Novel Flipping the Bird

Novel Flipping the Bird
With his first novel, pop culture analyst/music writer Chuck Klosterman divides his trivial interests between characters struggling with abject normalcy in the fictional void that is Downtown Owl. Set in helplessly paranoid, Reagan-era North Dakota, the book follows three protagonists: Mitch Hrlicka, an average high school quarterback who daydreams about humiliating his pedophiliac coach/English teacher; new Owl resident/teacher Julia Rabia, who boozes with colleagues she doesn’t like before falling for a celebrated local; and Horace Jones, a widowed senior wasting his days in a greasy spoon with oddball, opinionated contemporaries. A frequent tension within Klosterman’s work is his initiation of one-sided arguments, while subtly acknowledging that said socio-cultural discussions are ultimately meaningless. Downtown Owl sheds more light upon Klosterman’s neurotic, existential quagmire, as he strings readers along with profane charm before nihilistically demonstrating how these lives of ours weren’t engineered for happy endings.