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Downtown Owl: A Novel af Chuck Klosterman
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Downtown Owl: A Novel (original 2008; udgave 2009)

af Chuck Klosterman

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9283216,777 (3.51)26
New York Times Bestselling Author Chuck Klosterman's First Novel 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 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. 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 met. Like 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 time...but 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 more is how you ask the question.… (mere)
Medlem:kregabshire
Titel:Downtown Owl: A Novel
Forfattere:Chuck Klosterman
Info:Scribner (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Downtown Owl af Chuck Klosterman (2008)

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Viser 1-5 af 31 (næste | vis alle)
Rather than getting straight to the hot new releases of every author, lately my tendency has been to start with their debut novels. This one was a little rough; although I liked the character development and the bleak setting (Klosterman grew up in a tiny isolated village like the titular location and it shows), the plot really didn't go much of anywhere until the final two chapters. Possibly a good read for a long flight, but I kept putting it down and struggled to get through it in multiple sittings. ( )
  jonerthon | Jun 5, 2020 |
My adult son was a big fan of Chuck Klosterman's Fargo: Rock City, so I thought I'd give his novel, DOWNTOWN OWL, a try. And it was a most enjoyable read. It's what I have to assume is a pretty accurate look at high school life in the early 80s (twenty-plus years after my time in those grungy halls). As far as Klosterman's take on small town life and how stultifying and soul-killing it can be, he nailed that hands down, with his portrayals of the old-timers' coffee klatsch in the local diner and the desperate drinking of younger adults in the several seedy downtown saloons. Not to mention the exaggerated importance of high school sports and the football coach with a weakness for sixteen year-old girls.

And all the high school English classes are studying Orwell's 1984 as that year is rung in by the citizens of Owl, which gives the story some minor literary undertones, something the author weaves in well.

The popular music of the era can almost be heard blasting in the backdrop of this narrative of tiny Owl, North Dakota, and the surprising and catastrophic conclusion could probably only ring true in that flat and desolate setting.

Klosterman's dialogue and inner musings by his characters - teens and adults alike - range from moving to very dark to downright hilarious. Not a book for the squeamish, certainly. Highly recommended for the forty-something former headbanger crowd.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | May 25, 2017 |
It seems like a pretty straightforward novel about small town life. Then the last few chapters derail it. I'm pretty annoyed by the ending. It was good, don't get me wrong, but I'm upset about what he does to Julia. Wtf? ( )
  staceyfronczak | Mar 12, 2017 |
It's not usually a hard question: "What are you reading about?" Most books helpfully even give you clues on the back cover, with a quick summation you can offer up. "The history of the original Dream Team in 1992." "Jonathan Franzen didn't feel like enough people were paying attention to him so he wrote the same book three times."

When I got that this time, I hesitated. "It's about ... a small town in North Dakota, I guess?" Which is true, but it's not really about the town, it's about the people. And while that seems like the same thing, it's not. You're not reading the detailed history since its founding, you're getting a small snapshot of a few lives. The best description I could come up with was, "It's the story of a small North Dakota town in the 80s. The events that happen are fairly normal for a small town, or at least that would be, individually. Your average small town would have one or zero of these events happening. That four or five of them are happening is nonsense, but that's kind of immaterial."

I am not a great person to be asking for book recommendations.

The author, Chuck Klosterman, like him or love him, studies people. Profiling, describing and intuiting their reasons for existing, most of his authorial life revolved around trying to explain someone (or a group of someones).

So you can understand why, when he's trying to set a scene, it's a bit like listening to a German opera — intellectually, you understand that it's probably very beautiful, but in the moment it sounds like large bears mating. And, given that the novel takes place in the middle of nowhere, North Dakota, it's not even a very interesting German opera (or ursine copulation, depending on where you were in the metaphor).

The first third of the book is dull. A slog. I tell you this so you can prepare for it — gird yourself, lay in provisions, whatever you need to do to get through it. Because it's worth it. I've seen the other side, and it is sublime.

Because Klosterman eventually gets around to what he does best — explaining people. These characters are so vivid their mood swings started affecting how I was doing in the real world. Their actions and reactions and emotions are authentic, to themselves and to human nature. Even the most unbelievable, freakish characters are eventually explained and vindicated, even if that explanation is completely batshit crazy.

Explaining any of the plot seems simultaneously like cheating you and utterly pointless — without the connecting web, plucking at any individual strand leaves you wanting for the whole. It's raw, it's gritty, it's real, and it's definitely worth a read. ( )
1 stem thoughtbox | May 27, 2016 |
It's okay, a little slice of life story, but it didn't have much oomph. It can't compare to his non-fiction, but it's still worth reading. If you like Tom Perotta or Jeffrey Eugenides and are looking for something similar this is a good book for you. I liked 2/3 of the end, it should have gone all the way.

Edit: After a day of reflection I think it's better than I gave it credit for. He does some nice subtle inter-weaving that took some separation to see. ( )
  rockinghorsedreams | Nov 13, 2014 |
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When Mitch Hrlicka heard that his high school football coach had gotten another teenage girl pregnant, he was forty bushels beyond bamboozled.
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New York Times Bestselling Author Chuck Klosterman's First Novel 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 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. 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 met. Like 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 time...but 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 more is how you ask the question.

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