‘Dark Matter’ is probably the quickest good read you’ll ever have

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You know the problem with most Michael Crichton-style, high-tech, science-fiction thrillers? Too many damn words.

Too many long sentences.

Too many long paragraphs .

These are supposed to be novels for your nightstand, guilty pleasures to reward you for a long hard day. How are you supposed to wade through all that technobabble, all those pointless secondary-character subplots, without nodding off?

This is not a problem with Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, out the coming week.( You may know Crouch as the bestselling writer of the Wayward Pines trilogy, which spawned a Fox TV show of the same name .)

Crouch has crafted an enormously compelling narrative of a family man named Jason Dessen who dreams of changing their own lives, then suddenly find himself lost in an array of alternating universes.

Sure, there’s a tiny bit of technobabble here. Just enough to attain the science that propels Jason around the multiverse, searching for his family, seem real.

Overall, though, Crouch tells his tale in a style so minimalist, it makes a Japanese tea home appear cluttered.

I managed to devour the book in three hours, and I was taking notes. You can probably finish it in half the time.

If you ever find yourself shall be required to win a gamble with your partner about how fast you can read a 340 -page novel, Dark Matter is the one to pick.

The style is easy to parody, which is why I’m doing so here, but it may also be something new under the sun.

It’s a first-person narrative in line after line of short sentences.

Sentence fragments, too.

Words.

Alone.

As a representative example, here is Jason trying to piece together how he ended up in the first parallel cosmo after a sudden abduct. He remembers 😛 TAGEND

Thelonious Monk.

The smell of red wine.

Standing in a kitchen chopping an onion.

A teenager drawing.

Wait.

Not a teenager.

My teenager.

My son.

This book hates adjectives like Steve Jobs detested on-off switches.

There are like five characters in the whole thing, devote or take.

It has plot like an Olympic long-distance runner has muscle: just enough to carry itself forward to the finishing line , not an ounce of fat.

Remarkably, it’s quite a finishing line. I’m pretty very well known multiverse narratives, and narratives where characters fold back on themselves, as Jason Dessen does.( Which is not exactly a spoiler alerting: what, he was going to go to all these parallel universes and not gratify himself ?)

This kind of story tends to unravel at the ending. Not so Dark Matter . The final scene sits with you for a little bit. It’s not trite. It’s not forgettable. And it will no doubt make for a great movie.

Is all that worth your $26.99? You’ll have to figure that out for yourself. If you measure books by the amount of time you get to spend in the narrative, then no.

But you may value a novel that has some serious adult topics about life, aging and the road not taken, all being implemented in the measured style of a children’s novella and I mean that in a good way.

In that sense, Dark Matter matters.

Seriously.

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