Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk

(hb; 2007)

From the inside flap:

"Rant takes the form of an oral biography of one Buster 'Rant' Casey, who may or may not be the most efficient serial killer of our time.

"A high school rebel who always wins (and a childhood murderer?), Rant Casey escapes from his small hometown of Middleton for the big city. He becomes the leader of an urban demolition derby called Party Crashing. On appointed nights participants recognize one another by such designated car markings as 'Just Married' toothpaste graffiti and then stalk and crash into each other. Rant Casey will die a spectacular highway death, after which his friends gather testimony needed to build an oral history of his short, violent life. Their collected anecdotes explore the possibility that his saliva caused a silent urban plague of rabies and that he found a way to escape the prison house of linear time..."


As subversive, LOL funny, horrific, memorable and clever as Palahniuk's finer works -- Lullaby; Fight Club -- the thematically-familiar Rant weaves seemingly-side trip plot sinews into a cohesive, mindblowing and landmark narrative that demands a second read just to capture all the exciting, plot-supportive minutiae that Palahniuk's crammed into it.

If you can get past the inherent ickiness (Palahniuk has a detailed fascination with bodily fluids) of the story, this is a unique and rewarding read that may easily rewire the way you view that alterable concept we call "reality".

By all means, check this out.

Side note: J.G. Ballard's Crash explored a similar-yet-differentiated theme. If you like Rant, there's a good chance you'll like Crash.


megastein said...

Think I will have to pick this one up...although I was so disappointed with Choke that I haven't bothered to read Haunted or Rant yet...perhaps this has a little bit of the Chuck I like.

Steve said...

Rant, for me, was better than Choke (which had some cool moments), and a noticeable improvement on Haunted, which ran too long (with a too-bizarre finish).

My all-time favorite Palahniuk novel is Fight Club, of course!

Borrow it from the library, if you can. That way, the only thing you lose is time.

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