[ KINDLE ] ❁ Downtown Owl Author Chuck Klosterman – Tkcleaningservices.co.uk

Downtown Owl Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter.com I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted here illegally Regular readers might be confused at first over why I found Downtown Owl, the debut novel by famed Generation X memoirist Chuck Klosterman, so incredibly terrible, given how many tropes it shares with CCLaP Publishing s first original book, Ben Tanzer s 2008 Repetition Patterns after all, both are e Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter.com I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted here illegally Regular readers might be confused at first over why I found Downtown Owl, the debut novel by famed Generation X memoirist Chuck Klosterman, so incredibly terrible, given how many tropes it shares with CCLaP Publishing s first original book, Ben Tanzer s 2008 Repetition Patterns after all, both are essentially collections of related stories, both of them orientedtowards character development than plot, both concerning the blue collar citizens of a small industrial town in the rural US, both heavily informed by the events that happen to these characters in the Reagan obsessed, pop culture happy early 1980s But see, this gets into something I talk about on a regular basis here, that for every general problem in literature that I rail against over and over at CCLaP, there are always exceptions that I end up loving, and that the differences between the two can oftentimes be surprisingly subtle ones in this case, for example, even while sharing many of the same surface level details, the reason I ultimately liked and signed Tanzer s manuscript was that at least he comes to a resolution concerning the situations his characters find themselves in even if in some stories it s a very quiet one , proof that his lovable losers have grown or at least changed by the end, and thus that there was a reason for us to read the story in the first place Klosterman, however, provides no such thing for his own 270 page masturbation session, turning in instead essentially a series of hacky Keilloresque go nowhere character sketches with no natural story arc at all, doubly damning here because of the characters not being very interesting in the first place a group of old men who sit around a diner each day debating conservative politics a 23 year old elementary school teacher who promptly becomes a miserable alcoholic the moment she arrives at this barely existing North Dakota village and a dozencharacters who make us think by the end, Why again am I supposed to care about the fates of any of these mouth breathers.And if this wasn t enough, Klosterman then tacks on one of the most hackneyed, ridiculously arbitrary endings I ve ever seen in contemporary literature, literally the meteorological equivalent of saying, Then a space alien showed up and killed them all with a giant laser ray, the kind of immature mess you d usually expect from some 15 year old who s suddenly gotten to the end of their creative writing homework and doesn t know how to end it But even with all this, there s still yet another problem with this book even worse than the ones already mentioned, summed up succinctly in the following plea I have for Klosterman if he is to ever one day stumble across this reviewahemF CKING ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE ENDLESS GODD MN REFERENCES TO EMPTY SH TTY 80S POP CULTURE, SERIOUSLY YOU F CKING GEN X HACK, STOP IT STOP IT ENOUGH F CK YOU ENOUGH, F CK YOU F CK YOU STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP F CK YOU STOP The older I get, theI come to understand just how ashamed of ourselves we all should be for letting postmodernism devolve to the nadir it became by the 1990s, where we as a society seemed to suddenly believe that giant lists of band names and television shows somehow were an adequate substitute for actual insight, for actual storytelling craft and while I still believe in the power of occasional pop culture references in literature, especially when it s done to make a bigger metaphorical point for example, see the Repetition Patterns story Pac Man Fever, which turns out to not really be about Pac Man at all , I absolutely can no longer condone the mere mentioning of post Vietnam consumerist items just for the sake of mentioning them, for example in the unbelievable 64 mentions in just the first 50 pages of this particular book and yes, I literally sat and counted, and yes, I did so because I knew you wouldn t believe me otherwise.Klosterman can be forgiven for the four pop culture infused nonfiction memoirs he wrote before this first novel of his, because of them coming out during the years when we were all under this cultural spell including myself I was as guilty of worshipping empty pop culture in the 90s as everyone else but Downtown Owl just came out in 2008, long past the time that we ve discovered late postmodernism to be the elaborate intellectual con game it actually is I refuse to have anythingto do with PoMo trainwrecks like these in the Sincerist Obamian Age we now live in, and everyone involved with this book should be ashamed of themselves, for putting so much money and promotion behind such a badly erring reflection of our current zeitgeist.Out of 10 2.8 This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Maybe I had low expectations, maybe I really like Chuck Klosterman, maybe it was the right book to read on the way to and from a