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Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey Hardcover – May 1, 2007
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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.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Zombies, government conspiracies, religious epiphanies, time travel, a postmodern Typhoid Mary, and a woman who mixes thumbtacks into her cookie doughall 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.
Top customer reviews
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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. A character named Echo Lawrence makes her money by exploiting the same weaknesses manipulated by Choke's Victor Mancini. Buster's physical immolations recall Shannon McFarland's reality-enhancing disfigurement from Invisible Monsters. And the whole idea of Party Crashing (an underground cult of Nighttimers who get their kicks by intentionally hunting down and wrecking into each other) is an obvious off-shoot of Fight Club's nihilistic pugilism (an observation that is actually made by Palahniuk himself, three-quarters through the book).
While those past books were great in their own ways (although "Choke" was a bit more mainstream than usual), they were also all pretty single-minded of purpose. In "Rant," Palahniuk's blistering pen stabs into several themes -- population control, theistic iconography, segregation, and (of course) life as a diversion from reality, the theft of existence by a society that is happier with blunted and denuded entertainments than with the raw, sometimes poisonous, bite of true, fully aware experience. Most Eastern philosophies are all about achieving true consciousness through an elevation of the mind; Palahniuk wants the same thing, but his methods of transcendence involve far more noise, chaos, and pain.
If it sounds confusing, it is, but the real brilliance (and -- believe it or not -- beauty) of "Rant" is how all of these themes dissolve into one another. There is no clutter here, in spite of the density of the words. The fact that the book is arranged in the form of an oral biography -- told exclusively through snippets of interviews and recorded information -- only adds to the story's web-like framework, highlights each dark, glistening strand.
"Rant" is a lot of things. It is part Strange Days, part Perfume, and part Cronenberg's Crash. It is half a condemnation of a spirit-deadening world, and half a celebration of it. It's morbid, grotesque, unsettling, evocative, and sometimes just plain hilarious.
It's Palahniuk. What more can I say?
Buster Rant Casey grew up in a small town was a rebel as a teen and was far from being ordinary. He leaves his hometown for Middleton and arrives in the big city where he joins a demolition derby called Party Crashing and becomes the leader. Casey is killed and so the unleashing of the oral biography occurs.
The pages of the story are filled with some very wild if not truly weird accounts. Be prepared for one mind blowing and mind boggling experience. Trust me when I say you are not prepared for what is about to be unleashed on these pages and in your mind as you read RANT.
Rant is not for the faint of heart; there is sexual content, language, cults, murder, and some gruesome accounts contained within the book, so prepare yourself now.
I finished reading this a couple of weeks ago and can still hardly unwrap the information contained in this mind blowing read. This is a very challenging read at least for myself, which I enjoyed immensely, I like stories that boggle the mind and this one did. I have added Chuck Palahniuk to my favorite authors and must pick up his earlier releases and wait with much anticipation of his future releases.
Rant tells the tale of Rant Casey, a troubled boy who likes, it seems, to be bitten by spiders and animals. For what? To prove himself or just to establish himself as another weird Palahniuk character? He will contract the rage virus countless times and will soon enough create a rage epidemic across America (wow, Palahniuk never ever ever wrote doomsday scenarios before!). Then cut to years later, when he participates in a silly car hunt where the only purpose is to crash into people and try to avoid being crashed into (wow, not like Fight Club at all!) that is being played by anarchic young twentysomethings (wow, again, like every single Palahniuk novel!). And then, when you think the story won't get any sillier, it also becomes a time travelling tale that ends up making no sense whatsoever!
An aural history is when secondary characters tell their story to an unheard reporter. Sometimes they contradict each other, sometimes they're in total agreement. But the author doesn't really know how to make use of this technique and ends up messing up with the reader in unintended ways. Do you care for any of these characters? No. Never. Do you care what happens to them? No. Never.
Rant relies solely on the 'cool' factor in order to please its audience. Unfortunately, this novel just shows how thin an author can stretch a bad concept. I was ready to quit after 50 pages and I still can't believe that I made it all the way to the end.
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