While still best known as a pop-culture pundit with roots in the prairie, North Dakota native Chuck Klosterman has been gradually increasing the scope of his writing for a number of years now. His byline these days attaches itself to a range of work far wider than the usual rock-critic terrain; he recently joined ESPN's sports culture spin-off site Grantland as a consulting editor, and last year brought his critical braininess to bear on a set of conversation-sparking playing cards (Hypertheticals: 50 Questions for Insane Conversations). Now comes The Visible Man (Simon & Schuster), Klosterman's second novel, and a stark departure from his previous foray into fiction, 2008's rural character study Downtown Owl. While the '80s-set Downtown was clearly informed by his small-town origins, The Visible Man's sci-fi storyline chronicles the turbulent relationship between Austin, Texas, psychologist Victoria Vick and her patient/psychological tormentor known only by the pseudonym Y___, a renegade scientist with a cloaking device that renders him nearly undetectable to the naked eye. The plot may be paranormal, but Klosterman's still writing what he knows, managing to weave plenty of quirky commentary on the nature of public and private identity into his taut tale. The author reads from his work tonight, with a discussion led by the Current's morning DJ Steve Seel to follow.
Tue., Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m., 2011