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Recursion  By  cover art

Recursion

By: Blake Crouch
Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom,Abby Craden
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Publisher's Summary

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)

©2019 Blake Crouch (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A mind-bending thriller." (USA Today)

"[Crouch] has sketched out the rules for a new reality.... [Recursion] has a thrumming pulse that moves beyond big ideas and into their effects on a larger, more complex world." (NPR)

"[Recursion] will keep you up all night - first because you can't stop reading it, and then because you can't stop thinking about it." (BuzzFeed)

What listeners say about Recursion

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed Feelings

I liked Dark Matter and other Blake Crouch novels so I came into this expecting another interesting read. Unfortunately, there was definitely something missing, though I'm not exactly sure what it was. I think a lot of it had to do with the narration. It wasn't bad, per se, just monotonous and really boring. Both narrators read with little inflection, and the female's performance outright annoyed me. Maybe it was just me, but it was if everything she said came across as either shaky or sultry, or a combination of both... and her attempt to deepen her voice for male parts was irritating.

As far as the story goes, although I wanted to know what was going on overall, I didn't like any of the characters. Helena, for an accomplished academic, was whiny and childish, Marcus Slade was a total douche who I wanted to punch and Barry, who is supposed to be good at solving puzzles can't even seem to find his own ass.

I found myself zoning out quite a bit. It was too much explanation and not enough natural dialogue. And to be honest, half of it didn't make any sense. It's like fake science was created solely for the benefit of moving the story forward. You have to be able to do way more than suspend your disbelief. So if you're looking for a light read that you don't have to think too much about, this probably isn't the book for you. If you're looking for unlikeable characters with an unrealistic and confusing, albeit intriguing, storyline, then give it a shot.


91 people found this helpful

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The power of positive thinking

Blake Crouch's Recursion begins with two separate plots: a detective investigating a suicide linked to an emerging medical condition known as false memory syndrome (FMS) and a young neuroscientist studying memory for Alzheimer's patients. Eventually, these two individuals cross paths and uncover a terrifying connection with a billionaire playing god with people's memories and influencing the rest of the world as well as history itself. As they try to intervene, the government gets involved and every attempt seems to only make the problem worse.

Crouch takes an intriguing twist on the notion that humans are merely the sum of their accumulated memories, both personal as well as tribal. When memories collide, confusion reigns. At the same time, the possibility of rewriting history is too much for people and nations to tolerate, leaving the notion that our current perceptions of time as a linear dimension that only flows in one direction may be an evolutionary result to ensure survival of our species.

The narration is well done given the dual narrators which was a wise choice given the dual perspectives of the story. Pacing is quick.

41 people found this helpful

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Too many holes in this one…

The plot of this book attracted me, and the beginning of the book was fine. It grew more and more incredible as the book went on. Without spoilers, there were too many holes in the plot and became too unbelievable,violent and repetitive for me.

38 people found this helpful

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I must be the only one.

I am going to return this book because frankly, I could not bring myself to care how it ended. The narrator was over the top dramatic. The story was beyond repetitive and I could not see the point. Maybe I was just having a bad couple of days. Moving on.

36 people found this helpful

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If you’re looking for the best multiverse book you’ve ever listened to, this will be it

This book picks up at the quarter mark and never lets go. I’ve already listened to it twice. It’s that good. A world I don’t want to leave as each listen comes to an end.

No criticism here.

26 people found this helpful

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Smart, but Really Dragged On...

Brilliant concept, just like Dark Matter, but this one just simply lost steam and got super boring. Was counting down the remaining time so I could start something else. Disappointed. :(

22 people found this helpful

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Are we there yet?

Fantastic! Couldn’t put it down. Best book I’ve read this year. In a similar vein to Crouch’s Dark Matter. One of the better depictions of time travel and it consequences I’ve read. Can’t wait to see how Crouch tops this. Both narrators were perfect!

21 people found this helpful

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Hot mess.

The story was a hot mess so damn tangled and stoned on at times. Ending was ok and the author untwined the mess he had created earlier but overall, would call the book “ok”; would have trouble recommending it to someone else. Multiple readers was distracting and did not add any depth to the story.

18 people found this helpful

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I am suffering ...

... trying to make it through this book. Half-way, and I'm ready to give up. It is dull beyond belief, and trying to make sense of how false memories work is just impossible for me. I really enjoyed the Wayward Pines series, so this is even more of a disappointment. Hate returning books to Audible, but tempted to return this one.

16 people found this helpful

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Not the Novel I Was Hoping For

After the intense excitement of _Dark Matter_, I was eager for the release of _Recursion_. Unfortunately, I was so disappointed that I returned this one for my credit back.

The pseudo-science of memory travel was not depicted with any verisimilitude. Instead of "killing" participants in a sensory deprivation tank, a more realistic move would have been to synthesize the critical neurotransmitter released by the pineal gland. I don't know why the procedure was called a "memory chair" when it was a multi-stage process involving a helmet to "tape" strong memories and then paralyzing participants in the tank and stopping their hearts, waiting for the release of the critical neurotransmitter.

As in _Dark Matter_, characters tried variations of their lives over and over again, hoping for the one and only non-lethal living memory that wouldn't destroy civilization. Instead of creating branching alternate universes or bubble universes, this procedure created dead memory tracks which were suddenly perceptible to all of humanity as time "caught up with itself." And regardless of how many people actually used the procedure, the only time span that seemed to matter was a 33-year period in the life of the chair's creator, which didn't make a lot of sense given how many people actually used the procedure when the technology inevitably leaked beyond the original lab.

Barry Sutton, the New York detective who is originally a grieving father and ex-husband, somehow becomes the love interest of neuroscientist Helena Smith, the chair's inventor, and I still don't understand the roots of this relationship. Toward the end of the book he is writing equations for wormholes in several iterations of Helena's repeating life--and there is no foundation for this type of dramatic character shift.

Despite his first wife and daughter being primary characters throughout much of the novel, especially when he relived a life where his daughter didn't die at 15, they simply fade away as he embarks on his world-saving crusade with Helena. Some ambiguity can add depth to a novel, but it didn't work here. I wanted to know how they were always quite wealthy, never challenged by illness or accidents in the 33-year repeat track, and exactly how his ultimate "solution" worked.

I think a single narrator would have helped solidify the novel. I had to keep raising and lowering the volume depending upon who was reading.

I just couldn't suspend disbelief to the end. The entire structure had too many holes. Certainly playing with time is bound to be confusing, but here the characters were more confusing than the time jumps. I had hoped for so much more.

11 people found this helpful