Saturday, December 28, 2013

Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman

Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman

Downtown Owl introduces us to a small handful of residents of Owl, North Dakota, population 800, in the late fall of 1983. Mitch, Zebra, and their friends are juniors in high school. Julia is a history teacher and a transplant from Milwaukee. Horace is an old man. They intersect in a way that is more remniscient of Richard Russo than anything else Klosterman has written. While some of the dialog and banter might remind dedicated readers of his other work, and while the occasional bit of clever pop-culture criticism sneaks in, this is generally a novel of very mild comedy, limited insight, and only marginally successful attempts at pathos.

I think Klosterman is fantastic, and I've enjoyed everything he's written. But his novels are his weakest stuff, and this is the weaker of the two.

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