Book notes: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch book summary review and key ideas.

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Dark Matter: A Novel by Blake Crouch

Synopsis:

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined – one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the best-selling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human – a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.” -Audible


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Opening thoughts:

I saw this under the recommended titles in Audible, and this was the best-reviewed book by this author. Not sure what to expect from this book except a great sci-fi book.


Key notes:

Chapter 1

  • On his way to pick up ice cream for his family, he gets kidnapped and taken to an abandoned building. He tries to escape but fails
  • Suddenly his captor’s demeanor changed. He gave him clothes and tells him he made him believe he was going to get killed to get him here
    • The captor says he can’t believe he’s talking to him

Chapter 2

  • He wakes up in some sort of facility but she doesn’t know who those people are
    • They regard him as a hero
    • He panics thinking he’s not the man they think he is and tries to escape
  • He manages to catch a cab at 2 AM in the morning to take him home

Chapter 3

  • He made it back to his house but everything was completely different inside
  • The facility people managed to track him down

Reader’s note: I’m pretty frustrated and annoyed at this guy because he keeps running away from this group of people who haven’t threatened him in the least. He just panicked and then started running for no reason and even though he’s thinking he’s being safe, it seems more paranoid to me given he doesn’t know anything

  • He goes to the hospital to get checked out but can’t remember much and doesn’t admit to running away from a group of people
    • He then falls asleep from exhaustion

Chapter 4

  • Jason comes back three hours late to his home and tells his wife that he is grateful for her. They then make love

Chapter 5

  • His goal is to solve this mystery of what happened. But he starts by first trying to figure out what happened to his wife Daniela
  • He went to to Daniela’s art exhibit which made him cry
    • She told him that it was dedicated to him for inspiring her to do it. She also didn’t know who Charlie, their son, was
  • He admits to Daniela and Ryan everything that’s happened and that he doesn’t know what’s going on either
    • He stayed over at her place and she asked him about it
  • After they make love, the hitman comes to her apartment, shoots Daniella then ties up Jason

Chapter 6

  • Jason discussed the theory of dark matter and the Multiverse with Daniela
    • But he reassured her that no matter what, the best reality is the one they have together right here

Chapter 7

Reader’s note: It seems like he created a device that explores the Multiverse or parallel universes. He explained it through Schrodinger‘s cat example and how he was a third person to go into the box to try it

  • Jason realized that the man who abducted him was his alternate reality self because he wanted to steal his life
  • The psychiatrist Amanda helps him escape and they go inside the box together to try and use it to get away
    • She teaches him how to inject the drug and it hits them both instantly

Chapter 8

  • Jason and Amanda figure out how to use their machine and try to find his original world

Chapter 9

  • His wife Danny notices that he is different in a thousand small different ways but doesn’t want to bring it up yet

Chapter 10

  • They barely escaped that world riddled with contagion and Jason breaks down afterward because he saw his wife die
  • Amanda said that the world created that they went to was perfectly his because it manifested his fear of losing his family to illness

Chapter 11

  • There is this experience he learned that we don’t know how good we have it until it all comes crashing down or when you lose everything
  • Jason admits that he’s been spending all day stalking this universe’s version of him and his wife
    • Amanda pointed out that what they’re doing is trying to find a grain of sand on an infinite beach
      • Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results

Chapter 12

  • This time, he focus on writing down all of his feelings about his wife and recalled their first meeting

Chapter 13

  • He joins a chat room with 8 other Jasons who are plotting to kill the Jason that did this to them
  • He meets another version of himself in a bar and they realize they’re mostly the same person, just branched off slightly a month ago
  • He goes with a spontaneous plan he thinks nobody else would’ve expected, which is you get himself thrown in jail and call Daniela to go get him
    • His plan worked and he was able to escape with Daniela and Charlie in an Uber
  • He tells Daniela and Charlie everything, and how there are other versions of him or just like him who also wanted this life

Chapter 14

  • He logs into the group chat and proposes a peaceful lottery between everyone so that Charlie and Daniela can live safely after this is resolved
  • Daniela tells him that she wants him specifically
    • It must be fate that they ran into each other for a second time and not anyone else
  • He manages to kill his Jason doppelgänger attackers and he also killed Jason 2
    • He feels his car and finds ampules of the serum in the glove box

Chapter 15

  • Jason, Daniela, and Charlie managed to get into the box and pass all of the other Jasons. They decide to pick a new universe together

Closing thoughts:

I really loved the concept of this book, which is essentially parallel universes and how our choices affect our current reality. It’s always interesting when a story explores the idea of alternate realities and how our lives would be different if we made different decisions.

In this book, we have the one Jason who pursues love and his relationship with Daniela. And although he doesn’t have the most illustrious career or life, he’s happy and content with his life with Daniela and Charlie.

On the other hand, the Jason in the alternate universe achieved basically his full potential. However, that led him to creating a machine where he could redo it all so that he could have the life of the first Jason.

I think the message of the book was really clear. However, I also think that the execution of this concept was well-done through the narrative.

One of the things I didn’t like about Jason at first was how paranoid he seemed at the very beginning when he arrived in the new world. In retrospect, his actions probably did save him in the grand scheme of things. However, it wasn’t very logical, which bugged me. But other than that, I really enjoyed how the story played out.


One Takeaway / Putting into practice:

The one takeaway I have from this book is probably the main idea the author wanted to pass along to us:

  • Always do the right thing and make decisions you won’t regret later on

I think clearly Jason 2 regretted breaking up with Daniela after he found out she was pregnant because he valued his potential career over his relationship with her. But Jason 1 stuck with Daniela because he knew it was the right thing to do, plus he loved her. And although his life wasn’t anything crazy, he was happy and content, which is what I think we should all strive for. To be grateful for what we have and not take what we have for granted.


Nutshell:

Jason Dessen finds himself in another universe where the paths not taken have manifested into an alternate reality. Now he has to figure out what’s going on and how to get back to his wife and his own world.


Similar books:


Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

3.5/5

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