On this Lit Show, Chuck Klosterman discusses his second novel, The Visible Man.
Victoria Vick is a therapist practicing in Austin, TX when she receives a call from a strange client, a man she refers to as “Y—.” He’s a peculiar case, brilliant and self-deprecating, cantankerous and contrite. Strangest of all, he only wants to conduct sessions by phone. Gradually, he lets on that he’s a former government scientist gone rogue, and he’s unlocked the secrets to human invisibility. He spends his days watching people, holed up in their homes, unseen, relishing the secret lives of his “targets.”
“I’ve consumed people’s lives without their consent,” Y— confesses to Vicki. She listens to him share the stories of the many human glimpses he has stolen, vacillating between horror and fascination; even as Y—’s stories become more sinister and menacing, she struggles to let go. “Would I ever have a patient this interesting again?” she asks herself. “This was like being Hitler’s therapist, or Springsteen’s, or Superman’s.”
The novel, presented as a draft manuscript of a forthcoming work, is an epistolary narrative updated for the 21st century: we learn about Vicki and Y—’s ongoing therapy through voicemails, blackberry texts, recorded transcripts, typed notes, and email. The account that unfolds is a chilling account of modern voyeurism, an exploration of the Promethean powers of technology, and an attempt to navigate the terrain between our physical and virtual selves.
Chuck Klosterman is the New York Times bestselling author of seven books, including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and Eating the Dinosaur. His debut book, Fargo Rock City, was the winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. He has written for GQ, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Spin, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Believer, A.V. Club, and ESPN, and he now writes about sports and pop culture for Grantland.com.
Chuck Klosterman will read from and discuss The Visible Man at the Iowa City Public Library on Wednesday, November 9, beginning at 7 PM.