Crosstalk

Light diagram lines over lavender and blue background.Title in middle, Woman in green dress on back facing and reaching upwards toward man in red shirt and jeans reaching down
Connie Willis
4
Saturday, Nov 26, 2016

Crosstalk is categorized as science fiction and yet, if it wasn’t for the telepathy, I could easily see the events in the book becoming reality in the near future.

Gossip, in this case workplace gossip, has always moved at the speed light. Between gossip and the omnipresence of social media, it’s nearly impossible to keep anything secret. Briddey Flannigan does her best, however, to keep her coworkers and her family from finding out that she and her boyfriend (and coworker) Trent are about to undergo an outpatient procedure designed to increase empathy between partners, the newest rage.

It’s difficult to decide who is more annoying – the coworkers who get in Briddey’s face to ask about her personal life, or the family who feel no hesitation about calling constantly and making themselves at home in Briddey’s home and office. Their intrusion into her life is small, however, compared to their presence in her head after the simple procedure.

Confused and on the verge of a total breakdown, Briddey must rely on someone she had considered marginal to her life, another coworker, C.B. In a time where people are searching for more and better ways to communicate, Briddey discovers the dark side to too much communication.

With help from C.B., Briddey tries to get a handle on her new telepathic abilities, while maintaining her relationship with Trent, helping her company stay ahead in the smartphone business, and keeping her family from finding out what’s going on.

Witty, and by turns comic and tragic, Crosstalk shines a light on the current obsession with moving everything private into the public domain. In that both books explore where the line is between private and public, what is acceptable and what is invasive, I was reminded of Dave Eggers’ The Circle.

Diane H.

Written by Diane H.

Fun fact: Corinth was my neighborhood library when I was a kid.