Briddey is an executive at Commspan, a communications giant desperate to get the latest, greatest smartphone out before Apple has a chance to once again steal their thunder.
She is in a six-week-long relationship with her co-worker, Trent, and they’re lost in a whirlwind of clichéd romanticism. They decide to get an EED, an elective brain surgery that allows them to sense each other’s feelings, but as it so often goes with these things, not everything falls according to plan.
Connie Willis deploys a keen eye here, skewering our social media age and tech corporations with an infectious glee as well as examining the people who wilfully buy into it. Nothing is safe from a little cutting comment, but Willis is more interested in how this constant communication affects our relationships both negatively and positively, giving a more balanced feel across the novel.
Briddey sometimes gets a little lost amid the more colourful people that surround her, particularly her madcap family, who are in constant contact. Aunt Oona is certainly a force to be reckoned with. The central relationship is a classic screwball type and the development of it across the novel is a lot of fun to watch, as well as being romantic in its own way.
Crosstalk is another example of Willis’ ability to produce a light-hearted romp with weightier underlying concerns, often clever, delightful, and at all times very entertaining. Well worth a read.