by Steven Boykey Sidley (Picador Africa) ISBN: 9781770102149


Words are magic. Consider this brilliant title: Entanglement. It means a complicated or compromising relationship and in science, particles that interact with each other, regardless of the distance between them.


What a pity that the author has only lightly touched on the meaning and has not used its magic. The only page in the book I liked, was the last one, when he explains the word entanglement.


Jared Borowitz is a science professor with no respect for the fools in the world. His mentor is dying and his ex-wife is gay. Sounds interesting, but despite Kevin Bloom’s and Rian Malan’s raving words on the cover, I could not find respect for Steven Boykey Sidley.


His debut is pretentious. The protagonist thinks, wonders and imagines too much on every page and the endless summaries and explanations are tedious. Sentences sometimes take up to 9 lines, with words that I have to look up in a dictionary.


Occasionally there is good writing, the dialogues flow: then I see what the author was trying to achieve, but most of the time, he is so self-absorbed and has so little respect for his reader, that I think Sidley should stick to whiskey-fuelled dinner party debates or polish his writing skills and give his characters more depth.


Pauline Vijverberg


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by Steven Boykey Sidley (Picador Africa) ISBN: 9781770102149 

Entanglement is pretentious, boring and badly-written. It is a perfect example of a debut novelist who has somehow become published before he has learnt the craft of novel-writing. 

Jared is having a mid-life crisis. Trapped in academia, and horrified by the stupidity of people, he is confronted with a few traumatic experiences. Not even these allowed me to see past the fact that Jared is a truly unlikeable protagonist. It takes a brilliant writer to write a passable antihero, and Sidley is not a good storyteller. It was impossible to believe that arrogant, opinionated Jared had friends and a ‘perfect’ girlfriend. 

The author tells, and tells, and tells. Writers need to show, as all good readers, and writers, know. Ironically, the endless babble in Jared’s head is what Jared hates most. It is stupid. The first 30 pages were useless backstory. I would have abandoned the book then if I did not have to review it. The book is also difficult to read - printed in a font that is too small, and on white paper, much like a school text book. 
Amanda Patterson

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