51 pages 1 hour read

Blake Crouch

Dark Matter

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2016

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The Road Not Taken

The dedication at the end of the novel reads: “For anyone who has wondered what their life might look like at the end of the road not taken” (340). Jason fixated on a single moment in which his life could have taken a different direction. Reminded of this long-past choice, he looks back, sees the road he traveled (marrying Daniela and raising Charlie) and wishes he could have taken the other (staying single and having a brilliant career). Unbeknownst to him, Jason2 is obsessed with the exact opposite scenario. The novel explores what happens when both Jasons get their wish and enter the life they’ve always wanted.

This dedication is an allusion to the Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken” (1916), and the first stanza of the poem encapsulates the novel’s premise:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

In building the box, Jason2 removes the restriction that a single traveler cannot travel both paths. Even more so than Jason, Jason2 regrets what he believes was his life’s pivotal decision.