thriller/Sci-fi, while intellectual in thought & theory, there’s not much challenging terminology to wrestle with. Couldn’t put it down!

  • Huntington Station, NY

    This book at some points literally made me say out loud “what is going on”. All the timelines and people, it felt like it was going to end 5 different times, but I couldn’t put it down. Quick read

  • Winter Haven, FL

    An absolute mind-bender! This novel had me audibly gasping the entire read. It is fast-paced and thrilling— to the point that I am amazed at how many twists and turns there were in less than 400 pages

  • Princeton, TX

    Blake Crouch is a sci-fi master. If one can imagine it, then it could be real. The world he builds is quite scary— time travel has its costs no matter if those in control are well-intentioned or evil.

  • Tilton, IL

    This book was intense. This truly is book that makes you have a sense of dread and ask what if? What if memories can be altered and then we have this nightmare. I’m happy for the almost perfect ending

  • Brooklyn, NY

    Holy HECK, did Recursion keep me on my toes! This book blew my mind. Exciting and thought provoking until the very end. Next time I experience deja vu, I’ll think of Recursion and its electric story.

  • Orange, CA

    Absolutely brilliant book with so many twists and turns, and heart-wrenching characters. I LOVED Blake Crouch’s first book, Dark Matter, but this one was a close second. Suspenseful just like a movie!

  • Washington , DC

    Recursion was one of those books that I just couldn’t stop thinking about. I was so excited to pull it out even for a few pages on my commute to work. It was a thrilling read that I highly recommend!

  • Los Angeles , CA

    Wow. This is the first time Ive reviewed a book and its only because this bookis so extraordinary, I had to. Its got something for every reader and will definitely be one of my favorite books ever. ????

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