Cat Clarke’s debut novel, Entangled, tells the story of 17-year-old Grace, as she is held captive in a white room. Grace has problems, including a dysfunctional family, and her best friend Sal begins to push Grace away when Sal’s own life begins to change.
Entangled tackles a number of issues, including suicide, self-harm, abortion and relationships. It is, however, let down by some of its own insensitivities. Clarke illustrates Grace’s immature attitude without ever really discussing the morality of her actions. By the end of the book I felt that I had still not connected with Grace. Her various problems and unhappy life keep the mood quite gloomy and suppressive with very few moments of release.
The writing is abrupt with short, sharp sentences, which can become irritating at times. It is difficult to sympathise with Grace, but Clarke successfully delivers a better understanding of why her character behaves as she does. Entangled, while unsatisfying, leaves you with much to think about long after you close the book.