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Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  1,680 ratings  ·  264 reviews
Microdoses of the straight dope, stories so true they had to be wrapped in fiction for our own protection, from the best-selling author of But What if We're Wrong?

A man flying first class discovers a puma in the lavatory. A new coach of a small-town Oklahoma high school football team installs an offense comprised of only one, very special, play. A man explains to the
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 16th 2019 by Penguin Press
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Sam Quixote
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Chuck Klosterman is back and hes more Klosterman-y than ever in his first collection of short stories, Raised in Captivity! Im a big fan of Chucks but this book was just... fine. There was one really good story called Of Course It Is about a man whos self-aware enough to know hes in a dream or a character in a story or in the afterlife but doesnt seem to care. It was a fun, very compelling and subversive look at the short story format, particularly Twilight Zone-type stories.

Thats not to say I
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
In his first collection of short stories, Klosterman takes the genre by its word and offers us 34 (!) really short texts, most of them build around one single idea or event that he explores with a narrative twist. Due to this concept, there is not much development and we also don't encounter elaborate poetic concepts, but the reader can always find something original and clever in those vignettes. A panther in an airplane bathroom, a medical procedure that transfers the pain of giving birth to ...more
Peter Colclasure
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I love Chuck Klosterman. His essays about music and pop culture, primarily, but I also enjoyed his first two novels. This is his first book that I didn't care for. It's advertised as fictional nonfiction, which means it's a collection of short stories that explore different ideas about reality. The problem is that they don't quite work as stories, and they don't hold interest as ideas.

As I wrote elsewhere, Stephen King is the master of premise, even if he can't always wrap that premise up in a
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I began Raised in Captivity wondering why Chuck Klosterman wrote a short story collection and found myself wondering why short fiction exists at all. After all, who really reads short stories anymore? So I came up with some pretentious theories about why people still write short fiction, putting aside the obvious answer that sometimes people just want to write short stories.

Here they are. First, writers use short stories as training to become novelists. In short fiction, writers practice
Benoit Lelièvre
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you've ever wondered what Chuck Klosterman thinks about social media, gender politics or or any other hot button topic he's been cleverly avoiding for all these years, it's all in this bad boy.

The short stories of Raised in Captivity are a lot more dense and will make you work harder than Klosterman's essays. It's perhaps the closest he's ever been to David Foster Wallace. But nonetheless, his mind is a more democratic place than Wallace's and even if he employs didactic allegories (which I
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After much thought, I feel comfortable in declaring that Klosterman is the author I most enjoy reading. Hes not my favorite writer, nor is he the best I routinely read.

This will probably change, but it will also change back the next time Chuck releases a book.

I own all of his books, and have never reread one of them. I am never tempted to do so. I feel they are perfectly consumed with one through and thoughtful reading.

I know I have written this before, but I dont know if I like what he writes
Peter Derk
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite things about Chuck Klosterman is that when he has a new book come out, he usually appears on a handful of podcasts.

Here's a quick back and forth, paraphrased, from one of those interviews:

Chuck: I was trying to write a set of stories that were exactly 1000 words apiece.

Interviewer: That sounds like a very Chuck Klosterman thing to do.

Chuck: Well, I am Chuck Klosterman.

This book seems like a departure, but it's not. Imagine the hypothetical questions from Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa
Jillian Doherty
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly effortless; if you love Chuck Klosterman - and you should :) you'll love this too!
Fresh, smart, and subjective as the author himself.

I could easily imagine each story continuing, growing, and developing as he naturally does - but I was equally content as well, which felt even better when reflecting on each story.

These rich, thoughtful, and immersive pieces are for fans of his early work, as well as new fans of intelligently witty writing.

Galley borrowed from the publisher.
Lorri Steinbacher
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you like stories that are quirky and odd but strangely relatable nonetheless, you will find everything youre looking for. If youre a Klosterman fan, this is peak Klosterman, you will find everything youre looking for.

The stories make you laugh out loud and also think, but without all that postmodernism or some other MFA nonsense that you often have to wade through in a lot of short story collections.

Full disclosure: I skipped the sports-ish one.
Jim Beatty
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was just telling your brother that his sonic aesthetics latenly promote inclusion, and recognize intersectionality, and that he decterously seized through the institutionalised facade that dictates musicians must play their own instruments and write their own material in order to galvanize relevancy.
John Lamb
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclosure: I received an ARC from Penguin House.

Each story in this collection is a brief exploration of something philosophical or thought-provoking. Some examples: A football coach who begins the season with lectures on Kierkegaard; a band is flummoxed when their innocuous power ballad becomes a white supremacist favorite; a new procedure allows pain to be transferred to the husband. You will be reminded of Etgar Keret or maybe even the films of Yorgos Lanthimos, although Kolsterman's distinct
Will Ashton
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Typically, whenever I decide to read Chuck Klosterman's non-essay related work, I know that I shouldn't expect the same high tier that I've gotten from such wonderful, formative books like Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and Fargo Rock City, both of which have played a tremendous hand in shaping the writer I am (and hope to be) today. As much as I love Klosterman, I know that fiction hasn't been his strong suit in the past, though I do appreciate that he continues to tackle it. And especially so ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I've been hearing a lot about this book lately. Some have said it's a work of quirky genius while others describe it as something more akin to mental flatulence (brain farts). I stand firmly in the middle ground but tilt more towards the latter.

