Downtown Owl

Downtown Owl

Book - 2008
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New York Times bestselling author and "one of America's top 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 unexpected 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).
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2008.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781416544197
Branch Call Number: KLO
Characteristics: 275 pages ; 23 cm


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Dec 12, 2014

Really interesting book with well-written characters and an ending that left me stunned. Would highly recommend if you're looking for something different, something that doesn't follow the standard formula.

WVMLStaffPicks Oct 26, 2014

Esteemed pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman’s first novel follows the lives of Mitch (a high school student), Julia (a young teacher) and Horace (an old man) in the tiny and fictional town of Owl, North Dakota. Set in the mid-1980s, the novel presents rural American life from three very different perspectives and is at once hilarious and thoughtful.

diesellibrarian Nov 16, 2010

A surprisingly competent debut novel from one of my favourite rock n' roll writers. Klosterman's obsession with music comes through a little too strongly at times, but other than that, it works well. A genuine pathos emerges as the novel takes a surprise twist toward then end. A nice take on the randomness of this life that we sometimes take too seriously.

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