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Rant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey Paperback – 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307275833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307275837
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,205,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Reeve on July 11 2011
Format: Paperback
One of my favourites by Mr Palahniuk for sure!

What I liked best is how he slowly describes the world the characters live in, and it is certainly a lot different from out own. You don't realize it though, just how he gives small pieces of it at a time.

Good read, very entertaining, and the characters are awesome!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very strange, but in a good way.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful By not a writer on April 26 2009
Format: Paperback
I was thoroughly disappointed in this book. Palahniuk's recent novels have all left something to be desired, but this one was particularly difficult to bother getting through. I found it boring, irritating to read with its jumping from character to character, and the subject matter was convoluted and loosely relevant.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 244 reviews
137 of 149 people found the following review helpful
Ravin' About Rant May 3 2007
By Mark Eremite - Published on Amazon.com
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. 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?
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Thought-provoking postmodern experiment in storytelling May 31 2007
By Jason Fisher - Published on Amazon.com
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. Surreal touches like the "Sex Tornado", "Animal Fishing", and "Party Crashing" will remind you of other Palahniuk novels, while the voices of the characters in "Rant" are rather different. They remind me of the characters in Mark Richard's "The Ice at the Bottom of the World", which I've also reviewed (and this is meant as a very favorable comparison). Other aspects remind me of the postmodern elements of a Don DeLillo. Also, because of the narrative structure, the novel is *all dialogue*, and no description (except for what you get in dialogue). It's a little bit more like a play than a novel in that way. Very interesting, and usually successful.

An added bonus: Palahniuk manages to put a reference to his own "Fight Club" into the novel, evoking it as a cultural artifact in the world Rant Casey inhabits.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Poison-induced erections and Chuck Palahniuk's Rant May 5 2008
By Mark J. Lehman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Combining snake bite-induced erections with car crash-induced time travel and a whole host of other bizarre and almost realistic events, Chuck Palahniuk has created another character in his universe of strangeness with Rant Casey.

The story unfolds as a biography of Rant after his death, strung together through snippets of interviews with dozens of his close friends and neighbors. It starts off simply enough: an odd little boy in middle America causes quite a stir as he grows up by getting into mischief like collecting other people's teeth; purposely getting bit by snakes, spiders, and rodents; and using real animal blood and entrails as part of a community haunted house. Palahniuk's simple language and townie slang kept me engaged and enjoying the yarn.

Soon enough, Rant moves to the city, and we find out we're actually in a futuristic world where people "port in" to experience entertainment, reminiscent of the video games from David Cronenberg's eXistenZ or the "feelies" from Brave New World. There's also "Party Crashing," a game people play where they crash their cars into each other. When Palahniuk drops this unusual character of Rant into this even more out of the ordinary world, it's inevitable the story is going to get much more complex and interesting.

What I have always enjoyed about Palahniuk's work is that his characters are incredibly bizarre but he always finds a way to speak through them about very real but seldom-expressed human perspectives. A lot of times it seems he can figure out some of my thoughts and perceptions and explain them to me, with more clarity and sensibility than I would've thought possible. This book is no different: Rant is pretty far from anyone or anything I've ever known, but because of Palahniuk's descriptions, Rant is still somehow familiar.

So, even though the story gets pretty twisted and out of control confusing near the end, it's still a very interesting read with a lot of unpleasant but likable characters.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great book; but definitely not his personal best. June 12 2007
By Danielle Baldino - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This guy is so strange Aug. 9 2008
By Foosula - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I thought it was excellent. Ye sit took awhile to get rolling and it was a touch confusing trying to see where it would lead. But the last 1/4 of the book was impossible to put down. Palanhiuk's standard twists and turns are all there.
Well worth the read.

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