Downtown Owl: A Novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
September 2008
8 hours 47 minutes
New York Times bestselling author of The Nineties and “one of America’s top cultural critics” (Entertainment Weekly) Chuck Klosterman’s debut novel brilliantly captures the charm and dread of small-town life—soon to be a major motion picture starring Ed Harris, Vanessa Hudgens, and Henry Golding!

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 unexpected 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 profound” (Publishers Weekly).
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I was enjoying this book and the development of the characters. I liked the way the author has a tendency to weave 80's music references into the story line and the " she said/she meant" dialogue that holds so much truth in the way people communicate, although the narrator who read that dialogue could have done a better job inflecting the dialogue lead-ins. I didn’t like the way the book ends "undone." Other than the climatic event at the end, there is no follow-through. It just ends as though all of the well-developed characters just hit a brick wall and remained that way. Downtown Owl is a very interesting book. But be prepared; just as with other owls, this book will sit patiently still and let you study it until you are fully engrossed in the story. Then suddenly, in a gust of cold wind, Downtown Owl takes flight into the night, leaving your curiosity unfulfilled. When that happens, be prepared to journal your own ending in a way that is meaningful to you.

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This book was extremely shallow with a very uneccessary(to the plot) and graphic description of animal cruelty. Readers and listeners, stay away.

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I enjoyed listening to this book. However, the characters were very unsympathetic at times. The shades of grey, in the character studies, nevertheless, was intriguing. Some of the descriptors in the book were unforgettable. Klosterman has a gift for phrasing.

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Good book, funny, kept me sitting in my car. I did not like the ending. Too vague.

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