Crosstalk by Connie Willis

More and more we find ourselves living in a time of “full-disclosure”; an era where the notion of privacy is quickly becoming an alien concept.

Much of this invasion of our privacy is beyond our control: cameras are ubiquitous and are found in most businesses, in many private homes, and on practically every street corner; our online activities are monitored by those wishing to profit from us or are looking for some type of criminal intent in our actions, and our emails and phone calls are stored for “all posterity”.

On the other hand, we are very willing to acquiesce to this call for personal information. We let the world know our relationship status, likes and dislikes on Facebook, use Instagram to broadcast our breakfast, air our views on Twitter, network on LinkedIn and so on.

Connie Willis examines this culture of “too much information” in her novel Crosstalk and wonders if a world of little or no privacy is really such a good idea. Protagonist Briddey Flannigan is thrilled that her boyfriend and colleague Trent Worth has asked her to undergo a minor surgical procedure with him known as an EED so that they will be more in-tune with each other’s thoughts and emotions. This proposal to bond on a deeper level is presumably a step towards a proposal of marriage. Despite the dire warnings of a coworker, Briddey decides to go ahead with the procedure.

What follows is a humorous and lighthearted story involving gossipy office staff, corporate espionage and greed, needy, nosy and overly involved family members, romance, and a study in over-connectedness. On the whole, I enjoyed this whimsical book’s commentary on our society’s eagerness to overshare and its exploration of where this zeal may take us in the near future. I did find Briddey’s character a bit too “chatty” and feel like the story could have been told just as well in 300 pages as it was in nearly 500 pages. I’d recommend this book to readers looking for light romance with a pinch of fantasy and a pound of comedy thrown in.