Flux happily offers a moving appraisal of lives buffeted by personal and systemic traumas; a deep dive into the good, the bad and the ugly of self-serving corporate culture; and no shortage of 'wait, what the heck just happened?' thrills ... Far from mere window dressing, the jarring temporal dislocation Brandon experiences, which is deftly mirrored in the novel’s perspective-swapping structure, blends with and builds on the hardest parts of his past in revelatory ways.
Ambitious ... The narrative pleasures of Flux lie less in the big reveals than in watching Chong knit together genre tropes from sci-fi movies, speculative fiction and thrillers to tell a story about how what we remember can imprison us — and why freedom may lie within ... There’s a lot going on. With varying degrees of success, Chong synthesizes a large, diverse set of themes and plot elements, including time travel, grief, Asian American representation and queer romance ... The novel’s satirical streak is perhaps its strongest suit ... At times, so many things seem to be happening in Flux that it’s hard to know where to look ... Perhaps as a result, it feels a little undercooked ... Nevertheless, the book is an imaginative exploration of how cultural memory and grief interact. Chong makes a strong case for hope that the way out of our infinite loops resides within.
Chong bursts forth, Athena-like, with an impossible-to-simply-label masterpiece that melds various genres—from Bildungsroman to speculative fiction, coming-of-age drama to epic tragedy, crime documentary to noirish thriller—into an intricate literary mosaic. Iterative repetition provides the novel’s structure in both its characters’ identities and Chong’s actual writing ... Chong stuns readers with a multipronged, multilayered, multivoiced, magnificent enigma.