Cover Image: Entanglement

Entanglement

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A beautifully written book that spans over 30 years. I really connected with the characters and enjoyed experiencing their life journeys with them.
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What makes a reader instantly like a book?  For me its a book that follows you around the house, from bedside locker to kitchen table and back again; a book where the characters are likeable, where there’s a tantalising promise of a great story, and a sense of authenticity to the narrative.  Entanglement has all of these qualities, as well as a beautiful front cover,  and I loved it. 

The story starts in London in 1977, spanning 30 years and follows 2 young couples, John and Stella and Charlie and Beth.   It captures the ups and downs of married life, motherhood, illness, infidelity and addiction through a beautifully woven narrative where little threads connect all 4 protagonists throughout their lives.  Now here’s the science - the book title derives from a quantum physics theory which states that when two bodies temporarily share a space, no matter how briefly, a link is created between them.  This connection is conveyed through a series of “near miss moments”, where the lives of the characters fleetingly overlap, unbeknownst to them, at Paddington Station, in a Registry Office, at a pub destroyed by an IRA bomb. Entanglement is a bittersweet analysis of relationships filled with the usual mix of human disappointments and moments of joy.  This is best captured in the endearing and gentle relationship between John and Stella, who despite adversities, have found a different type of happiness, a settlement, in their later years.  For those of us of a certain age, there are also some superb moments of nostalgia peppered throughout the book where Mahood perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the 1970s and 1980s.  

I was genuinely a little bit sad when I reached the last chapter.  Well done to Katy Mahood on an impressive and authentic debut novel.

Thanks to @netgalley and @harperfictionpr for the e-book in exchange for an honest review.
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It is hard to comprehend that this is a debut novel as this understated story is so beautifully written and totally engrossing. 
Quantum entanglement is a theory that particles which have become entangled, remain connected even when far away from one another. Each chapter is headed by parts of the theorem but don't worry, this is a very accessible story even as it illustrates how life imitates physics as remote connections and reactions occur.  John and Stella, Charlie and Beth are unaware of crossing paths but there is a connection between the couples that reverberates down the years.  The story opens in 2007 at the end of a momentous day when Charlie, Stella and John cross paths under the arches of Paddington Station.  As Charlie and Stella lock eyes, a brief, powerful spark of recognition flashes between them.  How and from where?  Back thirty years and we see the lives of the two couples, separate yet interconnecting, facing triumph, joy and heartbreak.  Beware though, it is incredibly painful in parts as illness, addiction and life choices bring challenges to both couples and repercussions echo though time.  However, by the time we reach the brief meeting on Paddington Station again, there is optimism and we are quietly uplifted.
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This is a beautiful novel that manages to weave quantum physics into a stunning story. It’s a novel about two people whose lives keep interlinking and overlapping but they’re not fully aware of each other. It’s such a clever book as we follow both Stella and Charlie through their lives as they sometimes vaguely recognise the other but no where from, and yet we the reader know they were present at some really important moments in each other’s lives. These two characters have their own lives, their own relationships and their own heartaches to bear. It was wonderful to see them grow and to see how closely they got to each other before being moved further away again. It’s such an unusual way of telling a story but I was completely engrossed in it. Before starting the book I assumed this was going to be a love story, and while it is a story about love and relationships and how important a random connection can be, it’s more a story about love. I highly recommend this one!
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A light touch, intriguing story – where figures are glimpsed on the periphery of scenes and then forgotten until they return centre stage on a later occasion. This reflects real-life. Unfortunately if you can only read the book in stops and starts you can find yourself struggling to remember where you met those characters before (had to keep flipping back to remind myself). However despite that it was on the whole a light enjoyable read.
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As soon as I read her opening description of a murmuration, I knew that I was going to enjoy Katy Mahood’s debut novel, Entanglement. It’s the first of many such arresting images in this novel about those ‘moments’ we share with complete strangers.

Both the title and premise for Katy Mahood’s book derive from a quantum mechanics theory in which (and I am paraphrasing very loosely here) two entities temporarily share a space or interact, due to some indefinable pull, creating a link between them. That may be the science behind it but the book’s appeal lies in how recognisable and relatable this phenomenon is. We’ve all experienced times where we’ve shared a smile, an eye roll or more with a stranger, before continuing on our separate ways. And in Entanglement, Katy Mahood traces those fleeting moments when our lives bump up against those of others.

Entanglement follows the divergent paths of Stella, John and Charlie through almost thirty years from October 1977 to August 2007. It’s a span of time which will take in all the highs and lows of life from falling in love to near breakups to divorce, the joy, the boredom, the mistakes people make and the things they get right. How people change and grow together or apart, the compromises and adjustments they make along the way, how they deal with unfulfilled hopes and dreams and what they consider to be a successful or fulfilling life. It looks at the contrast between what’s important when you’re young and how that alters at different life stages or in the face of a milestone event.

Perhaps it’s because they first share a moment in Paddington station on my birthday that it’s Stella and Charlie’s characters who most captured my imagination. I had a real sense that shared moments gently reverberated through their lives, even if only a faint echo, and that other characters missed out on this by not being as open or present in that moment.

