Monday, October 10, 2016

Book Review: Crosstalk

  1. 1. a disturbance in a communication device's (radio, telephone, etc.) transmission caused by a second device's transmission, resulting in crossover, intermingling, and confusion; the presence of unwanted signals and/or interference due to accidental coupling

                 2. incidental, off-topic conversation during a meeting
                 3. witty, fast-paced repartee; banter

Briddey Flannigan works for Commspan, a communications company trying to come up with the latest and greatest smart phone, the next thing in instant communication. She is also dating Trent, the best looking guy in the company. She is thrilled when he suggests they get an EED, an implant that allows you to feel what your romantic partner feels. Saying 'I love you' can now be a thing of the past because you feel how much your partner loves you. But where is the line between good communication and too much communication? And will the  unexpected side effects be too much for humanity to handle?

Connie Willis is one of my favorite authors. Her novels are always creative and full of eccentric characters. Crosstalk falls more along the lines of romantic comedy, similar to Bellwether or To Say Nothing of the Dog, so even though the book clocks in at nearly 500 pages, it is a pretty quick read. 

Reading this book was a very different experience for me, my emotional reaction to it was unexpected to say the least. Basically this book stressed me out!!! I have never felt so much tension while reading a book which I think is exactly what Ms. Willis was going for. Let me explain. This book is all about the over abundance of communication and stimulation in our current culture and Willis captures it perfectly. As Briddey goes through her day she is constantly barraged by co-workers needing to talk to her, family members giving her advice, emails, texts, there is never a quiet moment. As a hardcore introvert, I often found that I couldn't read more than a chapter or two without needing to take a break, feeling that I, too, was anxious and overstimulated and needed a few minutes of quiet. I think it takes a brilliant author to create that sort of connection between her characters and her readers. The idea of the EED terrified me! I can't handle my own emotions why would I want to take on the emotions of someone else? 

I think Willis writes a brilliant commentary of our modern culture and our need to know what everyone else is doing and tell everyone what we're doing. When does communication become an invasion of privacy? When will we understand the dangers of knowing too much?

I highly recommend this book for it's quirkiness, great writing, and it's warning to our facebook and smart phone obsessed generation. 

Crosstalk by Connie Willis. Check it out!

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