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Recursion by Blake Crouch


by Blake Crouch

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12915139,917 (4.17)4



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The cat shat on the mat!

Sometimes I get enamoured of a novel's premise and love it so much that all the (obvious) problems with it get suppressed and/or ignored. Then you wake up in the morning and that sickly wave of shame just washes right over you. Did that ever happen to you?

This book made me feel like "WTF". I don't understand how anyone could miss its repetition, incredible lack of imagery, feebleness and awfully stereotypical and dull writing. It made me cringe. I went in expecting something enjoyably pulpy, not great literature, but this just insults my meager intelligence. The book's basic idea is a carbon copy of several of Phil Dick's novels. Better to read Günter Grass translated into English but with the verbs still at the end German style...

But what of the kind that wins a literary prize, sells thousands and readers think it's good because the story keeps them hooked. The best reading group I went to was run by a retired university professor who was able to reveal the trite and formulaic in many an award winning Booker novel. Our eyes were opened and when read against truly good works we saw what he meant. Book reviews used to help the reader to judge a good book but now they all seem to be written by authors with the same publisher and so are usually glowing summaries of the story (or by your run-of-the-mill book reviewers). Critical analysis no longer comes into it, the aim is to sell as many books as possible, be it rubbish or not.

Good writing is one of those things that's hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. I see it as well wrought words, with qualities like comprehension, clarity and impact, elegance, taste and understatement. The content of good writing can be in itself absurd or rubbish. 98% of 'bad' writing can be salvaged by a crash course in A-level language. Some people I consider to be "bad writers" have made a fortune. What do I know?

Done the horseshoe many times (I know; I'm a pretentious mugwump...). I enjoy the whole walk. I’m not sure I would bother slogging up if it was just for the view from the top even if the view up there could be worth viewing. ( )
  antao | Jun 20, 2019 |
Please don't let me down, please don't let me down, please don't let me down!
  SaraChook | Jun 19, 2019 |
This book started out great, lagged a little in the middle, and then got a little ridiculous before coming to a slightly underwhelming conclusion. ( )
  AngelClaw | Jun 18, 2019 |
A trippy novel about False Memory Syndrome. New York City police officer Barry Sutton and neuroscientist Helena Smith struggle to find out what is causing and how to solve False Memory Syndrome. It may have something to do with a chair Helena is building to help preserve memories for her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's. ( )
  dcoward | Jun 18, 2019 |
The plot makes no sense; even accepting the premise, there's a very large hole. (Crouch realizes this to some extent, but he can't write around it.) The writing is ungrammatical and lazy, but still propulsive. I liked the premise—for me, it was an original twist on time travel—but the resolution is not original, and was very disappointing. Crouch seems to have written himself into a dead end. I can make up my own ending, to replace the last twenty pages. ( )
  breic | Jun 14, 2019 |
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"Memory makes reality. That's what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome--a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It's why she's dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease--a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it. But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?"--… (more)

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