Downtown Owl, Chuck KlostermanOn Wednesday, July 21st, Chuck Klosterman is joining Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune and Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club at the DePaul University bookstore for a panel discussion on the role of music in their work and their lives. I’ve read quite a few books by Chuck Klosterman over the past few years, most recently Killing Yourself to Live, where Klosterman travels the United States to visit a number of locations where rock stars have died. During that “epic” road trip, Klosterman pontificates at length about music. (This is not all that surprising given the premise to the piece he floated past his editor at the time.)

Downtown Owl, in contrast, is (mostly) fiction and not (directly) about music. — Although I could argue that all Klosterman writing is, in some way, about music and non-fiction.

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. 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.

Owl, small town in rural North Dakota, is home to a wide cast of nicknamed characters: a town described as a place where disco is dead but punk never happened.

As I’m reading this, I’m looking forward to meeting Klosterman and maybe — just maybe — asking him to sign my paperback copies of his books.