Loop's Progress by Chuck Rosenthal (Harper & Row, 1987; 233 pages)
An uproarious, hilarious, crazy, philosophical family history set in the 1940s and '50s in a decaying working-class neighborhood in Erie, Pa. This is the first book in the Loop Trilogy (followed by the equally brilliant Experiments With Life and Deaf and Loop's End). Narrated by teen-aged Jarvis Loop in a narrative that loops and winds with the elliptical, magical realistic brilliance of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the laugh-out-loud logic of John Kennedy Toole's Confederacy of Dunces, this may well be the funniest book you ever read. The cast of characters include Red, Jarvis' larger-than-life father who terrorizes his family and neighbors out of sheer contrariness; Jarvis' mother, Helen, who keeps a menagerie of religious statuary around the house; Neda, his 300-pound genius sister who devours books as fast as she does chocolate; and an entire neighborhood filled with memorable oddballs and nutjobs. This is a book that will stay with you and leave a mark.
Order this title through Interlibrary Loan: Loop's Progress
Recommended by: Greg