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. He appears Tuesday at Booksmith.
It's part of a book tour promoting the release of his second novel, The Visible Man. One very unusual thing about this novel? It has a video trailer. You'll see it in the clip above -- it looks like a movie trailer. The story itself is far more unusual: It's about a therapist's relationship with 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.
Chuck Klosterman appears at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 11) at the Booksmith, 1644 Haight (at Belvedere), S.F. Admission is free.