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The Visible Man

The Visible Man

A Novel

  • reading group guide
New York Times bestselling author of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and Downtown Owl, “the Ethicist” of the New York Times Magazine, Chuck Klosterman returns to fiction with his second novel—an imaginative page-turner about a therapist and her unusual patient, a man who can render himself invisible.

Therapist Victoria Vick is contacted by a cryptic, unlikable man who insists his situation is unique and unfathomable. As he slowly reveals himself, Vick becomes convinced that he suffers from a complex set of delusions: Y__, as she refers to him, claims to be a scientist who has stolen cloaking technology from an aborted government project in order to render himself nearly invisible. He says he uses this ability to observe random individuals within their daily lives, usually when they are alone and vulnerable. Unsure of his motives or honesty, Vick becomes obsessed with her patient and the disclosure of his increasingly bizarre and disturbing tales. Over time, it threatens her career, her marriage, and her own identity.

Interspersed with notes, correspondence, and transcriptions that catalog a relationship based on curiosity and fear, The Visible Man touches on all of Chuck Klosterman’s favorite themes—the consequence of culture, the influence of media, the complexity of voyeurism, and the existential contradiction of normalcy. Is this comedy, criticism, or horror? Not even Y__ seems to know for sure.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439184479 | 
  • June 2012
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Charlotte, Alone

Description: Charlotte considers her goldfish. What do you do when you’re alone? What if someone is watching? Read Chuck Klosterman's new novel, THE VISIBLE MAN. [Video directed by Josh Hegard and produced by Dirty Robb...

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I was physically introduced to Y____ in the most standard of ways: There was a knock at my office door, and I told the knocker to enter. The entrance swung open and a man stepped into the room. I knew who he was before he told me. There were no surprises.

He was a man. A strange-looking man, but nothing more.

He was tall and he was thin. Cadaverous. Perhaps six feet five or six feet six, but no more than 175 pounds. His head was a skull on a stick; it was shaved to the skin, but I could see a subtle shadow where his hair would sprout. The hairline was receding. He wore an oversized black T-shirt, khaki pants, and garish white tennis... see more

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Visible Man includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book


When therapist Victoria Vick initially assesses her new patient, whom she refers to as “Y_”, she believes that he suffers from a complex set of delusions, revealed to her through his cryptic, capricious behavior. Patient Y_ soon proves to be a truly special case, however, when he confronts her with the unimaginable. A scientist who has been using cloaking technology from an aborted government project to render himself nearly invisible, Y_ uses this ability to observe individuals in their daily lives, usually while they are otherwise alone. Ultimately, Victoria becomes obsessed with her patient and his disclosure of increasingly bizarre and disturbing tales. As a result, Victoria’s interactions with Y_ threaten her career, her marriage, and her well-being. The Visible Man is narrated with a series of notes, correspondence, and transcriptions that catalog a relationship based on uncertainty, curiosity, and fear. The novel explores everything from the influence of media and pop culture, to the implications of science, to issues of voyeurism, normalcy, and see more

About the Author

Chuck Klosterman
Photo by Kris Drake

Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman is the New York Times bestselling author of seven previous books, including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs; Eating the Dinosaur; Killing Yourself to Live; and The Visible Man. His debut book, Fargo Rock City, was the winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award. He has written for GQ, Esquire, Spin, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Believer, and The Onion A.V. Club. He currently serves as “The Ethicist” for the New York Times Magazine and writes about sports and popular culture for ESPN.




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