A review by abbie_
Loop, by Brenda Lozano

challenging reflective slow-paced
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


(#gifted @charcopress) If I were a reader who underlined and tabbed books (laziness is the only reason I'm not), Loop would have very few pages untouched. It's one of those lovely, meandering, plotless narratives that I just love, which I know cause other readers to run for the hills. But if you love them, you'll love this.
The narrator documents her thoughts in her Ideal Notebook (both the literal brand and the hypothetical ideal notebook) as her boyfriend is abroad visiting his recently deceased mother's family. As she awaits his return (don't worry, it's not a pining situation), her mind wanders from everything to Proust, The Beatles, the novel she'd write if she could, cats, The Odyssey, and of course, writing itself. Although it wanders, the prose is clear and lucid, crisply translated by Annie McDermott.
I took photographs of so many pages as I was struck by a particular thought or phrase where I just thought, 'that's me!'. I feel like this narrator and I would be friends. She gets lost in her own thoughts, pondering the uselessness of certain objects, what her cat dreams about, how time is just a construct. I loved the choppy paragraphs, mimicking how her thoughts flit from one topic to the next. Interspersed with these are longer chunks of run-on dialogue, usually from people other than herself. Lozano also ties in pertinent contemporary issues in Mexico such as femicide, as the narrator finds herself fixated on speeches and articles about them, along with her own, more personal, ruminations.
Writers and ardent lovers of Ali Smith will delight in this book. Those not a fan of plotless narratives will likely scream, ‘but what is the point?!’ And that’s the beauty of books. They mean something different to everyone, and those of you who do pick this one up, I hope you have a good a time with it as I did, if not better! I think were I more familiar with some of the cultural topics referenced (Pessoa, Borges, Proust) I would have got even more out of it than I already did. Certainly one to revisit and enjoy all over again!
I’ll be (im)patiently waiting for the next Brenda Lozano to be translated!