Crosstalk

March 7, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

crosstalkCrosstalk by Connie Willis

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With Connie Willis, you get one of two types of stories: either you get the heavy, thoughtful stories that examine bravery and persistence among average people; or you get the comic, thoughtful stories that examine bravery and persistence among average people. You get a crisply-told, precise story either way, but you either get a To Say Nothing of the Dog or a Doomsday Book.

Crosstalk is one of those comic novels, meaning you’re in for quite a ride. Our main character, Briddey, is scheduled to get an EED with her boyfriend, Trent, which is supposed to enhance their emotional connection. Outside of Trent and the gossips at her place of work, no one, including her overbearing Irish family, supports it, much less C.B., the reclusive tech who works in the subbasement. Once she has the procedure, things start to go south for Briddy, and the story becomes a comedy of errors.

The story here is good, but it’s not as strong as her other comedies of error. Part of it is because I knew early on who was going to end up with whom. I don’t know if it’s a familiarity with Willis’ stories, or just that it’s too obvious, but even before the hints were dropped in the narrative, I had that moment of knowing where those two were going. Plus, the ending here was a bit too pat, a bit too happily-ever-after based on how the story developed. If Willis had provided more of an explanation as to how things wrapped up so easily, I could have accepted it, but here it was just a short explanation thrown in to make it the happiest of all possible endings. Don’t get me wrong: if it hadn’t wound up the way it did, I would have been angry, but I would have preferred a better explanation for it all.

The characters, though, are expertly drawn, and the plot is engaging and compelling. It’s always hard for me to be objective with authors I really, really like — even here, in a story where I see some issues, I still rate it four stars — but this story was simply fun to read. Anyone who hasn’t read Connie Willis should still start with Bellwether and work their way up to Crosstalk, but anyone who’s already a fan should read this book.

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