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Check It Out: Recursion by Blake Crouch

This is Ben Bemus with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check it Out.

Today I am recommending Recursion by Blake Crouch, a science fiction thriller about memory, time, and the cost of undoing our past regrets.

In 2018, Detective Barry Sutton responds to a 911 call concerning a woman about to jump from a skyscraper. She suffers from a strange new disease called False Memory Syndrome, which gives her clear memories of two different lives – her real life, and a life that never happened where she is married and has a son. Barry starts investigating the strange disorder, and it leads him down a path that will force him to face his own past and find his way forward.

In 2007, Dr. Helena Smith is approached by tech billionaire Marcus Slade, who is willing to fund her research into building a chair that stores and recalls vivid memories at will, with the goal of treating Alzheimer’s patients. She grows wary as Slade pushes for riskier and ethically dubious experiments, but she continues her research. Helena does not realize it, but she is on the verge of a breakthrough that could bring humanity to the brink of insanity and destruction.

Crouch sets clear rules for the sci-fi elements of the story, and he goes to great lengths to really flesh out the implications of what he has established. This book has been accurately described as a puzzle-box, and it is a delight to slowly put the pieces together and realize what is going on. The main characters are all intimately relatable, and it is hard not to imagine what you would do in their place. Ultimately, this book is an exhilarating and thought-provoking read that has stuck with me since the moment I finished it.

At times contemplative, action-packed, and intimate, this is one of those special books that I wish I could forget and read again for the first time. Check out Recursion by Blake Crouch, and other mind-bending sci-fi thrillers like it, from the Sioux City Public Library.

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Verde Outdoor Media.

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