Downtown Owl: A Novel

Downtown Owl: A Novel

Chuck Klosterman

Language: English

Pages: 275

ISBN: 1416544194

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


New York Times bestselling author and “oneofAmerica’stop 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 unex- pected 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).

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Eighty-Four kept ramming home was that Big Brother knew everything about everyone, and everyone just accepted this as part of being alive. No shit! How was this remotely different from reality? Everyone in Owl knew Laidlaw had impregnated Tina McAndrew. Everyone. Everyone knew they were having sex, and some people even knew where they were having sex. Everyone knew that Bull Calf Decker was afraid to shower without wearing his eyeglasses. Everyone knew that Vickie Vanderson once received

any normal being, Horace still got tired; Horace still needed to go to bed every night. But whenever he tried, he was buried by an avalanche of guilt. He had terrifying dreams that he could not remember. More problematic was the idea of Alma wandering the house alone, bumping into bookshelves and arguing with the sewing machine. They never turned off any lights in any room, ever. They lived in a state of perpetual noon. “Horace,” Alma said in April, “you have to plow the fields. You have to get

Darcy pantsless for the first time, the whole community looked at him as though he were a vampire. They could see the blood on his fangs. But he also noticed something else: That recognition didn’t seem to matter. Nobody did anything. They knew about it, and they whispered about it, and they thought it was terrible. But that was as far as it went. People may have liked him less, but they treated him exactly the same. Compared to Williston, Owl was easy. In fact, he almost missed the rush of

being British.] Orwell wanted to warn us about the government taking away our freedom and turning us into human robots who will believe whatever we are told, even if what we are told is oppressive and cruel in an illegal way. Question 2: Who is “Winston”? What qualities define his personality? Compare and contrast those qualities with the characteristics of “Julia” and “O’Brien.” [Winston is the main character in the book and Laidlaw loves this book, so Laidlaw must believe he and Winston are

again—he could not be positive. We all believe that we are a certain kind of person, but we never know until we do something that proves otherwise, or until we die. His pickup was running out of fuel. The engine was knocking. It was operating on fumes. Every time Horace turned off the motor to conserve the remnants of gasoline, he feared it would be impossible to restart. It was dark out. It was very dark out. The wind was not decreasing. Sometimes the howl would momentarily relax, but then

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