Elisabeth Cohen comes to the blog today with a story unlike any I’ve ever read, and taking on a series of twists that kept me wondering just were it is going in
Completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before, the narrative voice, ostensibly that of Shelly, is removed and almost robotic: analytical and near emotionless, it feels as if it is another product placement to show the ‘usability’ of the Conch’s product. But, I digress. Shelly Stone is the CEO of Conch, joining when things were a start-up and their device a simple idea. A small, Bluetooth-headphone like device that prompt’s the wearer, much like an inner-voice – keeping you on top of social cues, schedule, reactions, etc. A bit creepy in that wearers tend to surrender to the prompts, perhaps to the detriment of living in the moment, a problem that seems to define Shelly from the get-go.
Married with two children (both geniuses), busy, always juggling and focused on her ‘list of things to accomplish’ it seemed as if Shelly was being run by her life and commitments, not taking part more than superficially in any activities but simply making choices and decisions to check that ‘moment’ off her list. Her children, Nova and Blazer are meant to be reflections of their high-flyer, go getting successful parents, but both serve best in the role of spoiler to their wishes, exposing the cracks in the façade, while clearly showing that ‘being present’ isn’t on either parent’s radar.
But Shelly is about to realize that her “only for work’, trouble with emotion and the maternal instinct (non-existent here) and her own struggles with understanding why her husband, who encouraged her to take this leap into the corporate world, isn’t more supportive and encouraging, or understanding of her “here but not” approach to everything not work related. The conflicts here were also dulled by the narrative voice: a precision of word choice and a slight remove left it feeling almost uncomfortable with the more emotional (or what should have been emotional) moments, and did tend to over-emphasize the ‘corporate’ world – a world in which Shelly is far more comfortable than real life, but made the reading feel much longer than it actually was. The concept – intriguing and I expected more “emotion’ from Shelly than she was giving: mostly because she had divorced herself from self-directed interactions, and kept her difficult to empathize with, even as moments screamed for emotional reactions from the read. Better in concept, and a touch too rigidly determined to present the ‘remove’, the story was unique, and certainly sure to be enjoyed by those who want a challenge in their read.
Title: The Glitch
Author: Elisabeth Cohen
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction
Published by: Doubleday
Published on: 22 May, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 12 Hours: 36 minutes
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Shelley Stone might be a little overwhelmed. She runs the company Conch, the manufacturer of a small wearable device that attaches to the user's ear and whispers helpful advice and prompts. She's married with two small children, Nova and Blazer, both of whom are learning Mandarin. She employs a cook, a nanny, a driver, and an assistant, she sets an alarm for 2AM conference calls, and occasionally takes a standing nap while waiting in line when she's really exhausted. Shelley takes Dramamine so she can work in the car; allows herself ten almonds when hungry; swallows Ativan to stave off the panic attacks; and makes notes in her day planner to "practice being happy and relatable." But when Shelley meets a young woman named Shelley Stone who has the exact same scar on her shoulder, Shelley has to wonder: Is some sort of corporate espionage afoot? Has she discovered a hole in the space-time continuum? Or is she finally buckling under all the pressure?
Introducing one of the most memorable and singular characters in recent fiction,The Glitch is a completely original, brainy, laugh-out-loud story of work, marriage, and motherhood for our times.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.