Book Review / Recursion by Blake Crouch

“Recursion is an ambitious book with original ideas about memory and consciousness, and how scientific findings can be exploited.” – Kyra Thomsen reviews Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion by Blake Crouch is a fast-paced thriller about the manipulation of memory and reality, taking the reader on a twisted journey through multiple perspectives and multiple timelines.

This action-packed story has all the signs of a blockbuster science-fiction thriller (think gun fights, dramatic deaths, and global disaster), but Crouch complements this with plenty of heart-breaking moments and stunning scenes in beautifully-written prose.

Chapters alternate between Barry (a cop investigating the mysterious outbreak of False Memory Syndrome) and Helena (a scientist attempting to build a chair to map memories).

These fully-rounded protagonists elevate Recursion with their emotionally-driven sub-plots; Barry’s failed marriage after the past death of his teenage daughter, and Helena’s desperation to push science beyond its known limits in order help Alzheimer’s patients like her mother.

As Barry and Helena cross paths, Recursion hits the throttle and takes a turn into mind-bending avenues where what is real is only temporary, and things go terribly wrong.

Without saying too much and spoiling the plot, Recursion is an ambitious book with original ideas about memory and consciousness, and how scientific findings can be exploited. It’s no surprise that the film and TV rights to Recursion have been secured by Netflix, and it will be interesting to see how this tangled story translates to the screen.

There were times in the story when I wished we were seeing things from Helena’s perspective rather than Barry’s, but I think overall the division of chapters between the two of them was fairly equal.

While there were a few rules to the science-system that I struggled to wrap my mind around, I thoroughly enjoyed Recursion and applaud Blake Crouch for his captivating writing style, engaging characters and unique story.

Kyra Thomsen is a writer from Wollongong, NSW. She was Deputy Editor of Writer’s Edit until 2017 and her work has been published in Kindling, Seizure, Space Place & Culture, Mascara and more. You can find more at or on Twitter/Instagram with @KyraThomsen.


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