...beguiling but wonderfully thrilling ... From beginning to end, Tentacle is a strange, unnerving, and at times beautiful book that critiques global inequality and the politicization of climate change. Moreover, it throws into question the rigidity of time-old categories of gender, race, and spiritual beliefs. Excitingly, it also amplifies a Dominican voice on the matter of climate change, which as Tentacle makes clear, has already impacted the Caribbean in devastating ways.
A dry, sardonic tone anchors the pulpy narrative, with its bloody violence, brutish sex and futuristic flourishes, all seasoned with bitter humor and a hint of the occult ... Whether we would really want to change the past, given the opportunity, is one question posed in this blast of a novel; what it is to act beyond self-interest is another. Tentacle reads like Kathy Acker with a tighter narrative grip.
The English in Tentacle is dynamic and colorful, peppered with Spanish, Yoruba, and occasionally French ... Tentacle is a little book with big ambitions. It tells a wild story that takes on environmental disaster, contemporary art, queer politics, religious syncretism, race relations, and the legacy of empire, all the while showcasing speculative fiction’s capacity for sharp socio-political commentary. But like many time-travel narratives, its plot is convoluted and complicated, and requires frequent leaps of imagination. For all its big ideas, it sometimes struggles to stay coherent. It may have been better to lessen the speed, just for a moment, and give readers a chance to catch up.
To say that there are certain tropes that surround time travel would be a massive understatement, and yet: I’m not sure there’s ever been a story of moving through time quite like Rita Indiana’s heady and surreal novel Tentacle ... Within the pages of Tentacle, Indiana covers a lot of ground–and seeing how all of its seemingly disparate threads fit together can require some backtracking. When it all comes together, though, the result of Indiana’s novel is a dizzying, almost ecstatic experience ... But what might be most welcome about this book is its sheer unpredictability, which Indiana carries out with gusto.