One of my favourite parts of the book is where Katy Mahood shares both Stella and Charlie’s version of the same event. It doesn’t always happen concurrently but seeing the other side of each encounter helped me to understand how these two affected one another. It changed something in me when I read it, and made me look more closely at my random interactions with other people, and even view them in a new light. I became more aware of how I was behaving towards others, as well as how they affected my mood.

Entanglement is a quietly perceptive novel about the connections we make, along with those ‘almost’ moments and near-misses, which we all experience. It’s bittersweet, almost melancholy in tone, but flashes of Katy Mahood’s beautiful description help lift this debut into something altogether more hopeful.
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I read this beautiful novel, but couldn’t find the right words for a review, so fatally left it till I could reread it. I have now done so. An interesting link with the concept of Quantum Entanglement from physics, that entangled particles stay connected and can affect each other even when separated.

The stories of Stella and John and Charlie and Beth meet and separate, then come together again years later. It’s a bittersweet tale, it really is. Especially Charlie and Beth, but there’s plenty of emotion in Stella and John’s story too. Manhood makes you care about the characters, and she doesn’t make it all happy ending (some, but not all), which is refreshing. 

(Review on Amazon and goodreads too)
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I'll be honest, I requested this from @netgalley based on the cover. When I started reading, I was momentarily nervous because the epilogue and the chapter headings are scientific...however the story itself is wonderful and I thought it perfectly demonstrated the theory of entanglement.

This is the debut novel by Katy Mahood and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story primarily focuses on 2 couples, from the seventies through to the current day. We share their heartbreak, anger, excitement and disappointments. It is possible for life to change course at any second, life can throw anything at you. 
I felt invested in all of the characters, it was very well written and full of emotion. The details are subtle but I found myself picturing the characters and where they were, trying to work out how everything would play out....which of course I got wrong!

I didn't predict how the story developed in the current day but I thought it was excellent. It was current, well managed and unfolded at a good pace to tie everything together. 
Life is full of coincidences, we just don't recognise many of them.

Released in paperback on February 7th 2019.

Thank you to @netgalley, @harpercollinsuk and @boroughpress for the chance to review.

#libraryatsevern #bookstagrammer #readersofinstagram #bookstagram #igreads #bookshelf #goodreads #entanglement #netgalley #katymahood #debutnovel #theboroughpress
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Katy Mahood’s debut novel, Entanglement, picks up on a couple of concepts from quantum physics to tell the story of two couples across three decades. Firstly, the idea that two ‘entangled’ particles can affect each other’s quantum states even when they are far apart, a peculiar finding because it involves travelling faster than the speed of light, which is impossible. Secondly, the Schrodinger’s cat idea that something only becomes fixed in a quantum state once it is observed, and, before then, is simultaneously in both states at once. However, clever as this might seem, this Versions of Us hook actually adds very little to what is otherwise a pretty conventional, if readable, novel.

Stella and John fall in love in London in the mid-1970s when he is studying theoretical physics and she English Literature. However, both of their lives are knocked off course – Stella’s in a wholly predictable way, when marriage and motherhood force her to abandon her studies, and John’s in a wholly unpredictable way, when a virus in his brain forces him to relearn concepts and speech from scratch. In a parallel thread, Charlie’s life is full of pain and turmoil after the sudden death of his sister, and the early struggles of his marriage to Beth. When he briefly passes Stella and John in the park, he is jealous of their happiness, not knowing he ought to be careful what he wishes for. As the novel continues, these two threads are tied together in an unexpected(-ish) way.

Mahood writes in a kind of lilting literary style that is flowing, but frustratingly vague. Characterisation is perfunctory - the big dilemmas that face these characters have been repeated in so many novels before, and aren’t illuminated any further here. The one strand of the novel that lifts away from this pattern is the bit that deals with John’s illness, which is genuinely touching, and I wasn’t surprised to find out after finishing the novel that this draws from Mahood’s own experience. However, it was annoying that the frequent references to missed chances, near-misses and quantum physics didn’t amount to anything more.
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A haunting  story of love, romance, brain injury and family life. Two young girls Effie, and Hope end up getting married. They try to heal their parents wounds, and are only partially successful.
The pain of a relationship that has broken down, and its effect upon two young girls is palpable. The girls, and then eventually married themselves, and try to heal their parents, which doesn't all happen.
Good characters, a plot which bubbles along nicely, and a resolution of sorts.
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This is a book which spans over thirty years taking us on a journey involving two couples. A beautifully set story. I had to stop a couple of times to mull over some of the story. Absolute gem!
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This is one of those books that when it ends you want more. More of the characters. More of everything.  Thanks for the ARC.
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Entanglement is a sprawling novel, covering decades in the lives of two families. And despite this, its charm lies in the zeroing in on minute details and moments. The way one character looks at another one. The way two people almost, but don’t quite, meet. Its title comes from a theory in physics, which one of the characters is working on at the start of the novel, which states that once two particles have interacted, they are never wholly separate again (apologies if this is garbled, or simply wrong).

