Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman
A Novel

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Synopsis


New York Times Bestselling Author Chuck Klosterman's First Novel

Somewhere in North Dakota, there is a town called Owl that isn't there. Disco is over, but punk never happened. They don't have cable. They don't really have pop culture, unless you count grain prices and alcoholism. People work hard and then they die. They hate the government and impregnate teenage girls. But that's not nearly as awful as it sounds; in fact, sometimes it's perfect.

Mitch Hrlicka lives in Owl. He plays high school football and worries about his weirdness, or lack thereof. Julia Rabia just moved to Owl. She gets free booze and falls in love with a self-loathing bison farmer who listens to Goats Head Soup. Horace Jones has resided in Owl for seventy-three years. He consumes a lot of coffee, thinks about his dead wife, and understands the truth. They all know each other completely, except that they've never met.

Like a colder, Reagan-era version of The Last Picture Show fused with Friday Night Lights, Chuck Klosterman's Downtown Owl is the unpretentious, darkly comedic story of how it feels to exist in a community where rural mythology and violent reality are pretty much the same thing. Loaded with detail and unified by a (very real) blizzard, it's technically about certain people in a certain place at a certain time...but it's really about a problem. And the problem is this: What does it mean to be a normal person? And there is no answer. But in Downtown Owl, what matters more is how you ask the question.
 

About Chuck Klosterman

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Chuck Klosterman is the New York Times bestselling author of seven previous books, including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs; Eating the Dinosaur; Killing Yourself to Live; and The Visible Man. His debut book, Fargo Rock City, was the winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. He has written for GQ, Esquire, Spin, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Believer, and The Onion A.V. Club. He currently serves as “The Ethicist” for the New York Times Magazine and writes about sports and popular culture for ESPN.
 
Published September 12, 2008 by Scribner. 306 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Downtown Owl

Kirkus Reviews

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A debut novel that works better as cultural criticism than it does as fiction.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Downtown Owl: A Novel

The New York Times

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In Chuck Klosterman’s first novel: nostalgia, angst and football.

Jan 04 2009 | Read Full Review of Downtown Owl: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Four books of nonfiction (Fargo Rock City ; Klosterman IV ; etc.) and a steady magazine presence have established Klosterman as

May 05 2008 | Read Full Review of Downtown Owl: A Novel

BC Books

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If Downtown Owl isn’t the great North Dakota novel, I don’t know what is.

Nov 02 2008 | Read Full Review of Downtown Owl: A Novel

Book Reporter

Owl, North Dakota is a very small town.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Downtown Owl: A Novel

AV Club

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A pop culture writer draws on his past for a first novel.

Oct 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Downtown Owl: A Novel

AV Club

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Klosterman captures the mindset of a place where .

Oct 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Downtown Owl: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

The best thing about Chuck Klosterman's first novel, Downtown Owl, is .

Sep 12 2008 | Read Full Review of Downtown Owl: A Novel

Pajiba

Julia discovers that yes, she is the most popular girl in Owl because she’s the new girl that every bachelor in Owl wants to get his hands on, except the one she actually wants.

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Downtown Owl: A Novel

Austin Chronicle

Instead of really fleshing out these characters, Klosterman, perhaps out of habit, drops musical and cultural references throughout the book and folds in even more bizarre characters, such as the nicknamed drunkards at the local bar ("Bull Calf," "Little Stevie Horse 'n' Phone") and the lecherous...

Oct 03 2008 | Read Full Review of Downtown Owl: A Novel

Charleston City Paper

September 03, 2008 .

Sep 03 2008 | Read Full Review of Downtown Owl: A Novel

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Michael Manley 20 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 3.5 out of 5

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