Part romantic comedy and part social satire, here one of science fiction's most lauded authors examines the consequences of having too much connectivity, and what happens in a world where, suddenly, nothing is private. One of science fiction's premiere humorists turns her eagle eye to the crushing societal implications of telepathy.
In a not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure that has been promised to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. So when Briddey Flannigan's fiancé proposes that he and Briddey undergo the procedure, she is delighted! Only, the results aren't quite as expected. Instead of gaining an increased empathetic link with her fiancé, Briddey finds herself hearing the actual thoughts of one of the nerdiest techs in her office. And that's the least of her problems.
"An engaging and satirical look at relationships, technology, and connectivity in the digital age is expertly narrated by Mia Barron.... Barron does an outstanding job of distinguishing between the conversations in Briddey's head and those happening in real life as well as adding authenticity to each of the characters Briddey interacts with." (AudioFile)
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It doesn't work like that.
Mia Barron is a capable narrator whose work I've enjoyed before. Listening to another Connie Willis might be a tougher sell for me because the dialogue in this one is redundant and drawn out to the point of pain. If that's her style, she'll be a hard pass for me moving forward.
Crisper, leaner dialogue that gave the reader more benefit of the doubt re: coming to conclusions and filling in gaps; less convoluted plot points--and scenarios constructed purely to prolong events. This audiobook was 18 hours long. I hung in there, but barely. Maeve as a character/plot device was trying, to say the least.
Believability and depth to Briddey (less so to CB). I wanted more of Briddey's interior monologue. Ironically, for a story that's about telepathy and connection and intimacy (and the commercialization of intimacy), we don't really get to enjoy any sense of completed connection until the end, and only a very little. the takeaway seems to be that nothing is sacred--instead of CB and Briddey connecting more deeply and exclusively, their thoughts are going to be accessible to everyone in her family, including a 9-year-old? Jaysus, as the Irish say.
Less detail about perimeters, walls, and safe havens (this could have been explained in a page or two--and didn't need to be revisited every other paragraph) and more moments that were devoted to the growing intimacy between CB and Briddey. Maeve barging into their thoughts was a real buzz kill. Presumably, they'll never be able to prevent her from doing this...
This book had a ton of potential--compelling subject matter that is topically relevant. Unfortunately this was unnecessarily undermined by making this all link back to Irish heritage and genetics, specifically. In any case, as a reader/listener, I never got the chance to fully immerse myself into this story because long-winded explanations and repetitive details pulled me out of the story.
- Salimah J. Perkins