Recovering from an unspecified accident, the narrator of Loop finds herself in waiting rooms of different kinds: airport departure lounges, doctors' surgeries, and above all at home, awaiting the return of her boyfriend, who has travelled to Spain following the death of his mother. Winner of the PEN Translates Award (UK), Loop is a love story told from the perspective of a contemporary Penelope who, instead of weaving and unravelling her shroud, writes and erases her thoughts in her 'ideal' notebook.
... a glorious tapestry of literary enthusiasms. Brenda Lozano is among several contemporary Mexican writers whose playfully innovative work has met with acclaim in the UK ... Loop reads like a confessional essay rather than fiction, and like Luiselli’s first novel Faces in the Crowd, it plays with the idea of keeping readers guessing whether it conjures an entirely imaginative world, or represents a kind of autofiction ... Lozano wants the book to feel like coming upon a diary. Its cryptic swivels from one subject to another and its loose, allusive structure give the illusion that it has been thrown together, but the result is far more artful than that.
True to its title, Lozano’s book does go round and round in circles. And though it doesn’t feel intended to alienate, it does reside comfortably on the more experimental end of the spectrum ... The novel’s real action is the narrator’s stream of thought as she ponders subjects from the very small to the very large ... Pulsing beneath the diaristic rhythm of the novel, sometimes erupting to its surface, are the troubles of the narrator’s country.
A form of literary dumpster diving, Loop is nourished on what most novels discard. Zipping along with the kind of whimsical, non-linear vignettes that animated Renata Adler’s Speedboat, Lozano’s anti-novel throws down nodal points of entry and departure to create seemingly random junctions between mythology, fairy tale, pop culture and literature ... Equal parts sorrowful and hopeful, playful and serious, diary and fable, Loop can be read as many things. It can be read as a lament for a species whose greed and obsession with success has made it lose perspective and exaggerate its proportions, and which now threatens to erase itself from history like writing on the sand. It can be read as a manifesto for realist magic as opposed to magic realism. It can be read aloud between lovers or in solitary silence. But most important of all, it should be read, period.