Throwback Thursday meme is hosted by Renee@It’s Book Talk and is a way to share some of the books that were published over a year ago.
Today I’m going to present The Dark Matter by Blake Crouch:
From Goodreads synopsis:
Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.
It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.
When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”
Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.
And someone is hunting him.
This was my first novel by Blake Crouch and I was hooked straightaway. I grew up on a wholesome diet of classic science-fiction, so the premise of a multiverse with infinite alternate realities created by our choices in life was not new to me. However, the execution is superb, with its compelling storyline, fast pace and just enough science to make you wonder: what if it was actually possible to create technology that would allow us live our lives thousands of times over, eradicating any kind of regret?
Jason Dessen, a professor of physics at a second-rate graduate school, sacrificed his career in order to have a happy family with his wife Daniela, who used to be a promising artist, and a teenage son Charlie. Both Jason and Daniela are aware that their choices stopped them from achieving something great in their respective fields, but they are content, wrapped in the bubble of their domestic bliss. Until one day Jason goes for one drink with an old friend who remained single and career-driven, and has just won a prestigious scientific award. On his way home, Jason gets abducted, drugged and sent away to a different world. The world where Daniela isn’t his wife, Charlie was never born, and Jason himself is a brilliant scientist who has discovered a ground-breaking way of exploring the worlds we create by forgoing one option in life for the sake of another one. What happens afterwards can be described as a sci-fi version of Odyssey as Jason is trying to find his way to his beloved Penelope/Daniela.
As the question of identity and how our choices shape our reality is the central one, it is no wonder that Jason’s character is the most developed. We get just a little glimpse into what Daniela thinks of Jason Number 2 (Spoiler: she does notice the small changes that somehow do not add up). Otherwise, what we see is Jason’s perspective and Jason’s determination to come home, which he defines not as a place, but as his family.
Blake Crouch’s writing is very visual– he doesn’t tell you things, he shows, or makes you feel them. You hear onions being chopped, you smell Daniela’s favourite dish being cooked and see a half-filled glass of wine. Jason’s terror at being held at a gunpoint is also palpable. Short, clipped sentences help the author create the fast pace and tension that will make you want to read the book in one sitting.
A marvellous blend of a mystery, thriller, coming home/ survival story, science-fiction, and romance, Dark Matter has definitely lived up to its hype. I’m glad I opened the door to the reality where this book has been written, published, and found thousands of readers.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Crown for the review copy provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
- Have you read Dark matter? If yes, what did you think of it?
- Have you read other books by this author? Any recommendations?