memorial service in two sittings on public transportation regardless, I did really like the book I previously posted I was worried about the reference to Friday Night Lights on the back, but it s close Of course, North Dakota isn t Texas, and there s a lot less football even though FNL is only incidentally about football Don t read it if you re expecting some ep Maybe I had low expectations, maybe I really like Chuck Klosterman, maybe it was the right book to read on the way to and from a memorial service in two sittings on public transportation regardless, I did really like the book I previously posted I was worried about the reference to Friday Night Lights on the back, but it s close Of course, North Dakota isn t Texas, and there s a lot less football even though FNL is only incidentally about football Don t read it if you re expecting some epic plot to come out and hit you in the face It sFNL Season 1 a quiet portrait of a town that hasn t changed at all than FNL Season 2 in which Landry kills someone And you know what It s a good choice.I only hesitated from giving the book 5 stars because I got really angry not knowingof the reaction post blizzard, especially concerning Mitch and Julia And also not knowingabout Laidlaw In a Pop Matters interview Chuck Klosterman says, It was harder to write fiction, but maybe that was only because I d never done it before I can t remember if writing Fargo Rock City was hard or easy The fact that he s never written fiction before is painfully, achingly, stupefyingly, annoyingly obvious First, there is the problem with the adverbs, which I won t go into again.To start off Klosterman can t even answer the question of who is telling this story, one of the main tenets of all fi In a Pop Matters interview Chuck Klosterman says, It was harder to write fiction, but maybe that was only because I d never done it before I can t remember if writing Fargo Rock City was hard or easy The fact that he s never written fiction before is painfully, achingly, stupefyingly, annoyingly obvious First, there is the problem with the adverbs, which I won t go into again.To start off Klosterman can t even answer the question of who is telling this story, one of the main tenets of all fiction, even the most experimental My best guess, after finishing the book, is that it s Chuck Klosterman himself The mystery narrator seems to have all of Klosterman s patented schtick down There s tons of weird lists, parenthetical asides, pop culture references coming at you a mile a minute, lots of repetition to really make his point in case you missed it the first three times Sounds like Klosterman, right Read the rest Chuck Klosterman is adorable and thus we fell in love and made casual small talk one day about a year ago when he came in to sign books Now we live together Except, you know, he s a book on the shelf and I m a real live girl.I think, perhaps, had I read this several years ago, it would have been The Best Book I ve Ever Read However, Douglas Coupland got to the several years ago me first and so I spent the course of Downtown Owl looking for the Canada references There aren t any But explain Chuck Klosterman is adorable and thus we fell in love and made casual small talk one day about a year ago when he came in to sign books Now we live together Except, you know, he s a book on the shelf and I m a real live girl.I think, perhaps, had I read this several years ago, it would have been The Best Book I ve Ever Read However, Douglas Coupland got to the several years ago me first and so I spent the course of Downtown Owl looking for the Canada references There aren t any But explain the difference between Canada and North Dakota to me in a meaningful way and I ll give you five dollars That s not to say I didn t like it, but I think I ve read it before There were parts I loved and parts that seemed like silly writing exercises to amuse himself. If you ve never read Klosterman, DOWNTOWN OWL is a good one to start with I loved the characters in Owl, North Dakota and also the way the author chronicles the book through dates and times I grew up in a town of 1,000 people, so maybe I just identify , but this was a fabulous story. Loved it Klosterman is a genius and I ll read anything he writes he s so clever and writes in such a conversational way It s easy to get into the rhythmn of his writing and I enjoy every page In this book, he tells the story of a tiny town called Owl that s hit by a monster blizzard The blizzard doesn t even happen until the last few pages but every page leading up to it is a pleasure The surprising creepy ending kept me thinking about it for daysFavorite Passage Why do we get out of b Loved it Klosterman is a genius and I ll read anything he writes he s so clever and writes in such a conversational way It s easy to get into the rhythmn of his writing and I enjoy every page In this book, he tells the story of a tiny town called Owl that s hit by a monster blizzard The blizzard doesn t even happen until the last few pages but every page leading up to it is a pleasure The surprising creepy ending kept me thinking about it for daysFavorite Passage Why do we get out of bed Mitch wondered Is there any feeling better than being in bed What could possibly feel better than this What is going to happen in the course of my day that will be an improvement over lying on something very soft, underneath something very warm, wearing only underwear, doing absolutely nothing, all by myself Every day, Mitch awoke to this line