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Review: Rant

Rant
05.04.2007
0 10

It would certainly take multiple readings to fully digest the dense and complex ideas presented in “RANT: AN ORAL BIOGRAPHY OF BUSTER CASEY”, Chuck Palahniuk’s latest exploration into the depravity of the human condition but having only read it once, I’ll say this – it’s a helluva ride!

He once again explores the nature of celebrity but by framing the narrative in the form of an oral biography, he further explores the nature of memory. We never get to meet the titular Buster” Rant” Casey. We only hear about him through disjointed accounts of his life from a few of his close friends, a few childhood acquaintances, a few impartial third parties and his mother. We have to judge for ourselves to what extent the stories and anecdotes told about him are true and thus form our own opinion of who he was. We have to separate the fact from fiction, as it were.

Basically, we’re the ones who have to get to the truth. Which is essentially what Rant’s life and seemingly the overall theme of the book is – finding the truth: the truth of who we really are and how others’ perception of us affects that, the truth of moments that make life more tangible, the truth of isolated events that shape the path our lives take and even the truth of reality itself.

In Rant’s case, the truth starts with Rabies.

Born into a world where prejudice exists meteorologically such that the ruling Daytimer class live in constant fear of the seedy Nighttimer underclass, where traditional cinematic entertainment becomes obsolete in lieu of “boosted peaks” wherein entertainment experiences are siphoned from others and beamed directly into one’s mind, where traffic accidents are described in vivid, graphic detail and where an urban demolition derby known as “Party Crashing” is the favoured pastime of the Nighttimer underclass, Rant Casey only ever wanted to experience something real, something true.

Rant’s quest to experience a tangible reality begins in his hometown of Middleton where he relishes being covered in animal bites and where he incites two separate movements – The Tooth Fairy Economic Inflation Movement and The Erection Revolution. The former he does by exchanging teeth for early American gold coins and the latter by exposing the medical risks of insect-bite-induced priapism. Perhaps it’s a result of surviving countless animal bites, perhaps he’s born with it or perhaps he wills himself to it as he willed the two movements but he becomes a carrier of a particularly vicious strain of the Rabies virus and after causing a mini-epidemic in his hometown, he moves to the city where his spreading of the virus, his apparent suicide driving off a cliff in a fiery blaze and his possibly tapping into the transcendental power of Party Crashing to travel through time and essentially reincarnate all conflux to establish a legacy that’s part fact, part fiction but all exceptionally entertaining.

While Palahniuk packs plenty of his patented morbidness into the book, he’s pushed himself even further by layering religious themes, themes of immortality and even a sprinkle of science fiction into an alternative narrative form that paints as vivid (or grotesque depending on your point of view) a picture of the life of the near mythical Buster Casey as any traditional narrative. If you’re a fan of Palahniuk, this shouldn’t disappoint. If you’re not a fan, try this one on for size. You may just be a convert.

For more on the book, check out its OFFICIAL SITE.

Source: JoBlo.com

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