I recently read, with great enjoyment, the science-fiction romantic comedy Crosstalk by Connie Willis. This novel is reminiscent of her previous books Bellwether and Passage. Like Bellwether, it is set in a high-tech company (this time, a mobile-phone company), and has the fast-paced craziness of Howard Hawks movies such as Bringing Up Baby or His Girl Friday. Like Passage, it has a hospital staircase scene, and explores themes relating to neuroscience and parapsychology.
The social commentary in Crosstalk focuses mainly on social media and the dangers of too much communication. The novel begins: “By the time Briddey pulled into the parking garage at Commspan, there were forty-two text messages on her phone. The first one was from Suki Parker—of course—and the next four were from Jill Quincy, all saying some variant of ‘Dying to hear what happened.’ Suki’s said, ‘Heard rumor Trent Worth took you to Iridium!???’ Of course you did, Briddey thought. Suki was Commspan’s very own Gossip Girl. And that meant by now the whole company knew it. …”
To say too much more than that would involve spoilers. The Guardian also liked the novel, but the LA Times did not. I’m giving it four stars.
I’ve only read a few Connie Willis books, but really enjoyed them. I need to give this one a try!
Connie Willis is one of my favourite authors. She writes comedies (like Bellwether and To Say Nothing of the Dog) and darker novels where people die (like Passage and Doomsday Book). Both kinds are extremely good, in their own way. Crosstalk is perhaps the second-best of the comedies, and well worth a read.