cover image Touch


Courtney Maum. Putnam, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7352-1212-1

Maum’s trenchant satirical novel is about the intersection of modern technology and human interaction. Sloane Jacobsen, a highly influential trend forecaster who predicted the “swipe,” moves from Paris to Manhattan for a six-month collaboration with tech company Mammoth. Accompanying her is long-term life partner Roman Bellard, a Frenchman and Zentai-wearing intellectual obsessed with “sensuality in the digital age.” Sloane’s outspoken views on childbearing as ecoterrorism dovetail with her Mammoth assignment to guide product creation for the intentionally childless. Soon, though, she concludes that the next trend will be a return to intimacy and interpersonal, in-person interaction, so when Roman publishes a New York Times op-ed advocating virtual sex over real sex, she kicks him out. Meanwhile, her attempts at reconnecting with her estranged family are not going well, and a company designer attracted to Sloane challenges her to redefine herself. Maum (I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You), who also names products for MAC Cosmetics, has such a incisive grasp of where tech and culture meet that she could add sociologist to her resume. The book also captures the mid-life crisis of a woman at the top of her game, resulting in a perceptive, thought-provoking read. (May)