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 police why he told the employee of his local bodega that his colleague looked like the lead singer of Depeche Mode, a statement that may or may not have led in some way to a violent crime.
A college professor discusses with his friend his difficulties with the new generation of students. An obscure power pop band wrestles with its newfound fame when its song "Blizzard of Summer" becomes an anthem for white supremacists. A couple considers getting a medical procedure that will transfer the pain of childbirth from the woman to her husband. A woman interviews a hit man about killing her husband but is shocked by the method he proposes.
A man is recruited to join a secret government research team investigating why coin flips are no longer exactly 50/50. A man sees a whale struck by lightning and knows that everything about his life has to change. A lawyer grapples with the unintended side effects of a veterinarian's rabies vaccination.
Fair warning: Raised in Captivity does not slot into a smooth preexisting groove. If Saul Steinberg and Italo Calvino had adopted a child from a Romanian orphanage and raised him on Gary Larsen and Thomas Bernhard, he would still be nothing like Chuck Klosterman. They might be good company, though.
Funny, wise and weird in equal measure, Raised in Captivity bids fair to be one of the most original and exciting story collections in recent memory, a fever graph of our deepest unvoiced hopes, fears and preoccupations. Ceaselessly inventive, hostile to corniness in all its forms, and mean only to the things that really deserve it, it marks a cosmic leap forward for one of our most consistently interesting writers.
Read by Chuck Klosterman, James Urbaniak, Bill Wise, Eddie Huang, Jon Wurster, H. Jon Benjamin, Jon Dolan, Mike Birbiglia, Kurt Loder, John Hodgman, Sloane Crosley, Chris Gethard, Will Brill, Dennis Boutsikaris, Melissa Maerz, Jeremy Bobb, Scott Shepherd, Brent Musburger, and Vincent Kartheiser.
“A multitude of clever scenarios. . . . In these 34 stories, most featuring a hilarious denouement, [Klosterman] takes on racism, diets, cults, white privilege, and life with Trump as president. . . . No matter the topic, Klosterman’s gimlet eye and trenchant prose bedazzle.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Klosterman, one the most distinctive contemporary writers of nonfiction and fiction, presents a collection of very short stories . . . a delightful grab-bag of ideas, characters, and fantastical plots, all in prose that jumps off the page. . . . [T]hese vignettes, often with Twilight Zone- or Black Mirror-like premises, are both profoundly weird and weirdly profound. . . . [Raised in Captivity] is moving, funny, and ceaselessly entertaining.” (Booklist)
“Acidly funny. . . . Armed with everything from existential crises to a robot dinosaur, there’s really something for everyone in this crisp collection of imaginative snippets. A colorful, somewhat wicked collection of stories that are touching as often as they are laugh-out-loud funny.” (Kirkus Reviews)