Loop's Progress

Chuck Rosenthal, Author George Weidenfeld & Nicholson $14.95 (233p) ISBN 978-1-55584-001-3
Rosenthal makes a brave debut in this original novel. A family history set in the 1940s and '50s in a deteriorating neighborhood in Erie, Pa., the book is narrated by Jarvis Loop Jr. in a veritably loopy, roundabout manner. His father, Red, is a larger-than-life working man with both a violent and a soft streakhe fears nothing and terrorizes his family and his neighbors out of contrariness. Jarvis's mother has retreated into a confused religious fanaticism, while other assorted family members discover their own forms of escape from the ghetto. Jarvis's voice is acerbically funny; like a slow-acting acid, the humor comes first, the pain of disintegration second. At times hard to follow because it skips around chronologically, this novel will leave a mark; the characters are toughly philosophical and memorable. And Rosenthal hasn't closed off his loop; he is at work on a sequel, which will with luck make things clearer, or perhaps, as he intends, still more provocatively confused. (October)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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