There are 34 short stories in this collection, many of them just a few pages long, none over 10 or 12 pages. I found a few of them really interesting and profound. There were also a few that I found to be almost completely incoherent. The majority of the
Justin Martin
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-to-teach
I've never read a book quite like this one and neither have you: every short story in the collection is somewhere between a riddle and a thought experiment -- the characters are slight, but slight in the way a paring knife is, able to slip behind your eyeball and julienne some nerves you'd previously thought vital. What if, the collection asked, you could get over any problem in life by killing a wolf, or what if your father confessed on his deathbed he'd faked 9/11, or an entire football team's ...more
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While I usually reserve 5-stars for great works of literature, or whatever, I am giving this one 5-stars because Chuck Klosterman wrote himself out of the biggest question I had, which is how he could break away from the essay collection format without becoming boring.

His books of random essays were never going to top SD&C, even if they were technically better, and his fiction was only good when characters randomly started talking about music.

In this book, he finds a way to assert himself
Justin Brendel
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-netgalley
3.5 rounded up to 4. Thank you Netgalley for the ARC!

Chuck has the ability to weave little pieces of compelling writing that I have admired for a while now. I was hooked the first time I read "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs." There are elements of modern politics and world topics, which brings the nonfiction of the "fictional nonfiction." Each short story has great characters, plenty of musical references, and lots of Minnesota locales. Stories range from discussing that JFK knew he was going to be
Mike Ely
Dec 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Reading this book was PAINFUL!
Klosterman is one of my favorite writers but I really disliked this book. The short stories are boring, unimaginitive, or just dumb. I'm sure they threw money at Chuck to put out a futuristic fiction book, and Chuck is hoping that one of his Philip K. Dick-like ripoff stories gets picked up and made it to a movie, but seriously - READ Philip K. Dick instead. The only reason that I kept reading and finished the book was that I couldn't believe that Chuck could write
Eloise Robbertze
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Raised in Captivity by Chuck Klosterman is an eclectic collection of weird and sometimes wonderful short stories. Theres no rhyme or reason to them. Its like finding a box filled with pages and pages of scripts and trying to piece them together.

I enjoyed a few of them, their premises were intriguing. There were many that I just didnt get. I re-read a few of them to try and figure out what I missed and still missed it.

Its a critique on our (western) culture and what we do with it. Some of it is
Angus McKeogh
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Some of these were brilliant and some were just alright. Klosterman has such an unusual thought process therefore they were all engaging. All in all Id say it was a really good read, but I prefer his writing in the longer form overall. ...more
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-library-book
The only thing I didn't LOVE about this book was the stories I enjoyed the most were at the beginning. Overall, a great book.

I've loved Klosterman for years, but didn't like his fiction novel. I liked his non-fiction work and overall writing style, so went into this book with a little trepidation... The first story was my favorite, and I liked almost everything.

Some stories had clear morals or messages, others were so open ended I had to put the book down and think for awhile before moving on.
Annie McCormick
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Favorite short story from this book: Pain is a concept by which we measure our God. I enjoyed this from start to finish and loved that it was all short stories with different voices and points of view. If you enjoy Chuck Klosterman books, I would highly recommend this.
Michael Caveney
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you've liked Chuck Klosterman's other books, you're probably going to enjoy this one. Short, snappy stories that feature his particular brand of pontificating and thinking out load a bit more successfully than he's been able to execute in his other fictional works.
Kent Winward
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The world needed these Klosterman injections right now for a fresh breath of sanity.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well....add another Klosterman book on my "oh god, he is the best' shelf. Right next to all his other books.

It's weird. It's funny (I legitimately LOL'd a few times.) It's smart.

It's pure Chuck Klosterman.

Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and Chuck Klosterman for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Ben Wyman
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent read but for Klosterheads only.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took notes on my thoughts on every story in here (below for reference). My overall feeling is that it was enjoyable, but a little tedious. Every "story" (if they can be called that) is essentially Klosterman creating the perfect scenario in which to play out one of his 'Hypertheticals' that he's so good at. Some are deeper and more interesting than others, but they're all thought-provoking. That said, I'd almost rather either read him expand some of the more interesting ones ('Visible Man' is ...more
Josh Peterson
Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed quite a few chapters but Id be lying if I didnt say that this felt disjointed. Want to say I missed it being a traditional Klosterman book but does such a thing really exist? Not quite. Happy as always to read his work though. 6.5/10 ...more
Andy Ribaudo
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I love Klosterman, but generally dislike short stories. So it shouldnt be a surprise this was rated 3 stars. Some were good, some were bad, most were just ok. ...more
Sep 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Weird in a way that I sometimes found annoying. The last few stories I felt were particularly hard to read. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone but my book club.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
I gave up 80% in. This book tried way too hard to be cool and clever when it is actually just dumb and boring.
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Charles John "Chuck" Klosterman is an American pop-culture journalist, critic, humorist, and essayist. He was raised on a farm near Wyndmere, North Dakota and graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1994. After college he was a journalist in Fargo, North Dakota and later an arts critic for the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio, before moving to New York City in 2002.

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