For most of the novel, we follow two couples, Stella and John, and Beth and Charlie. We watch as these couples navigate wholly ordinary things, like meeting, marrying and having a child, and as their lives are thrown off course by addiction, serious illness and divorce. Mahood’s language is beautiful, lyrical – the everyday made magic.
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A mixture of “what if” and “look what happened”. A chance encounter across a station brings back memories of 30 years ago, and all the trials and tribulations following. A good read, I enjoyed it. I will be following this author in the future.
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Entanglement is the story of two couples, John and Stella, and  Beth and Charlie who don't know each other but whose lives are inextricably linked. It leads us through their highs and lows from the 1970's through to the present day. 

It's fair to say not a huge amount happens in this book. It's about normal life, decisions and consequences, good and bad. But its never boring. For me it grabbed me and held me hostage for two hours while I devoured every page because from the very first page I really cared for the characters despite (or maybe because) of their flaws, especially for some odd reason Charlie, I really wanted things to work out for him and had to remind myself he's a fictional character! This would be an accomplished work for a seasoned author so for it to be a debut is just fantastic.
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It took me a while to read this novel.  I started it then abandoned my mind not jelling with the story.  I then picked it up again and I fell in love particularly with Charlie.  His story with Effie drew me in . The characters were so beautifully drawn that I felt and saw each and every one Iin Pure detail.  I walked the streets with them and shed many a tear.  

A beautiful novel.  I am so glad I gave it a second chance.
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An Exceptional Book - Literature at its very best:
Seldom does a book excite me as much as Entanglement did. It is Katy Mahood's debut novel and what a stunner. It is modern literature at its very best. 
The book has everything: structure; flowing, intelligent prose; superb characterisation; themes to make you think and a great storyline. 
The Entanglement of the title is the essence of the book: Mahood regularly keeps the reader focussed by regularly quoting the physics of the theory of particle entanglement whilst her story elucidates the title in relation to human relationships.
Throughout the book chance encounters between seemingly unrelated individuals and couples follow that same rule of physics till the inevitable unification symbolised by Effie and Hope.
Mahood demonstrates her own singular writing style and as a debut novel the quality is breathtaking.
Entanglement begins in London in August 1977 and concludes in the London of 2007: a generation later. So many changes were to happen to the book's main characters in that period. Some good and some bad. We follow the lives of Stella, John, Beth and Charlie and share their ups and downs. And, as we enter the latter part of the period, those of their offspring. Mahood reminds us of the changes that occurred. The London of 1977 was an IRA bombing target. By 2007 London was a very different place from what it had been a mere thirty years earlier. A City more at ease with itself. The political landscape had changed. As had technology which was set to exponentially change our world. Lurking ahead was the growth of a technological behemoth which was to change forever the way we communicate and interact with one another. But the technology we take for granted today and continues to change the way we interact with one another was just slowly starting to impact on society back in 2007 (a mere ten years ago). 
In 1977 both John and Charlie had the world at their feet and yet thirty years on tragically neither had reached where they would have expected. Both were incredibly intelligent people set to fail but for different reasons. John through illness and Charlie through alcoholism. Despite career failings both managed to create two magical legacies: their daughters: Hope and Effie. 
Mahood explores the different ways we cope with that which life throws at us. Mahood does this by creating a comparative parallel as we watch the relationships of Stella and John and Beth and Charlie, flourish and wither respectively. They both suffer their own problems but deal with them differently. I can't do justice to Entanglement in a few paragraphs but read the book for yourself and enjoy.
Once read Entanglement is one of those rare books which you will not forget.
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A meditative, original look at relationships past and present, this evocative novel quietly drew me in with its descriptions and clever trope of love as an example of quantum mechanics in action.
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A saga of a sort featuring 2 couples, Stella + John and Beth + Charlie, their ups and downs and how gradually their lives entwine.  Pleasant, easy to read but more of a descriptive than action story as it meanders through a 30 year timescale, just lightly touching various events.  Not an obvious page turner but it works.  A different from the norm book and well worth a look!
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Sorry, I didn't enjoy this in the least. Every page has a mention of sex, drink, drugs or swearing, warranted or not. The characters don't do anything that I can see except obsess about themselves, weddings and a funeral directors' strike. One character is pregnant at the start, which is some excuse for her, but there are many references to studying in Edinburgh in the past - then not seemingly doing much with the skills. 

Name checks of London streets and Tube stations are so frequent as to make us giddy while chapters average a couple of pages long, skipping among characters. In other words no absorbtion in a setting or scene, even during the bomb blast. The main couple live in Kilburn and we follow them at disjointed intervals through the years from 1977 to 2006. This kind of book is being written by people who are on twitter and social media feeds non stop, causing short attention spans and lack of beauty. The author also tries to write affectedly, with occasional present tense third person and then past tense third person, but still falls into the trap of It was... It had been... There were. She also dangles prepositions frequently. I am sure she put a lot of work into her book but I suggest she should dump the social media if she wants to write long form. 

Other readers may of course enjoy this modern adult fiction more than I did. 
I downloaded an e-ARC from Net Galley. This is an unbiased review.
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