This remarkably assured debut novel weaves a glittering narrative web that encompasses the bursting life of contemporary Chicago. Looped tells the separate stories of a diverse group of Chicagoans-black, brown and white; gay, straight and bi-as their lives unfold in diverging and (occasionally) converging ways over the course of the year 2000. The narrative is spun out of short episodes that progress week by week, each brief chapter detailing a day, an event or a moment in the lives of one of the novel's sets of primary characters. Among these are the family of a middle-class black postman whose runaway daughter has just learned she's pregnant; a gifted half-Vietnamese high-schooler whose troubled father spies on the son he abandoned years earlier; a tradition-bound Greek diner owner whose upwardly mobile daughter, embarrassed by her ethnic roots, is snarled in a loveless marriage; a gay chef whose shaky relationship is strained by the visit of his closeted lover's uncle, a Catholic priest; and the motley members of Lather Rinse Repeat, an up-and-coming band rocked by the break-up of its ambitious lead guitarist and his sexually confused songwriter-girlfriend.
Ambitious, sprawling, engrossing, multifaceted, accomplished and addictively compelling, Looped explodes with a vitality that mirrors the multicultural reality of 21st century Chicago, where the families that sustain us are more likely to be those we've created rather than those we're born to. One of the most remarkable novels of the season.