Chuck Klosterman’s second novel, The Visible Man (Scribner, $25), is half science-fiction thriller and half cultural satire. It tells the story of Victoria Vick, a psychotherapist, and Y__, a patient who has developed a cloak that renders him invisible. In their sessions, Y__ recounts how he has observed people when they think they’re alone—he believes these observations reveal something essential about humanity. Victoria becomes infatuated with Y___, a genius and real-life Invisible Man, and works to unravel the mystery of his inner life. Is he a scientist doing important research that blurs a moral line, or is he a sick voyeur with a high IQ and an invisibility cloak? Klosterman uses his trademark wit to comment on the personal disconnect in the digital age via Y__’s many monologues, yet the book’s strength comes from Y__’s very unreliability. In the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut, Klosterman uses the fantastic not as a means to escape reality, but as a way to face it head on.
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