Durango author Blake Crouch will launch his newest novel, “Recursion,” at El Moro next week. With “Recursion,” Crouch is continuing his literary journey by blending mystery, thriller and science fiction to pique readers’ interest and then blow their minds – in a fascinatingly good way.
Recursion opens in fall 2018 with Barry Sutton, a New York City detective, arriving on the scene to cope with a possible jumper. A distraught woman is experiencing a phenomena known as False Memory Syndrome, memories of another life where she was married with a beloved son. This is a mysterious condition that is cropping up and no one knows how it happens or whether it is contagious. What is known is that most afflicted with FMS can’t cope and end up taking their own lives. Sutton tries to relate by sharing his devastating experience of losing his own daughter, to no avail.
Meanwhile, back in 2007, Helena Smith, a devoted neuroscientist, is working feverishly to find a way to retrieve lost memories and save them to help her mother who has Alzheimer’s disease. Just as Smith is about to lose her funding, a representative for a wealthy philanthropist shows up with an offer too good to ignore. Marcus Slade offers her unlimited funds and a staff of well-qualified scientists at a private facility located on a retrofitted oil rig in the Pacific, with all the equipment she could possibly need. Smith and her crew make incredible progress, but then Slade steps in and starts to direct the research in a troubling direction.
In fall 2018, Sutton’s and Smith’s worlds collide. They are thrown together pursuing a joint quest for truth and to save the world from the machinations wrought by Slade. This begins a partnership that evolves into a love story that defies the effects of repeated attempts and failures to save themselves and others from Slade.
Crouch taps into the importance memory has in our lives and how it affects who and what we become. Time and memory are rich fields from which to create a compelling, page-turning narrative that marries fact to wild events that could become a realistic future.
“Recursion” is Crouch exploring in his fiction what physicists have discovered over the last hundred years – time is more complicated than how humans experience it. We feel time as a progression from past to the future. But physicists have made new discoveries leading to new perceptions. In 2016’s “Dark Matter,” Crouch also played with the space time continuum.
In 1988, when Stephen Hawking wrote in his groundbreaking book, “A Brief History of Time,” that time is railway lines, and “... what if the railway line had loops and branches so a train could keep going forward but come back to a station it had already passed? In other words, might it be possible for someone to travel into the future or the past?”
Crouch has taken all these questions, possibilities and has leapt into creating “Recursion” with fervor and abandon. He gives readers a lot to absorb and then even more to think about. This is not a breezy beach read by any measure, but a deeply involving and moving reading experience. Well worth the “time” to read it.
Leslie Doran is a retired teacher, freelance writer and former New Mexican who claims Durango as her forever home.