An UPI news release dated February 5, 1984 about a killer blizzard in North Dakota sets the stage for Chuck Klosterman's Downtown Owl*, but fails to prepare the readers for its emotional heft as they weather the storm's wrath with the three main characters - all residents of a sleepy little town named Owl. Mitch Hrlicka is a laid-back high school football player; Julia Rabia, a newcomer partial to booze and a buffalo farmer; and old Horace Jones, a widower full of regrets.
Klosterman, an idiosyncratic pop-culture commentator on rock music and sports, and author of several nonfiction titles, proves to have a superb ear for dialogue. His fiction debut is a satisfying character study and "strikes a perfect balance between the funny and the profound".~Publishers Weekly.
No doubt, Klosterman devotees would want to check out this "unpretentious, darkly comic story" but fans of the Coen Borthers, and especially Fargo, would likely find the comparison apt and inevitable.
Mr. Klosterman will be reading and signing at Downtown Borders on September 17, @ 7 p.m.
* = Starred Review