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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chuck Klosterman

Tonight @ Boswell Book Co., 7 p.m.

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Although trash-culture critic Chuck Klosterman’s 2004 essay collection Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs largely met with praise, works like 2006's A Decade of Curious People have experienced a more mixed reception. His latest book, Downtown Owl, provokes a rather unified critical response. While most savor the fact that Klosterman's debut novel allows the author to roam down variegated paths, many agree that his deadpan humor and cultural minutiae threaten to consume his story's plot. The book is set in a fictional town in—where else?—the author's native North Dakota, within the rather precise timeline of August 1983 to February 1984, perhaps to augment the effect of placing a magnifying glass upon small-town life in Middle America. The plot revolves around three denizens of Owl: a third-string high-school quarterback struggling with his ineptitude, a social studies teacher adrift in an aimless existence and a widowed and embittered septuagenarian.