reasoning Every day, the first move he made outside his sheets immediately destroyed the only flawless part of his existence He could still remember the spring of 1978, when he along with over half of his fifth grade classmates contracted mononucleosis It was the best month of his life Not sure what to say about this one Written as a series of vignettes about the denizens of rural Owl, North Dakota population 800ish , it presents a humorous and in my experience pretty accurate portrayal of small town living where everyone knows everyone and often their entire history , everyone knows everyone else s business there are few secrets , and everyone thinks everyone else is kind of an idiot most are , but they love them anyway and are willing to tolerate even the most outrageou Not sure what to say about this one Written as a series of vignettes about the denizens of rural Owl, North Dakota population 800ish , it presents a humorous and in my experience pretty accurate portrayal of small town living where everyone knows everyone and often their entire history , everyone knows everyone else s business there are few secrets , and everyone thinks everyone else is kind of an idiot most are , but they love them anyway and are willing to tolerate even the most outrageous character defects in service of peace and unity in the case of Owl a head football coach who repeatedly impregnates the school s cheerleaders.Klosterman clearly has great fondness for the region and writes some interesting characterizations My favorite For most of his youth, Horace had believed in destiny He believed it was his destiny to fight in a war But this was not some romantic, self destructive fantasy he did not believe it was his destiny to fight and die He believed it was his destiny to fight and live He believed it was his destiny to kill faceless foreigners for complex reasons that were beyond his control, and to deeply question the meaning of those murders, and to kill despite those questions, and to eventually understand the meaning of his own life through the battlefield executions of total strangers Unfortunately, Horace had been born in December of 1910, a terrible year for anyone who hoped to experience militaristic calamity To young for WWI and to old for WWII and later wars Owl I think aspires to be a North Dakota version of Richard Russo s Empire Falls or perhaps a North Dakota version of the early 1990 s sitcom Northern Exposure It s not up to the first because Russo is simply a much better writer, always invested in his characters they are friend, family Klosterman s writes his characters asnovelties to be observed Northern Exposure is a better comparison but Owl just isn t funny enough to be a comedy It s not bad for what it is, but overall it s just o.k On my buy, borrow, skip scale a weak borrow Ok, I just finished Downtown Owl A few thoughts 1 I realize slamming Klosterman is fashionable, but I liked this book, esp the first 250 pages, quite a bit However, it s important to note that Klosterman loves North Dakota and parts of Downtown Owl read like mash notes to the author s home state You could see him sitting in a bar saying, Wasn t growing up in North Dakota weird, even if we didn t know it at the time But still, I can t complain 2 I laughed out loud at least ten times whi Ok, I just finished Downtown Owl A few thoughts 1 I realize slamming Klosterman is fashionable, but I liked this book, esp the first 250 pages, quite a bit However, it s important to note that Klosterman loves North Dakota and parts of Downtown Owl read like mash notes to the author s home state You could see him sitting in a bar saying, Wasn t growing up in North Dakota weird, even if we didn t know it at the time But still, I can t complain 2 I laughed out loud at least ten times while reading this book Most of the laughter took place in the first 100 hundred pages.3 The interlocking stories strategy works pretty well, although I felt like Julia s character was the least developed She could have usedweight However, Klosterman sinsightful, esp with minute by minute thought processes, than a reader of his other work might imagine it s hard to get the author s other books out of your mind when reading Downtown Owl.4 Part of that is Klosterman s fault He writes like Klosterman, if you know what I mean, even when different characters are speaking.5 The last thirty or so pages were really weird I m not sure if the ending was necessary I m curious as to what others will think Still, I don t regret reading this book for one minute If you re a Klosterman fan you ll recognize some of his consistent talent in Downtown Owl and heck, it s a quick read Snag the book from the library and give it a shot You don t have anything to lose 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 PerfectMitch 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 MetLike 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 Timebut 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 Is How You Ask The Question


About the Author: Chuck Klosterman

Charles John Chuck Klosterman is an American pop culture journalist, critic, humorist, and essayist He was raised on a farm near Wyndmere, North Dakota and graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1994 After college he was a journalist in Fargo, North Dakota and later an arts critic for the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio, before moving to New York City in 2002.


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