Hey, Zoey

Little, Brown. Jun. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780316428606. $29. F
Crossan (Here Is the Beehive) delivers a darkly comic, wholly original novel steeped in artificial intelligence—in this case, a sexbot named Zoey who communicates using AI. David and Dolores have been married for several years, but theirs is not a relationship of passion; they’re more like two friends who happen to live together. Things come to a head when Dolores finds the sexbot in their garage. David refuses to discuss it when she confronts him, and he moves out, leaving Zoey behind. More frustrated than heartbroken, Dolores drags the doll into the house and sets up its app, making Zoey into her new roommate and confidante. To Zoey, Dolores relates her mother’s dementia and confesses to missing her sister, who has recently moved away. As readers learn more about Dolores and her relationships, it is easy to understand her fascination with Zoey, who’s a good listener and can hold her own in a conversation. The kinds of human-AI relationships that once seemed like science fiction become reality in Crossan’s novel about modern-day connection.
VERDICT In light of the proliferation of AI in all aspects of life, this is a timely read, sure to appeal to book groups that enjoy the work of Gary Shteyngart, Ottessa Moshfegh, or Dave Eggers.
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