Chuck Klosterman, Downtown Owl

Compelling and fascinating, Chuck Klosterman’s first foray into the world of fiction is nothing short of a success. If you are a fan of Klosterman's you know him as a major contributor to some of today's top magazines or from his four books of non-fiction. If not, read Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and you’ll pretty much know everything you need to know about the guy; simply put, he is the reigning champ of American pop-culturists.

Downtown Owl is the first stab at something different for him. Despite his impressive resume of non-fiction work, this is, for all intents and purposes, a first novel by an unknown fiction author. Much like his non-fiction, Downtown Owl focuses on a declining town in North Dakota in the '80s and liberally drops an exceptional amount of references to the pop culture of the time.

Downtown Owl has the energy you would expect from a first time author, tempered by years of experience. The characters are engaging and the setting enticing to anyone who grew up in the mid-west on either side of the Canada/US border. But what makes the book most interesting is that it reads like another mid-west watershed piece: the movie Dazed and Confused. There is no discernable point to the story; it just winds about, but it is fun following the trip anyway.

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