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Rant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey Paperback – May 6, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 297 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Buster Casey, destined to live fast, die young and murder as many people as he can, is the rotten seed at the core of Palahniuk's comically nasty eighth novel (after Haunted; Lullaby; Diary; etc.). Set in a future where urbanites are segregated by strict curfews into Daytimers and Nighttimers, the narrative unfolds as an oral history comprising contradictory accounts from people who knew Buster. These include childhood friends horrified by the boy's macabre behavior (getting snakes, scorpions and spiders to bite him and induce instant erections; repeatedly infecting himself with rabies), policemen and doctors who had dealings with the rabies "superspreader"; and Party Crashers, thrill-seeking Nighttimers who turn city streets into demolition derby arenas. After liberally infecting his hometown peers with rabies, Buster hits the big city and takes up with the Party Crashers. A series of deaths lead to a police investigation of Buster (long-since known as "Rant"—the sound children make while vomiting) that peaks just as Buster apparently commits suicide in a blaze of car-crash glory. This dark religious parable (there's even a resurrection) from the master of grotesque excess may not attract new readers, but it will delight old ones. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Zombies, government conspiracies, religious epiphanies, time travel, a postmodern Typhoid Mary, and a woman who mixes thumbtacks into her cookie dough—all are fair game in Rant, Chuck Palahniuk's eighth novel. Critics agreed that Rant is vintage Palahniuk, a grim thriller ride filled with his signature black humor, withering social commentary, and stomach-churning details. Some grumbled, however, that the ideas in Rant have been recycled from previous novels, particularly Fight Club. They were also disappointed with the novel's lack of depth, distracting structure (a succession of hundreds of brief eyewitness testimonies), and underlying glorification of violence. The truth is that Palahniuk is an acquired taste. Readers either love him or leave him alone, and will judge Rant accordingly.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (May 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307275833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307275837
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Eremite VINE VOICE on May 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've heard it said that there are no new ideas left in the world. The proliferation of movie remakes, regurgitated pop music, and Danielle Steele novels certainly add to this argument. Even in "Rant," Palahniuk's latest novel, you won't see anything that hasn't already been covered by Sartre, Camus, or The Terminator. The thing about Palahniuk (and other brilliant writers like David Mitchell, Craig Clevenger, and Jonathan Lethem) is that while the message may not be all that new, the manner in which it is told is nothing short of stunning.

If you're paying close enough attention, Palahniuk gives away almost the entire story in the first four pages, and he drops plenty of hints along the way for those who still haven't caught on. "Rant" is about, alternately, an underground cult of car crashers, a rabies epidemic, the true essence of religion, and a guy named Buster Casey who is addicted to spider bites. Like his other novels, Palahniuk employs an encyclopedic knowledge of the macabre. His spare, punching prose ties together a medley of ideas and facts until what you're left with is a dizzying collage that is so kaleidoscopic, it'll probably take you three reads just to get half of what he's saying.

And he says a lot, in spite of the low page count. Some of "Rant," in fact, might feel rewarmed to the hardcore Palahniuk fan.
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Format: Hardcover
Chuck is back! I can happily and unreservedly recommend "Rant" -- to fans of Palahniuk, that is.

After "Haunted", which had many interesting moments, but which otherwise failed to really come together for me, "Rant" is a satisfying, interesting, challenging read. The narrative structure is definitely different, taking the form of transcripts from oral interviews about a character who's no longer on the stage to represent himself. As a result, what you get is a tangled projection, at times incomplete and often contradictory, of that central character, as seen through the eyes of the people who knew him. And by the way, this narrative technique subtly echoes the neural transcripts described *within* the story.

As the story progresses (NO SPOILERS), it gradually undertakes a systematic deconstruction and reconstruction of the character of Buster Casey, which continues to evolve in unexpected ways throughout. The nice thing about this process is that it makes you keep returning (in your mind) to previous points in the narrative, realizing they didn't mean quite what you thought at the time.

There's also the unique metaphor of "boosting peaks", and once you've read the book, you'll see how that metaphor applies to the perceptual process of reading Rant's story through the senses of people *other* than Rant himself. There's also the metaphor of the car salesman -- in which Wallace Boyer is essentially a representative of the author, Chuck Palahniuk, himself. Like Boyer, Palahniuk carefully, and skillfully, directs readers through a series of "control questions", "embedded commands", and "pacing", taking them exactly and only where he wants them to go.

The novel explores some big, mind-bending ideas, too, all with a vintage Palahniuk backdrop.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If this was the first Palahniuk book I ever read, 5 stars.
If it were the 9th or 10th (which it is), 4 stars.

The raw shock often associated with his books is undeniable in this one, however as a conditioned Chuck fan, I know what this man is capable of.. and this book was just a bit sub par for him.

This book lived up to my expectations of the author, but only by the skin of its teeth. True, it was entertaining & engrossing enough to keep me coming back to its pages every chance I got, and yes it had the essential never-saw-it-coming twist that Chuck is noted for.. however, the narration dragged at parts & it left questions not answered as well as in his other books; lots of loose ends were tied, but not very tightly.

The book is written in the style of an oral biography; meaning there is no one single narrator, but several different narrators who "contributed" to the "biography" -- a childhood friend, a neighbor, his parents, scholars commenting on certain theories and/or Rant's life. Every story or thought is preceded by a character's name and a colon, almost in the form of a play. I found this to be a refreshing tactic; it helped to keep the story consistently interesting & rolling. Especially so because the reader may see the same story or memory from totally different perspectives, or perhaps a different spin on the same rumor.

All around a good read for the beach, in between classes, before bedtime, or wherever.. I don't regret buying it & I still don't hesitate recommend it to all my friends interested in his writing style.. just don't expect Rant to be the end-all be-all, career-defining masterpiece of Chuck's work.
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