No one tells you it’s all about to change, to be taken away. There’s no proximity alert, no indication that you’re standing on the precipice. And maybe that’s what makes tragedy so tragic. Not just what happens, but how it happens: a sucker punch that comes at you out of nowhere, when you’re least expecting it. No time to flinch or brace.”
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is the ultimate exploration of what if? What if you hadn’t taken that job? What if you’d gone right instead of left? What if you never made that life-altering move? Is the grass truly greener on the other side? Would you miss all that you’ve built in this reality if you were to gain access to a different reality where you’re more successful?
Jason Dessen, the protagonist, gets to experience his greatest what if firsthand when he gets the chance to live in a world where he didn’t settle down to raise a family, but instead became a successful scientist. The novel follows his journey as he tirelessly tries to get back to his home and, more importantly, his family.
The multiverse theory, according to the dictionary, is “a theoretical reality that includes a possibly infinite number of parallel universes.” In other words, there are infinite realities in which everything that could happen does happen. In one, you’re a famous actress. In another, you’re a bus driver. There are infinite versions of you living vastly different (and sometimes only slightly different) lives. This book takes a deeper look at what that might imply and gives the reader a sense of just how terrifying the idea of infinity really is.
This novel is captivating. I started it on Wednesday night and finished it by Friday morning. The way it’s written builds suspense and leaves the reader hanging on every word. There isn’t a dull moment in this book, every sentence pushing towards the next big action.
Dark Matter is definitely plot-driven, but it never feels exhaustive as we follow Jason through his impossible fight back home.
Description: Jason Dessen, a quantum physicist, once had a brilliant research career ahead of him. But after a girlfriend’s unexpected pregnancy and the birth of a son, this future was derailed. Now Jason is a professor at a small Chicago college, content with his warm and loving family life until he’s abducted into a world in which his quantum many-worlds theory has become a fully realized technology for inter-dimensional transfer. In this world, Jason didn’t marry his girlfriend and never had a son. Jason is determined to get back to his family and his own world, but nefarious powers in the alternate reality conspire to stop him from revealing the criminal lengths they have gone to create the world-hopping technology.