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'Raised in Captivity': Inside The Daydreams Of Chuck Klosterman

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Penguin Press
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"A man sees a whale struck by lightning, and knows that everything about his life has to change." So reads the flap of Chuck Klosterman's latest bookRaised in Captivity. 

Klosterman’s mind connects dots that most of us don’t see. It’s sharp, inventive, funny, and a bit skewed. Just like his writing. From articles in the New York Times and GQ to his own best-selling non-fiction and novels, Klosterman’s voice is distinctive.

"I worry sometimes that maybe my ambition is greater than my actual ability. That maybe what I want to do, or what I envision myself doing, is one thing and then my actual skill at executing that is another. But ya gotta try..." he says.

The book is a first for Klosterman: it’s a collection of short stories. It's the first time he's written in the form since high school, but he says it was the most fun he's had writing a book since his first.

Klosterman says it took him about one year to put the book together. He spent five years collecting ideas as they came to him, saving them as notes in his phone.

The book is full of compact stories that don't include a lot of character development or plot mechanics. Klosterman likens his stories to "literary twilight zone episodes."

"The story is the idea ... The main thing you're talking about is the world that was created," he says.

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Credit Jason Booher
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Chuck Klosterman says his latest book is the most personal one he's written.

  

What about the self-proclaimed genre "fictional nonfiction?"

"This is probably the most personal book I've ever written," Klosterman says. He compares this book to his early work that is often characterized as memoir: "Those books were really about my external life ... the way I was interacting with the world. This book is about my interior life. This is what I daydream about when I'm by myself." 

Chuck Klosterman will be in Milwaukee Thursday evening at The Back Room at Colectivo to talk about Raised in Captivity.

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.