3 out of 4 stars
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In Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise, we are not introduced to a traditional trope featuring a protagonist and a villain. Instead, John K Danenbarger presents us with a single intricate timeline involving the lives of seven people, all coming from different backgrounds and dealing with their own circumstances. Despite that, their stories get entangled throughout the book, forming a realistic representation of human life.
Beginning with a letter received in the "present day," the story later brings us to the past, not to see how it all started but to follow a complex tale, jumping from one event to the next, until we return to the day the letter is received. The book ends sometime afterwards, showing us the nature of time, how it eventually reveals things and how it goes on despite the end of someone's life.
It is always a challenge to write a story with multiple points of view. Each character must have their own voice, and the author must make sure the readers can feel the character's presence and roles without straying them from the main plot. In this regard, this novel is unique.
At first, I had a hard time keeping up with the characters, especially with the amount of exposition in each chapter. I found myself occasionally going back to the previous parts to check if I had missed any details. Moreover, since the story is delivered by different perspectives, I initially felt the timeline was also confusing.
However, as the story progresses, I found yourself getting hooked right away like a fish on a rod. The seemingly unrelated events were the baits, slowly pulling me into the mess until it was too late to drop the book. The relationship between each character and event is expected, but how they relate may become a surprise. The story requires hard focus and keen attention, but the struggle will pay off in the end, as every piece of the puzzle eventually finds its place. Connecting the dots along the way is like going on an adventure.
When observing someone else's life, we probably think an event is mundane and trivial. For the said person, however, this particular experience may be meaningful. It may be the result of a long history or the beginning of a major change. Every event in someone's life represents the person's identity and growth.
I think that is what the book tries to show us. We never know what we will experience in the future, but the event will certainly affect us. Similarly, we never know who we will meet next, but their involvement will undeniably impact our lives in many ways, just like how our involvement will influence theirs. Quoting an explanation from one of the characters, "...two unconnected people [are] mysteriously connected... and, when they crash into each other, they get all tangled up in each other" (Part 2, Chapter 2).
Professionally edited, this is an outstanding book for a debut. It is like a research report written as a novel, helping us understand the theory of quantum physics, though the advanced diction may not be for everyone. Therefore, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. Mature readers who like multiple-POV stories featuring scientific and philosophical topics would likely enjoy this book.
Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise
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