Touch by Courtney Maum

Touch

From the author of the acclaimed I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, a satirical and moving novel in the spirit of Maria Semple and Jess Walter about a New York City trend forecaster who finds herself wanting to overturn her own predictions, move away from technology, and reclaim her heart. Sloane Jacobsen is the most powerful trend forecaster in the world (she was t...

Title:Touch
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0735212120
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:320 pages

Touch Reviews

  • Courtney Maum
    Oct 18, 2016

    I've heard that this is GREAT.

  • KBev
    Apr 03, 2017

    As someone who has been wifi & cable free at my home since July, I really enjoyed this satire on the role that technology has taken in our lives.

    And yes, I have survived going wifi free, and you can too.

  • Vox
    Apr 23, 2017

    3.5 stars

    Those of you who scorn our increasing reliance on digital electronics, this is the book for you. Courtney Maum skewers those who constantly "look down" and the sense of disassociation they suffer, and she does it in ways that will make you think and occasionally laugh.

    Sloane Jacobsen has made a living by relying on intuition, something that can't be reduced to an app. She is a "trend forecaster," which is not the same as a "trend analyst" or a "trend pioneer." Sloane doesn't start trend

    3.5 stars

    Those of you who scorn our increasing reliance on digital electronics, this is the book for you. Courtney Maum skewers those who constantly "look down" and the sense of disassociation they suffer, and she does it in ways that will make you think and occasionally laugh.

    Sloane Jacobsen has made a living by relying on intuition, something that can't be reduced to an app. She is a "trend forecaster," which is not the same as a "trend analyst" or a "trend pioneer." Sloane doesn't start trends or perpetuate them, but she does predict them. Her best-known forecast? Swiping those handheld devices.

    For the past decade, Sloane has lived in Paris, a place she ran to for a job shortly after the unexpected death of her father. Her mother and sister, left behind to deal with their grief without her, remain at a distance, both by choice and by necessity. One of the funnier lines in the book comes from Sloane's young niece, who asks if Sloane is an alien because Sloane's sister says she lives on another planet.

    Sloane's boyfriend, Roman, is more of a trendsetter. He's lately into Zentai suits (Google them because I cannot do justice to these things), and he believes that society is moving toward a Zentai existence, one in which we need no touching or interpersonal interactions. Roman, you see, believes that we are trending toward a cybersex, not the actual penetrative variety.

    Maum spends much of this book debating the ideas over which Sloane ruminates. Is our increasing reliance on digital devices causing a necessary loneliness? If so, how do we combat that? Sloane has returned to New York to work for a company that wants to reduce procreation. Is this where we are headed? Are babies becoming the new analog? Occasionally these discussions feel tedious and repetitive, but Maum will surprise you: some of the more interesting and perceptive analyses occur between Sloane and Anastasia, the voice of her driverless car. Using body temperature and other calculable responses, Anastasia can tell when Sloane is suffering. She's even able to offer a cup of coffee or hot tea. But what she can't provide is meaningful contact: yes, you can touch her sets and dashboard, but you can't make eye contact. You can't roll your eyes at her or wink. And the touching is not a mutual exchange, which is what Sloane needs. She bemoans Roman's inability to touch her when he's in his Zentai suit, but she doesn't get anything beyond that with Anastasia. When someone does touch her, her body reacts instantly, letting her know just how dearly she needs this.

    I became a fan of Courtney Maum's when I read I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, the story of a husband, a wife, and infidelity. Touch also discusses infidelity, but not in a sense of marital cheating. Rather, it's the loss that occurs when the person you love loves someTHING else. How do you react when your lover would rather touch a handheld electronic device than you?

    I'm curious to know what you think of this book, so please hit up the comments and tell me.

  • Kate Olson
    May 20, 2017

    One of my favorite books of the year. This is a short and rambling review based on the fact that I was traveling, and doesn't fully reflect my admiration for the story!

    I LOVED this book. It is an incredibly provocative look at our need for human touch and intimacy and scarily true condemnation of current and future tech. Maum manages to create a wonderfully lovable character in Sloane while simultaneously presenting her as in dire need of human touch and intimacy while also being aloof and omnis

    One of my favorite books of the year. This is a short and rambling review based on the fact that I was traveling, and doesn't fully reflect my admiration for the story!

    I LOVED this book. It is an incredibly provocative look at our need for human touch and intimacy and scarily true condemnation of current and future tech. Maum manages to create a wonderfully lovable character in Sloane while simultaneously presenting her as in dire need of human touch and intimacy while also being aloof and omniscient. R is rightly depicted as ridiculous and I didn't even attempt to decipher the virtual sex stuff he was spewing in the midst of the rest of his nonsense - Maim did an excellent job wth this character portrayal. The parts of the book that will stick with me are these:

    - social interaction will replace social media

    - paying for hugs

    - employees pleading for help because they can't stop looking at their phones

    - the horrifying thought of all interactions being online

    I could go on and on........

    Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the digital ARC of this title for review.

