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Summary

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.

©2019 Chuck Klosterman (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

“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)

“This is the kind of strange, sharply detailed and often slyly funny examination of cultural behavior and norms [Klosterman] does unlike anyone else.... Consider these stories the products of the kind of specific, unexpectedly divergent conversations that can come up between old friends as the hours grow late.” (Los Angeles Times

“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)

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Profile Image for Austin Pierce
  • Austin Pierce
  • 30-07-19

Two Favorite Stories: Fluke & Of Course It Is

This is an odd one. I gave up on it and came back.

Most stories involve death. Many involve suicide. They are often humorous, but bleak.

At first it felt like these lyrics:

“Cool blue reason empties on the page. Your colleagues are in prison and your enemies enraged. Cool blue reason comes into your world. There's two more dead in Texas and it's probably your girls.” - Cake

Then it felt like Black Mirror.

Then, after reading it all, I’d sum it up this way:

“And something is happening here but you don't know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?” - Bob Dylan

8 people found this helpful

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  • Philip Blackwell
  • 05-08-19

Random af, alot of ...."What?"

As an Alabama football fan I was shocked at how much I enjoyed hearing Brent musburger's voice again. Some good distractions, some what the hell did I just listen to's ...sure why not.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-11-20

Wandering Mind Fodder

The value of the book is the creation of an environment that allows your mind to wander rather than the substance of the stories themselves. Loved the degree to which I questioned me own beliefs as an outgrowth of the stories being told.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Stephanie Garrett
  • 20-01-20

Hurry up and Read

Not sure how well this book will age but it is one of the most relevant and contemporary collection-short stories. Some of them will sit with you and some you forget as you are hearing them but it leaves readers smirking, wincing, or empathizing the whole time.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Randal Hall
  • 22-07-19

Pretty Good

I prefer when Chuck reads the entire book. But most of the performances were solid.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Niels J. Rasmussen
  • 27-12-20

Really REALLY good book

I wasn't too impressed with Klosterman's other fiction, "Downtown Owl" nor "The Visible Man", but this blew me away. My only complaint is that I wish it were longer, which could be taken as praise as well I guess.
I highly recommend you check this one out.

9.5 / 10.0

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  • chris golz
  • 17-11-20

a Book that you can listen to like a record

After listening to this once through and getting lots of laughs along the way I started listening to this at night to help relax before bed, on the car on road trips, and on the background while doing chores. I also use it in my classroom with my students for inspiration and conversation.

2 people found this helpful

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  • D. R. Hooper
  • 12-08-19

Thought provoking AND utterly stupid

I love Chuck and many of his strange stories but these were all so pointless that I sighed in distress after completing almost every one of them.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Buretto
  • 28-05-21

Finding the mundane in the mundane.

If social commentary were bubble gum. Some good ideas, a few stories have potential, but eventually you end up chewing the same stale piece of gum. Absurdity for the sake of absurdity at times, no underlying theme, or heaven forbid, wit. Mostly social observations the listener wishes would go somewhere, rather than regurgitate feeble pop culture references and old worn-out tropes. Who knew listening to Morrissey was synonymous with depression? I wonder why nobody ever came up with that idea before. Not really even worth the time to be a bridge book to something better.

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  • Fernando J. Infanzon
  • 04-08-19

painfully boring...

I'm a big Klosterman fan, but this is such a boring and poorly written collection of short stories. They're neither insightful nor interesting. Unfortunately this effort was clearly mailed in.

1 person found this helpful