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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


Zygmunt Miłoszewski

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To purchase Entanglement

Title: Entanglement
Author: Zygmunt Miłoszewski
Genre: Novel
Written: 2007 (Eng. 2010)
Length: 336 pages
Original in: Polish
Availability: Entanglement - US
Entanglement - UK
Entanglement - Canada
Die Verstrickung - Deutschland
  • Polish title: Uwikłanie
  • Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones

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Our Assessment:

B : somewhat labored, but piles some interesting things into it

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Polityka . 29/7/2009 Justyna Sobolewska

  From the Reviews:
  • "Imponuje kryminalne przygotowanie Miłoszewskiego, misterna intryga i świetnie budowane warszawskie tło. A skala uwikłania i bezradność wobec zła, przed którym stajemy, budzi grozę i trzyma w napięciu do ostatniej strony." - Justyna Sobolewska, Polityka

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Entanglement is set in the summer of 2005, its protagonist a public prosecutor in Warsaw, Teodor Szacki. (In European style, law and order are handled slightly differently here than in the US, and the public prosecutor's function is one encompassing both part of the police role (in particular, the investigation) as well as that of the prosecuting/district attorney.) Only in his mid-thirties, Szacki is underpaid, overworked, and seems to be feeling a bit burnt out. He's semi-happily married, and has a young daughter, but here he also finds himself tempted to have a fling with a journalist.
       The crime at the center of the novel is the apparent murder of Henryk Telak, found with something like a meat skewer rammed through his eye and deep into his skull. Telak was taking part in a therapy-retreat, and the most likely suspects are the three other participants and the psychotherapist leading the group -- "One body, four suspects -- all sober and well-to-do". The therapy they were taking part in is something called 'Family Constellation Therapy', in which the participants confront some of their issues by play-acting, with the other participants playing the roles of the significant people in their lives; Telak's session had been a particularly unsettling one, and that night he wound up dead.
       Most of the novel closely follows Szacki as he goes about his job and life, but there are also brief sections in which others are seen to be keeping an eye on the Telak-investigation, making it clear that there is more to this case than is immediately apparent -- and that steps are being taken, in case Szacki digs too deep.
       Entanglement putters forward without all too much momentum for quite a while, but: "It's impossible not to be entangled", as one character quotes, and the unseen complex connections eventually begin to be revealed -- and this in a post-communist Poland where there's a lot of past below the surface that many people don't want dredged up.
       Telak was clearly carrying a lot around with him: while he was a fairly successful manager, his beloved daughter committed suicide in her teens, and his son has a heart ailment that requires a transplant if he is to survive much longer.
       Szacki continues to root around (and to meet up with the oh so tempting journalist, Monika), and eventually some of the pieces come together, in a fairly complex puzzle. At that point he is warned by one useful source of information:

I'll advise you that as you have reached a point in your inquiry -- whatever it may be about -- where you want to talk to me, I would recommend caution.
       Caution may help, but Szacki -- with a family to think about -- rightly is (and feels) vulnerable, and soon enough begins to see what he's gotten himself into.
       Miłoszewski ties the loose threads up fairly well (though it's a bit complicated and feels somewhat artificial -- too much like a mystery-book-plot). There's a decent mix of the Polish-communist legacy, psychotherapeutic mumbo-jumbo, and Szacki's semi-mid-life crisis -- though it all does drag on a bit. Brief summaries of world and local events (and the weather) at the beginning of each of the twelve chapters (each of which covers the events of a single day) nicely situate the book in (near-)contemporary Poland, and the mix of mundane -- the local football (soccer) team's big game, who is going to pick up the girl from playschool, workplace dynamics -- and criminal make for a decent read. Still, it's hard not to feel that Miłoszewski is still trying to come to grips with the genre: not quite a paint-by-the-numbers thriller, his attempts to create a (slightly) flawed but sympathetic protagonist still show too much rough handiwork. But if he can settle down and get comfortable with his character this could be the start of a decent series; the potential is all there.

- M.A.Orthofer, 12 May 2010

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Entanglement: Reviews: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Polish author Zygmunt Miłoszewski was born in 1976.

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