KILLING YOURSELF TO LIVE: 85% Of A True Story by Chuck Klosterman (Simon & Shuster), 241 pages, $27.60 cloth. Rating: NNNNN
In his third book, Killing Yourself To Live, Chuck Klosterman sets off on a trip across the U.S. of A in search of famous rock 'n' roll death landmarks.
He craftily apologizes for his somewhat underdeveloped thesis and reliance on self-indulgent, postmodern self-awareness, which is a rather self-aware, self-indulgent and postmodern way of doing things if you ask me.
It's true Klosterman does digress, spending an awful lot of time writing about himself and his relationships. But his insights - whether they're about himself or Jeff Buckley - are written in an unchallenging, unpretentious, colloquial style and are riveting and poignant, both side-splitting and stirring.
He makes no apologies for seeing everything through the lens of pop culture and makes you believe there's no other way of understanding the world.
He wonders if death wasn't the best thing to happen to some musicians' careers, like Buckley's - a seemingly glib point of discussion but only if you're too shallow and reactionary to look beyond its surface.
Klosterman's astute observations about the pathetic cult of cool and its impact on pop culture, and vice versa, are dead on and wickedly comforting for those of us who've always felt like we were on the outside of it - even if I do suspect that said cult doesn't really exist and is actually a fabrication of the insecure minds of the uncool.
And I love that because I don't understand cool people. But this I understand. Totally.