This is another book I threw myself at when I saw it on Netgalley. Connie Willis’s The Doomsday Book is still one of the best time travel novels I’ve ever read. Crosstalk did not disappoint.
Briddey believes she has met the man of her dreams. They have been dating for six weeks (!) and Trent is convinced they should get an EED – a surgical procedure which will allow them to connect empathetically so they can be closer than they already are and know for certain what the other person is feeling.
Crosstalk is a delightful palate cleanser and – spoiler alert! – there’s telepathy, which is always fun to play with in sci fi.
I felt a bit sorry for Briddey at the beginning of the book. She appears to be in a hell of her own making. Everyone in her life wants to be constantly in touch with her – her family (which seems to overreact to everything), her place of work (which wants her to be accessible and possibly working around the clock). She is constantly lying to everyone, which she doesn’t like and isn’t great at, in order to keep people out of her way so she can make it to her office, let alone make it through an entire day.
The only person who doesn’t seem to want constant contact with her is Trent, her boyfriend soon-to-be fiancé. He may want to get the EED, but he seems to caught up in the company’s super-secret project to spend time actually talking to her.
Briddey and Trent undergo the procedure. They are warned that they must be emotionally bonded for it to be a success and that the connection can take 48 hours to establish. Except Briddey connects immediately. With the wrong person. How can this have happened? And how can she marry Trent if she is connected to someone else?
Crosstalk is about self discovery and a lovely piece of social commentary on availability and connection. It seems that it’s only when Briddey is able to shut out all of the voices imposing their opinions, ideas and expectations that she is able to identify who she is and what she wants.
4 out of 5 reasons to switch off social media.