Monday, October 27, 2008

Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman

Klosterman, Chuck. Downtown Owl: A Novel. New York: Scribner, 2008.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Chuck Klosterman's latest book, Downtown Owl: A Novel. While I'm a HUGE fan of Klosterman's autobiographical works about his adventures as a rock journalist, I had my doubts about his foray into fiction. His most recent nonfiction book, Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas, concludes with a very short story that just didn't grab me.

Downtown Owl is a perfectly crafted apocalyptic tale about life in a small North Dakota town. Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of a different character, mainly by Mitch the introspective high school jock, Horace the widower, and Julia the new teacher in town. I was amazed by Klosterman's ability to see things through a woman's point of view. In his memoirs, he comes across as being a bit of a self-absorbed womanizer.

If you like Jancee Dunn, Nick Hornby, and Dave Eggers, you will love Chuck Klosterman. I highly recommend all of his books:

Klosterman, Chuck. Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas.
New York: Scribner, 2006.

Klosterman, Chuck. Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story. New York: Scribner, 2005.

Klosterman, Chuck. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto. New York: Scribner, 2003.