I enjoy trippy, alternate-universe texts, and I was looking forward to my library book club discussing Dark Matter for our February meeting. I had heard good things about this novel, and I wanted to see how it would play out.
Jason Dessen is a professor at a community college living in Chicago. He goes out to celebrate his friend’s winning a prestigious award—one he had wanted to win in the years before he met his wife, got her pregnant, and then raised their child—and is promptly kidnapped. When he wakes up, he is welcomed in an environment that he does not recognize by a person he does not recognize, but who greets him as a friend. Confused, Jason has to figure out why his world has seemingly vanished and why getting back to his wife and son may be a virtual impossibility. I don’t want to say any more without spoiling the book, and you’re best not being spoiled.
This reminded me somewhat of the excellent and short-lived TV series Awake starring Jason Isaacs. I’ve spent time wondering what would have happened if I had never met my husband, if I had broken up with him in order to take an academic job in a different state, or if I had given up on my PhD. As a Christian, I believe very much in the idea that God guides your life and helps you make decisions—I’m not necessarily fatalistic, but I do believe that some things were meant to happen. And this book toyed with these ideas of fate or destiny in a way that is both touching and thought-provoking.
Cross-posted to my blog.