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Strange Loops

by Liz Harmer

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literary, family life
list price: $24.95
category: Fiction
published: 2022
publisher: Knopf Canada

A propulsive, darkly gripping novel about the power and paradoxes of human longing, faith, trauma and taboo, from the acclaimed author of The Amateurs, shortlisted for the Amazon First Novel Award.

A fractured portrait of a darkly riveting sibling relationship from the inside out, Strange Loops is an electrifying, intelligent and emotionally charged second novel from an award-winning young literary star on the rise.

Francine and her twin brother Philip share a powerful bond in childhood that fades as they became young adults. When Philip unexpectedly becomes intensely religious, his sister decides to join his Christian youth group and soon becomes infatuated with the youth pastor. Obsessed by this transgression and what he sees as his sister's moral impropriety, Philip eventually uncovers a dark secret that threatens to shatter his faith and estranges the two siblings for decades. Later, as an adult, even as the storm clouds of resentment and mutual betrayal between her and her brother still churn around them, Francine finds herself both stirred and alienated by her attraction to an ex-student who has recently reappeared in her life, making her feel caught in a condition of perpetual departure toward the same inevitable calamity.

Crackling with the intensity and plot twists of a dark domestic thriller but bursting with ideas and distinguished by Harmer's penetrating eye for the messiest and most meaningful human relationships--all rendered in lean, sharp pose, Strange Loops shocks, rattles, and entertains while asking vital questions about the paradoxes that make us who we are, and probes the possibility of love outside of any will to possess or be possessed.

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Contributor notes

LIZ HARMER's stories and essays have been published in The Malahat Review, PRISM, Grain, The New Quarterly, Little Brother and other journals. She has won a National Magazine Award in Personal Journalism, was longlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize and was a finalist for a Glimmer Train Prize. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. Raised in Hamilton, Ontario, she now lives with her husband and their three daughters in southern California.

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