All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Crosstalk by Connie Willis

on October 11, 2016

crosstalkCrosstalk
Connie Willis
Gollancz
2016, 400p
Copy courtesy Hachette AUS via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

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. Only Apple are poised to deliver an amazing new product and she has to be one step ahead …if she can only persuade their tech genius, C. B., to drop his crazy ideas about a ‘privacy phone’ with its ‘do not disturb’ settings, and focus on what people really want: more efficient, instinctive and immediate ways to communicate.

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.

This book is one of my favourite recent reading finds! I read it whilst I was away on holidays and liked it so much I ended up rereading it a couple of times. And I’m only partially sure what it was that I loved about it so much.

Briddey works for Commspan, a communications company specialising in mobile phones/apps and in direct competition with Apple. For the past 6wks she’s been dating executive Trent, making her the envy of the office. Especially as word has gotten out that Trent wants he and Briddey to have a procedure known as an EDD, something that will allow them to sense the other’s emotions and feelings. That way when he proposes, they will feel their love for one another. Briddey thinks it’s all impossibly romantic but her bossy, interfering Irish family don’t agree and keep constantly popping up in her life to tell her so. So does C.B. Schwartz, a computer genius who works for Commspan and warns Briddey that there could be unforeseen circumstances of her procedure.

That’s quite the understatement and it turns out that Briddey ends up hearing voices, not feeling emotions. She can hear other people’s thoughts, triggered by the neurological change. What starts off as a minor irritant for her becomes overwhelming and terrifying and she is forced to rely on someone to help her through it, creating an intimate bond that doesn’t exist with her boyfriend. In fact the less time Briddey spends with Trent in her attempt to keep him from finding out that she can talk to other people in her mind, the more she realises that their relationship is somewhat lacking.

Even though I tend to veer away from “woo-woo” things, the exception to this seems to be telepathy. I absolutely love books featuring it and in this book, Willis gives a very no-holds-barred look at what it might be like to be privvy to so many private thoughts. Briddey starts off hearing just one person, someone who can keep their own thoughts shielded from her and can just talk to her. Then she begins hearing the thoughts of others, starting with work colleagues, some of whom are even thinking less than complimentary things about her before it escalates. Then she’s hearing the thoughts of everyone around her, which becomes overwhelming, terrifying and something that could very easily have driven her to do something drastic, had she not had someone to calmly talk her through her terror and help her establish defenses against the deluge. Briddey’s experience and panic felt incredibly realistic…..if telepathy were suddenly a thing, if someone were to wake up with that ability, I believe it would feel quite like what she goes through, only potentially without someone to assist her. Interestingly enough, her rescuer went through the same thing when their ability manifested and appeared to learn to manage it without help, something that must’ve been an incredible display of mental strength.

I loved the subtle romance in this book – and I don’t mean the one between Trent and Briddey. For the past 6 weeks, before the book begins, Briddey has presumably been swept off her feet and wined and dined by the handsome Trent, but he has about as much personality as a piece of cardboard and as the book progresses it becomes quite obvious that his interest in Briddey has ulterior motives. Instead Briddey is forging a connection with someone else, something that she initially blames on her procedure but the more time they spend together, both physically and mentally, the stronger it becomes and the more she sees to him. To be honest, there were times when Briddey was horribly bitchy and horribly unfair to someone who only ever tried to do their best to help her, make her adjust as painlessly and easily as possible and it’s so obvious that he has feelings for her, probably has done for quite a while. There were times when I wanted to kick her for being so horrid to him but Briddey’s strength is in her growth and maturity as she begins to steer away from the materialistic Trent and the shallow relationship they had and accept that there was something infinitely special and real out there, someone more special and real. The two of them worked so well together, it was the most perfect thing in the book.

A minor irritant for me was Briddey’s family who were ridiculously overbearing and irritating, particularly in the beginning of the book. Personal space and privacy appeared to be a foreign thing to them and it frustrated me a bit. I quite liked Briddey’s niece Maeve and her attempts to escape her ridiculously smothering and overprotective mother, which added some humour to the story.

This was my first Connie Willis book and now I’ve made it a mission to find and read as much of her backlist as I possibly can. I loved this! It was just one of those books, they come along every so often where after I finish it, I immediately just want to re-read it as often as possible. Even writing this review, about 2wks later, has made me want to start re-reading it again.

9/10

Book #177 of 2016

 

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2 responses to “Review: Crosstalk by Connie Willis

  1. My last telepathy read was a paranormal novel ages ago – I’m past due and this looks great! It can be so satisfying to have an out-there premise considered in such a realistic way.

  2. […] really interesting and poor Bryn and Patrick went through sooo much. Crosstalk by Connie Willis (my review) Telepathy books…..there’s just something about them that works for me. I loved […]

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