Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Book I Read: Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman

What is it?: The first novel by journalist Chuck Klosterman, whose work you've probably read in Spin, Esquire, and other publications.

What that means: Klosterman is attempting to make his reference-laden, hyper-ironic style work in a work of fiction.

What's it about?: The residents of a small town called Owl, North Dakota, where the main activities seem to drinking, driving around, talking about high school football, and drinking coffee. Each of these activities is central to at least one of the books multiple protagonists.

Why that's important: Klosterman grew up in North Dakota and wrote about his life in the state in his nonfiction book Fargo Rock City.

Is there a plot?: Sort of. Each chapter follows one of three main characters. New high school teacher Julia learns that there isn't much to do in Owl besides hang out in bars and get asked out by men. Mitch wanders through his high school days fantasizing about killing his football coach. Widower Horace spends his days drinking coffee with friends and remembering his late wife.

Why did I say "sort of"?: Once each character is introduced nobody really changes.

Could that possibly be the point?: You betcha.

Why are you writing the post this way?: I'm aping Klosterman's style. See Page 112.

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