NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR
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.
Praise for Crosstalk
-A rollicking send-up of obsessive cell phone usage in too-near-future America . . . Connie] Willis's canny incorporation of scientific lore, and a riotous cast . . . make for an engaging girl-finally-finds-right-boy story that's unveiled with tact and humor. Willis juxtaposes glimpses of claimed historical telepaths with important reflections about the ubiquity of cell phones and the menace that unscrupulous developers of technology pose to privacy, morality, and emotional stability.---Publishers Weekly
-An exhilarating and laugh-inducing read . . . one of those rare books that will keep you up all night long because you can't bear to put it down.---Portland Book Review
-A fun technological fairy tale.---BookPage
-One of the funniest SF novels in years.---Locus
Praise for Connie Willis
-A novelist who can plot like Agatha Christie and whose books possess a bounce and stylishness that Preston Sturges might envy.---The Washington Post
-If anyone can be named 'best science fiction writer of the age, ' it's Connie Willis.---Analog
-One of America's finest writers . . . Willis can tell a story so packed with thrills, comedy, drama and a bit of red herring that the result is apt to satisfy the most discriminating, and hungry, reader.---The Denver Post
-Willis can tell a story like no other. . . . One of her specialties is sparkling, rapid-fire dialogue; another, suspenseful plotting; and yet another, dramatic scenes so fierce that they burn like after-images in the reader's memory.---The Village Voice
-The Best of Connie Willis? Isn't that like sorting through diamonds?---Lytherus
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-30
- Reviewer: Staff
SFWA Grand Master Willis’s first novel since 2010’s Blackout/All Clear is a rollicking send-up of obsessive cell phone usage in too-near-future America. A brain-altering medical procedure designed to enhance lovers’ abilities to connect emotionally goes spectacularly haywire for Commspan employee Briddey Flannigan, who’s besieged by her ultra-intrusive Irish-American family, and her fellow employee Trent Worth, a rising star at the tech company. Instead of being linked to Trent, Briddey finds herself telepathically hooked up to C.B. Schwartz, Commspan’s lab-dwelling supernerd. Their connection sets off an extended chain of interpersonal misunderstandings, hilarious coincidences, and sad-but-true reflections on our fixations with digital gadgetry, which can threaten and prevent genuine intimacy. Willis’s canny incorporation of scientific lore, and a riotous cast of stock Irish-American characters who nevertheless manage to surprise the reader, make for an engaging girl-finally-finds-right-boy story that’s unveiled with tact and humor. Willis juxtaposes glimpses of claimed historical telepaths with important reflections about the ubiquity of cell phones and the menace that unscrupulous developers of technology pose to privacy, morality, and emotional stability. Agent: Chris Lotts, Lotts Agency. (Oct.)
The truest love connection?
Briddey has it all: a loving family, a great job and a boyfriend, Trent, who wants to get serious. She and Trent plan to take advantage of a scientific breakthrough, the EED: a medical procedure that connects the brains of two romantic partners so they sense each other’s feelings. No more dating guesswork, no more games, no more drama.
Of course, there are naysayers who think rigging the game of love is a bad idea. Briddey’s family is opposed to the procedure and overwhelms her with constant busybody texts trying to change her mind. Briddey’s weird, genius coworker warns of mysterious EED hazards that he won’t fully describe. And there’s the pesky fact that the EED only works if a couple is truly in love, so if the connection doesn’t form, you’re not soul mates.
Despite the risks, Briddey is eager to take the leap. In the whirlwind of surprises that follow, she battles not only her own demons, but also those of a few others. She becomes the target of a corporate giant, learns more about genetics than ever before, takes refuge in zombie fortresses and secret libraries, reconnects with her heritage and is surprised by her family’s love in a way she never thought possible.
Crosstalk is a fun technological fairy tale. It’s also a fable that asks us to question the nature of love and the ethics of technology. How much connectivity is too much? Are we too tangled together by social media and constant texting? Connie Willis, an award-winning science fiction writer (To Say Nothing of the Dog), addresses these questions and more with humor and wit. Crosstalk not only asks whether it’s possible to know and connect with another person completely, but also makes us reexamine whether it’s even healthy to try.