New York Times bestselling author and “oneofAmerica’stop cultural critics” (Entertainment Weekly) Chuck Klosterman’s debut novel brilliantly captures the charm and dread of small town life—now available in trade paperback. Somewhere in rural North Dakota, there is a fictional town called Owl. They don’t have cable. They don’t really have pop culture, but they do have grain prices and alcoholism. People work hard and then they die. 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. A history teacher, she gets free booze and falls in love with a self-loathing bison farmer. Widower and local conversationalist Horace Jones has resided in Owl for seventy-three years. They all know each other completely, except that they’ve never met. But when a deadly blizzard— based on an actual storm that occurred in 1984—hits the area, their lives are derailed in unex- pected and powerful ways. An unpretentious, darkly comedic story of how it feels to exist in a community where local mythology and violent reality are pretty much the same thing, Downtown Owl is “a satisfying character study and strikes a perfect balance between the funny and the pro- found” (Publishers Weekly).
reminds me of home
As a ND native, I could relate a lot to the storyline. The way legends are portrayed, and how personal business is everyone's business is very acurately writen. May not be the most exciting plot, but I don't believe it was meant to be written that way. It's just not the way North Dakotans (especially outside of Fargo, Bismarck, and Grand Forks) live. Also love his pop culture interjections.
Another gem from Chuck...
This is a fabulous book, full of the same wit, humor, and keen awareness that CK uses in his non-fiction. It reads, like his other books, seamlessly and energetically, and, since it is set in a town simillar to which he grew up, his detailed description of small town life in North Dakota fascinated someone like me (a Californian). If you are looking for a life-changer, this isn't it. If you want to laugh and be sucked into a book, Downtown Owl definatley works.
Chuck Klosterman delves into the lives of three small-town residents to demonstrate the hauntingly humorous malaise of general existence. Great narration, especially by Phillip Baker Hall.