Downtown Owl

  • by Chuck Klosterman
  • Narrated by Phillip Baker Hall, Lily Rabe, Wiley Wiggins, Keith Nobbs, Dennis Boutsikaris
  • 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 73 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Great Listen

This book is constructed in an episodic character-centric manner. The readers are well suited to their characters and I particularly loved Philip Baker Hall...He reminded me of Eli on youtube's eli the accountant channel. Klosterman has some good insights into 80's America...it's too bad that he's about 20 years or so too late, that makes those insights seem a bit facile. Nonetheless, the story is interesting and the narration fun.
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- Harry

Fantastic and original novel

I enjoy Chuck Klosterman's essays on music and culture, but didn't know how he would do as a novelist. Each character intertwines in small town life only to reveal epiphanies that reflect the human condition. It did help that I was the same age as the characters at the same time period in the early 80s, but the story stands on its own. The narrators bring this narrative to life and give it a depth that will stay with you for some time.
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- Mark

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-16-2008
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio