Q&A with Dave Kavanagh
The Tangle Box
Q: What inspired the main character in your debut novel, Tangle Box?
A: The Tangle Box grew from a short story that I worked on in 2016. It was written in the first person and the narrator was nameless and shapeless. When I returned to it about a year later, I thought that I could use the original short story, drill deeper into it, and tell the story of the narrator and his relationship with the house.
What I didn't want was to tell another tale of woe from an abused victim. I needed a narrator who could be dispassionate, who could rationalize the story. The narrator could not be a static character either, he had to grow. The story and the experience he went through had to change him.
I eventually discovered my character in Dan O'Neill. Dan is a composite of many damaged people that I have known over my life. In The Tangle Box he relates the story in first person which means the focus is narrow. I felt to achieve a balanced story, Dan had to be a pragmatist who was willing not only to relate the crimes of others but was also willing to acknowledge his own mistakes without using victimhood as an excuse for his failures.