Monday, October 29, 2018

*Review* Crosstalk by Connie Willis

Genre: Science Fiction/Romance
Published: September 20, 2016
Pages: 480

Science fiction icon Connie Willis brilliantly mixes a speculative plot, the wit of Nora Ephron, and the comedic flair of P. G. Wodehouse in Crosstalk, a genre-bending novel that pushes social media, smartphone technology, and twenty-four-hour availability to hilarious and chilling extremes as one young woman abruptly finds herself with way more connectivity than she ever desired.

In the not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal - to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don't quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely - in a way far beyond what she signed up for.

It is almost more than she can handle - especially when the stress of managing her all-too-eager-to-communicate-at-all-times family is already burdening her brain. But that's only the beginning. As things go from bad to worse, she begins to see the dark side of too much information, and to realize that love - and communication - are far more complicated than she ever imagined.

I listened to the audiobook version of this book. I found myself wanting to keep listening until the very end, even when the housework I was doing was done because I was so sucked into the story.

I was really intrigued by the idea of the implant that would increase empathy between romantic partners. The idea that my husband and I could have more insight into each other's feelings is definitely appealing, so I can understand why Briddey would want to undergo the procedure. At the same time, I felt like Trent was being incredibly manipulative and really hoped that Briddey would recognize what was going on there.

Then there was C.B. I'm not sure exactly what think of him and his actions in the book. I certainly appreciated him coming to Briddey's aid when she needed help, but his motives seemed a little bit less than honorable at times too. I still ended up hoping that Briddey and C.B. would hook up because I felt like he would be good for her, but I'm conflicted about those feelings in myself too.

Overall I give Crosstalk 3.976 stars. - Katie 

Connie Willis is an established author of many science fiction books, including THE DOOMSDAY BOOK, and winner of both the Nebula Award and the Hugo Award for best sf novel.

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