Sunday, August 7, 2016
Book Review: "Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch
I needed to catch my breath before I wrote this review. Holy hell, what a ride this book took me on!
One night Jason Dessen is cooking dinner in Chicago home with his wife, Daniela, and their teenage son, Charlie. Jason and Daniela share news about old friends who have achieved noteworthy success recently, and think wistfully about how their lives might have been different if they had pursued their own careers, in physics and art respectively, if they hadn't chosen to settle down and raise a child. But Jason knows he is happy with his life, and he's in love with his wife.
Before dinner is ready, Jason walks downtown to join his old college roommate for a celebratory drink. Walking back home later that night, Jason hears footsteps behind him, and the next thing he knows, he's been abducted by a masked, armed man, who forces him to drive to a deserted parking lot. But while he expects to be murdered, he is surprised when his abductor starts asking him questions about his life and his family, including, "Are you happy in your life?"
When Jason wakes up, he is strapped to a gurney, surrounded by people in hazmat suits. Apparently he's been gone for a while, although at first he doesn't know where he is or where he has been. But little by little he realizes that his life as he knew it doesn't existto paraphrase The Talking Heads, his wife is not his beautiful wife, his job is differentnothing is as he remembers. He is now a noted scientist who has accomplished something thought impossible. What happened? How did everything change?
Blake Crouch's Dark Matter is an absolutely fascinating story of a man who wakes up to find out that the life he knew didn't exist, no matter how vivid his memories were. But which life is the dream, the one he is in now, or the one he remembers? Can he ever make it back to what he remembered, and if not, what will happen to him?
For fear of giving anything away to those who've not read this yet, the above plot summary just scratches the surface. This book delves into the science of choice, the idea that for every path we take there are many we don't, yet are those threads of our life being lived simultaneously? While the science of this book was a little confusing for someone who took the easiest path to achieving my college science requirements, this is a sci-fi book of surprising emotional depth, crazy twists, and action worthy of a great thriller. So many people have raved about this book and I was worried I wouldn't feel the same way, but I absolutely do. This was surprising and just so excellent. I couldn't get enough.
Kudos to Blake Crouch for such a creative, well-written book. This will make a fantastic movie, but for now, it's one hell of a read, so if you've been wavering about reading it, give it a shot. Suspend your disbelief and get ready for your heart to start beating pretty fast.