Ages of Entanglement by R.L. Jackson
This was an ARC that was offered to Shannon, which she offered to me to read since it seemed to appeal more to my general interests than to hers. I can honestly say that this book is one of a kind, and unlike any other book that I have read. It will be very hard to describe this book to give a sense of its true essence, therefore I do urge the reader to read it for themselves if any of this piques your interest. That being said, I will do my best to offer my thoughts on this work.
Ages of Entanglement by R.L. Jackson, is both incredibly simple, yet fully-loaded, a paradox of a story. It is a true work of art that contains layers upon layers of poetic metaphors and symbolism. I feel like this would be a perfect assignment for literature students to analyze to give their feelings on what certain situations and events are represented by the author.
If I could give any critique on this book, I would say that the title, even though it totally works for main theme of this book, could be somewhat misleading, as well as the premise behind the plot. I went into this book thinking that it would appeal to my fascination of quantum mechanics, however, I found that it appealed much more-so to my love of symbolism and philosophy. The quantum-related aspects of this book only serves as an initial foundation, briefly described without much scientific detail (good for readers not already familiar with quantum science), but only serves as a launchpad for the main plot — which is basically a story of a lone wanderer on a journey to search for and fulfill his purpose in life.
This book gave me very strong Book of Eli vibes, as there are many similarities between the two settings and stories themselves, however, there are also many differences. In The Book of Eli, Eli has a set destination, a set goal, and an iron will of sheer determination. This book is a strong contrast to that scenario, in the fact that our main character, Samson, has no initial destination, no goal other than survival, and a faltering determination that leaves him questioning his true will or true purpose in life.
Another book that I could compare it to would be Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, where in both books, we are alone with the protagonist in the wild, along with vivid descriptions of everything he does to survive. However, Ages of Entanglement goes much deeper than any book of comparison in the fact that even though the story line is much simpler, it also digs at life’s most profound aspects, such as one’s relationship with nature and other individuals, nature’s relationship with itself, the purpose of humanity, and where we, as individuals, fit within this big picture. It is the story of finding and fulfilling one’s purpose in life, and not giving up until that purpose has been fulfilled.
This is a story describing the cycle of nature — life, death, and rebirth, and how one single individual, who imagines himself as a microscopic part of nature, entangles his path with other individuals in order to fulfill his destined purpose of making a true benefit to humanity on a macro scale before he disintegrates back into the place from whence he came.
This book is not for everyone. I can easily see how some readers would give it 2 stars at best by simply interpreting it at face value, but I feel like you need to already have somewhat of a philosophic mindset and truly be able to read between the lines that the author has written in order to simultaneously interpret what is not being said in order really appreciate this book. There are profundities in life and nature that cannot be adequately described in words, lest they fall short and cheapen the object or experience in which they describe. Therefore, sometimes you can better describe deep truths in what they are not in order to give a better interpretation of their hidden truths, which the mind can sometimes only grasp at by means of symbolism and one’s own interpretation of what is not being said, based on what is actually said.
I feel like this is a very important book, and it can offer deep insights for those who are willing to search for it within the archetypal themes of this story. I feel like this book, if ever so slightly, has made some slight addition to my framework for living, and I have ever so slightly improved myself by reading it. I do recommend this book, but only to those it might “speak” to. If you are on a journey of knowledge, self discovery, and self improvement — not from a secular context, but an inner, philosophic context — then this book is a highly-recommended read.
Thank you to the author, R.L. Jackson, for reaching out and providing this ARC for us to read.