Talking about 'Crosstalk' by Connie Willis
I just finished reading Crosstalk, the 2016 novel by Connie Willis, and I’m humming with pleasure, my thoughts whirring with this book’s humor and intelligence. Here are some (of the many) reasons you might want to read the latest work by this acclaimed science fiction writer.
Reason 1: Connie Willis wrote it. I like reading what Willis writes, in no small part, because of the way she pieces together diverse details on one topic. In this instance, her subject is telepathy. As in many of her works, Willis both researches and reimagines what is known. The result is a pleasure to read. By combining information on telepathy with her own reflections on the subject, Willis creates a distinctive story in her characteristic way.
Reason 2: You enjoyed reading Bellwether, the 1996 novel by Willis. Crosstalk tells the story of a personal relationship – and of a social context. Individual characters are confused, frequently bewildered by their interactions. Willis is clear-sighted, alert to the effects of technological change and commercial exchange. Echoing notes sounded in Bellwether, Willis narrates a developing relationship between two characters, while also observing developments in society. Skillfully, this author combines chaos and clarity, pairing relationship confusion with social insight.
Reason 3: It feels like a good time to read a story that won’t break your heart, but will engage your mind. In keeping with several previous works by Willis, this novel is a fast-paced romantic comedy, reminiscent of many Hollywood movies in the 1940s. With its light style and quick wit, Crosstalk allows readers to be amused by the mayhem of human relationships. With its focus on the intersection of technology and psychology, the book fosters thinking. Telepathy, and increased contact in general, does not necessarily improve understanding between these characters. The notable difference here between interaction and connection encourages readers to reflect on how technological advances continue to affect human communication, for better and for worse.
I enjoyed Crosstalk as a whole, and appreciated how even its title is multi-layered. If you do choose to read this novel, I would be happy to talk about it with you – preferably without crosstalk, of course.