READ FOR NZ BOOK AWARDS
A time traveller attempts to return to the right point of his past to correct a mistake
❝Time and perspective are indeed entangled in this novel. Paul’s actions and recollections are scattered throughout the book, reported in three different narratives, themselves performing the art of time displacement.
The first begins in 2011 with a story, told in reverse, of Paul’s marriage to a Kiwi philosopher, his experiences as a father, and his time spent researching a novel at the Centre for Time in Sydney.
The second is a record of his time at a writer’s retreat in the South Island in 2019 where he uses narrative prompts to explore the disintegration of his marriage and the tragedies that have earmarked turning points in his life.
The third has no date afforded it, but records his experiences as a time traveller attempting to return to 1977 to correct one of the tragedies.
The philosophical novel introduces a vast range of topics, from quantum theory to good old-fashioned romance. The protagonist’s research into time provides a viability to the time travel which monopolises his life. However the book’s premise is really around grief and and to what levels we will go to for atonement.
Try to anchor yourself in the moment that you apparently have chosen as your present. The older man at the counters reads the classifieds, holds a pen in his hand, circles ads from time to time. The young couple holds hands across the table. These are the things a time traveller knows and things he does not know but the hardest is knowing all the things you should know, will know however much time from now.
❝ Entanglement is a kind of scientific fiction. It is both academic and exhilarating, for Walpert presents intellectual subjects in a format that is understandable for the layperson and which enhances the fiction reading experience. It did take me a bit to realise how the three narratives wove together but I did appreciate Walpert’s ability to showcase the philosophy of time in more ways than one, and to provide an indepth study of the protagonist’s emotions. The Writer’s Retreat passages were particularly moving, with Paul using a prompt to delve directly into telling moments of his past, all of which helped explain the other narratives. – Rachel
❝ Although I enjoyed the storyline being gently teased out over the pages I felt a need (ironically in a time-travel novel) for it to be propelled a bit further and faster. I really only felt the storyline building towards the end. I think feeling at odds with the pace was a reflection of me rather than the author as I’d just started a new job and with that busyness in my head I needed something a bit more concrete like A Good Winter. Overall though it was a lovely read – gut-wrenching and so well meshed together. It’s only now that I’ve finished that I’m reflecting on its cleverness and appreciating it more and more. – Suzy