  • Jennifer
    Jun 01, 2017

    takes this unfortunate truth and multiplies it by ten in her satirical novel:

    . With humor, drama, and emotion, our present-day is restructured into a setting with self-driving cars, emotional bonding with computers and smart phones versus other humans, and people who seek out physical contact by scheduling extended massages and

    takes this unfortunate truth and multiplies it by ten in her satirical novel:

    . With humor, drama, and emotion, our present-day is restructured into a setting with self-driving cars, emotional bonding with computers and smart phones versus other humans, and people who seek out physical contact by scheduling extended massages and unneeded hair appointments. Basically, people are flying solo in every sense of the word.

    The characters in

    are perfection. Sloane: the female lead is a trend forecaster and her next prediction is a return of intimacy via the outsourcing of affection. Intimacy-starved people will be paying for companionship. Not sex...just a friend. Paying for hugs, renting friends for a day, renting pets to play with and care for. Yeah. Her romantic (or not so romantic) partner of ten years: Roman is a French, neo-sensualist intellectual who is making his own predictions, specifically about post-sexual sex. “Masturbation, of both the cerebral and the physical sort, is the preferred release of the digitally experienced” and he is living proof of this. Roman takes his thoughts and runs with them while Sloane becomes more reflective about what this all means.

    This book was a lot of fun but also thought-provoking about what our own future may look like if we continue looking at our electronics instead of each other. Professional cuddlers are already a reality and there are existing rent-a-pet businesses that advertise “pet benefits, with none of the fuss”. Seriously, just google it! Novelty or not, it made me think. So after I finished this book, my family and I took a trip to the mall to surround ourselves with people. Some were sitting glued to their phones and tablets but most weren't. As is typical in the mall, one guy was sleeping, groups of people were walking, talking, and laughing, there were some solo shoppers who decided to not shop online that day, and we even found some real-life cash on the ground. One point scored for humanity!

  • Sarah Swann
    Jun 24, 2017

    This was so interesting! It really challenges the mindset of how depend we are on our cell phones and electronics. I loved the drama and the over-the-top side characters. I really enjoyed this!

  • Kasa Cotugno
    Jun 14, 2017

    This book belongs on the shelf next to The Circle by Dave Eggars. Taking place the day after tomorrow, when the irresistible lure of the screen is more and more replacing that of human interaction, trend spotter Sloane finds herself more and more disenchanted with the current world until like Snow White, she is revitalized. Roman, her partner of 10 years, is the character that made me laugh out loud -- his becoming an internet sensation as he clads himself in Spiderman-like onesies, making his w

    This book belongs on the shelf next to The Circle by Dave Eggars. Taking place the day after tomorrow, when the irresistible lure of the screen is more and more replacing that of human interaction, trend spotter Sloane finds herself more and more disenchanted with the current world until like Snow White, she is revitalized. Roman, her partner of 10 years, is the character that made me laugh out loud -- his becoming an internet sensation as he clads himself in Spiderman-like onesies, making his way around first Paris then New York.

  • Jessica Weil
    Jul 20, 2017

    You know those condescending articles that Baby Boomers write about how Millennials needs to get their heads out of their phones and enjoy the world around them—as if it's utterly impossible for people to simultaneously adapt to modern technology and live a fulfilling life?

    I don't think Courtney Maum was trying to come across like one of those articles, but what she was going for just wasn't strong or compelling enough to resonate.

    Touch's main character, Sloane Jacobsen, is a world-renowned tr

    You know those condescending articles that Baby Boomers write about how Millennials needs to get their heads out of their phones and enjoy the world around them—as if it's utterly impossible for people to simultaneously adapt to modern technology and live a fulfilling life?

    I don't think Courtney Maum was trying to come across like one of those articles, but what she was going for just wasn't strong or compelling enough to resonate.

    Touch's main character, Sloane Jacobsen, is a world-renowned trend forecaster and self-proclaimed "anti-breeder" whose edgy opinions and savvy predictions have landed her a consulting gig at the NYC-based tech giant Mammoth. Hired to lead their annual conference celebrating a future in which technology replaces genuine human interaction, Sloane soon finds herself veering away from her long-held positions on both. To the CEO's dismay, she predicts that empathy and touch will soon make a comeback, pitting her at odds with the company's mission.

    To Maum's credit, the characters she has created are hilarious and spot-on, such as Sloane's ex-boyfriend, Roman, a French intellectual who has recently declared the death of penetrative sex; and the CEO of Mammoth, Daxter, a smarmy caricature of very young white male tech entrepreneur.

    Maum is a sharp, observational writer, but her ideas are earnest and over-simplified to the point of triteness. It's clear that she was going for satire, but even that fails to resonate as strongly as it could have: it's like she got stuck between satire and sincerity and didn't fully realize either. In one notably corny scene, an exasperated Mammoth employee exclaims, "I want to play with my kids again, but I can't put down my phone!" Ironically, this kind of commentary just doesn't feel revelatory at this point.

    I'll end on a positive note: One thing Touch made me think about is the frankly alarming nature of trend forecasting. Maum subtly and smartly suggests that it's a chicken-and-egg scenario: do collective human desires evolve naturally, or do they simply adapt to whichever new commodities are placed in front of them? If the latter, then the implications of this are pretty terrifying.

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