Briddey is about to get exactly what she thinks she wants . . .
Briddey is a high-powered exec in the mobile phone industry, overseeing new products from concept (‘anything to beat the new apple phone’) to delivery. And she works with her wonderful partner, Trent. They’ve been together for six magical weeks, in a whirlwind of flowers, dinners, laughter and now comes the icing on the cake: not a weekend away or a proposal but something even better. An EDD. A procedure which will let them sense each other’s feelings. Trent doesn’t just want to tell her how much he loves her – he wants her to feel it.
Everything is perfect.
The trouble is, Briddey can’t breathe a word of it to anyone (difficult, when the whole office is guessing) until she’s had two minutes to call her family. And they’re hounding her about the latest family drama, but when they find out about the EDD – which they will – they’ll drop everything to interrogate her. And it might just be easier to have the procedure now and explain later.
The race is on: not just for new, cutting-edge technology, but also for a shred of privacy in a public world and – for Briddey – a chance for love at the heart of it all.
I loved Connie Willis’ hilarious and romantic time travel romp To Say Nothing of the Dog. I adored the fad-focussed wit of her novella Bellwether. I find her celebration of good-hearted characters and old-fashioned romantic ideals in the modern context charming.
The extent that this is escapist fiction and readers must at times suspend their disbelief of overtly good characters getting that guy/girl is a sad indictment of our times. In Crosstalk Willis reinforces this point and skewers our modern obsession with over-sharing.
It’s a scenario taken to fantastical extreme — a cautionary tale that gives pause for thought. We think we want to know everything, but do we really??
“Then why does every sentence beginning ‘We need to talk’ end in disaster? Our whole evolutionary history has been about trying to stop information from getting communicated—camouflage, protective coloration, that ink that squids squirt, encrypted passwords, corporate secrets, lying. Especially lying. If people really wanted to communicate, they’d tell the truth, but they don’t.”
Willis’ central character Briddey initially struck me as decidedly flimsy (a high-powered exec, definitely not… a satirical caricature of one, perhaps?), but the farcical series of events that she gets swept up in left me little time to dwell on this deficiency. The quirky/geeky ensemble cast are very likeable and while the romantic plot line is quickly obvious, the web of secrets regarding the ‘sci-fi’ element was sufficient to hold my interest. Remember, I was seeking easily digestible escapism when I chose this novel.
But most notable and addictive is the pace of the narrative – fast doesn’t cut it, it’s nearing frenetic. The almost 600 pages just flew by.
While far from Willis’ best work, Crosstalk is an engrossing and good-natured dose of fun. Just what this reader needed at the time…
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 3.5 / 5
Genre: Mystery, Romance, SciFi-Fantasy, ChickLit
About the Author, Connie Willis
Connie Willis is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. She has won eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards for particular works—more major awards than any other writer —most recently the year’s “Best Novel” Hugo and Nebula Awards for Blackout/All Clear (2010). She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Science Fiction Writers of America named her its 28th SFWA Grand Master in 2011.
Check out Connie Willis’ website.