The Visible Smart-Aleck

It’s rare to have a middling opinion of Chuck Klosterman. Among the New York City literati, among whom he once stood as pre-eminent cultural critic, Klosterman has become something of a pariah for his contrarian take on media in the post-Gawker age. To the frustration of his detractors, Klosterman remains a moving target, evolving from a smart-ass 1990s pop-culture critic into a probing personal essayist, cantankerous sports pundit, and part-time novelist. It’s the latter role he inhabits on this book tour promoting the release of his second novel, The Visible Man, the story of a therapist’s relationship with an unusual patient — an invisible man who sneaks into the homes of strangers to observe what they do when they’re all alone. Klosterman explores a number of themes that will be familiar to longtime readers: the pervasive influence of pop culture, the malleability of identity, and the psychological wormholes of the solitary life. His debut novel, Downtown Owl, was one of 2008’s genuine literary surprises, a rare example of a skilled critic and essayist successfully transitioning to fiction. Whether you admire him, despise him, or are one of the few cultural omnivores who doesn’t give a damn, Klosterman’s sharp wit and restless mind ensure his work is always worthy of attention.
Tue., Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m., 2011

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