Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date: May 30th 2017
The almost biological certainty that the more often you checked your cell phone, the more likely you were to find that one wondrous message or notification that would improve your entire life.
In Touch Sloane Jacobson is a well-regarded trends forecaster (which is a real thing) best known for forecasting what is the now ubiquitous swipe used with all touch screen technology. She’s been happily living and working in Paris with her partner, Roman, for ten years when she is wooed by a massive technology company. They’re getting ready to launch a campaign aimed at childlessness as the next big global movement. As a woman who chose not to have children Sloane is the perfect person to help them create products catering to the childfree life. She returns to the U.S. from Paris with her partner of ten years, Roman, in tow. While not a forecaster, Roman has latched onto a trend and is aiming to be its spokesperson and reap the benefits of what he sees as the next wave in human development: neo-sensualism. Or, to put it more plainly, the complete removal of physical contact with others and immersion in a digital world that meets all needs. To this end, he wears a Zentai suit (think Spiderman, only creepier because there are no super powers included) and has eschewed physical sex for electronic gratification.
That’s a lot of plot in Touch, and it may sound fantastical, but it revolves around a legitimate issue—the increasing isolation of humans within their homes, offices and personal space matched with decreasing social interaction and an ability to experience normal human emotions outside of oneself. Considering this from a modern day perspective is thought-provoking, but beyond that Maum herself does not create a sense of connection with Sloane. I understand that she’s experiencing an awakening, but nothing in this satire makes me feel connected to her. Instead, the novel feels a bit rushed and trying too hard to prove a point. Touch is one of those books that gets an ‘A’ for effort but just barely passes in execution.