Recursion is a disappointing new novel.

In Groundhog Day, Harold Ramis’s 1993 hit film, Bill Murray is caught in a time loop and repeatedly relives the same day over and over again. Blake Crouch‘s disappointing new novel, Recursion, is a lot like that. But Dr. Helena Smith and Barry Sutton are forced to live through the same thirty-three years again, again, and again. Unfortunately, the logic that imposes this cruel fate on them escapes me. Crouch’s explanation strikes me as lame.

A disappointing new novel from a talented author

About three-quarters of the way through the novel, Crouch leads a chapter with a quote from Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: “When a person dies, he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past . . . All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.” And that appears to be the point of the novel. Yet Crouch attempts to make it by venturing into neuroscience and quantum physics and, to my mind, thoroughly confusing the issue.


Recursion by Blake Crouch (2019) 324 pages ★★★☆☆


Too bad. I loved all four of the man’s previous novels that I’ve read. (He’s written about two dozen.)

For further reading

I’ve also reviewed five other science fiction novels by Blake Crouch, including his mind-bending Wayward Pines trilogy:

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