Author: Katy Mahood
Publisher: The Borough Press
2007: at the end of a momentous day, Charlie, Stella and John cross paths under the arches of Paddington Station. As Charlie locks eyes with Stella across the platform, a brief, powerful spark of recognition flashes between them. But they are strangers … aren’t they?
Plunging back thirty years we watch as, unknown to them all, the lives of Stella and John, and Charlie and his girlfriend Beth, are pulled ever closer, an invisible thread connecting them across the decades and through London’s busy streets.
For Stella, becoming a young mother in the 1970s puts an end to her bright academic career in a way John can’t seem to understand. Meanwhile Charlie gambles all future happiness with Beth when his inner demons threaten to defeat him.
In rhythmic and captivating prose, Katy Mahood effortlessly interweaves the stories of these two families who increasingly come to define one another in the most vital and astounding ways. With this soaring debut, she explores the choices and encounters that make up a lifetime, reminding us just how closely we are all connected.
This story absolutely blew me away. I felt myself experience a range of emotions from laughter and happiness at the characters’ high points to surprise and sadness – many tears were shed in the reading of this novel, but I loved every moment!
The characters (two couples: Stella and John, and Charlie and Beth) completely drew me in; I felt like I knew them so well by the end of the book. It begins in 1977, and I loved reading about life in London (one of my favourite cities!) during that time and in the 30 years after that is covered by the novel. There’s something about following the same characters over a long length of time – observing through the pages the key points in their adult life – which makes the reader (or me, anyway!) feel so much more invested. That’s not to say I particularly liked all of the characters in this book, I just found them incredibly interesting in their own ways, and wanted to read more about them.
The plot is unique in the way that it combines the theory of quantum physics (this idea that particles which became connected can remain so, even when far apart from eachother – this is coming from someone with no scientific understanding, but it’s all presented in a way that makes sense in the pages of Entanglement) with completely everyday, identifiable life events: relationships, careers, having kids, dealing with loss and grief… many things that will, unfortunately, affect many of us at some point in our lives, and therefore is so relatable. The lives of the characters overlap in various ways and at many points over the years thereafter – someone will glimpse someone else for just a second, and at other times their connections become more fixed.
I loved reading about the ‘near misses’ some of the characters have with almost meeting, and the possibilities that this brings. Katy Mahood’s beautiful writing meant this novel was, for me, just perfect.
Many thanks to The Borough Press for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.