Wednesday 4 July 2007

Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPublished by Doubleday - A division of Random House Inc.

Rant is the story of Buster Casey, a strange young man who we meet after his death. His story is told by those who shared their lives with him and the anecdotes they share are often filled with bizarre and disturbing facts. Buster Casey is known to most as Rant. He had a strange childhood, made all the stranger by his fascination for being bitten by poisonous and diseased creatures. He winds up repeatedly infected by rabies which he has no problem sharing with those around him.

The book is set in the future, in a world that has segregation between Daytimers and Nighttimers. Rant becomes a part of a pastime which many of the Nighttimers are involved with, known as Party Crashing. I know, you think of Party Crashing and you immediately think of someone coming to a party uninvited, right? In this case, Party Crashing is where teams of people take their car onto the road and have it decorated a certain way. Perhaps a learner's sign attached, a Christmas tree or sofa or mattress on the roof, cans attached to the bumper with a just married sign and the passengers being dressed as brides and grooms. Then the drivers of the cars set out to stalk other similarly decorated cars and crash into them.

Add to this already bizarre mix, the arrival of mysterious strangers, the frequent appearance of gold coins dated so far back that they are worth thousands, the dysfunctional family dynamics, the strange deaths that are occurring, and Rant's idea of decorating the space above his bed and you have a novel that captivates the reader and sends the imagination on a ride that won't soon be forgotten.

The author has an amazing way of writing. The way the reader is guided through the story by many narrators just really grabbed my attention. The way he describes everything in the most gruesome detail, and drops hints as the story continues, definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, needing to know more. What surprised me more than anything, is that even with all the hints, when the reader reaches the later pages in the book, the answers that begin to appear often leave the reader in a state of awe and wonder.

I loved the way the characters all seem to unfold. Each having different versions of the same event, and each offering opinions and thoughts about Rant's relationships with the rest. The dynamics are often complex and leave lots to the imagination. The reader is handed all of the information they could ever want and is left to decide for themselves what they want to believe.

It's a story that demands to be read (probably more than once in order to truly appreciate it) and I can say for certain that I will be reading this again and again. It's refreshing, brilliant, dark, troubling, sexy, just plain messed up and you won't be able to put it down.

Author's website:

Book website: (This site is neat. You can hear traffic reports from the book and so much more).


Katie said...

I have this one in my to-be-read stack at the moment. I'll have to come back and read the review once I've finished it.

Charlene Martel said...

Please do, and I would also be thrilled if you share your thoughts of the book in a comment too.

It's always fun to know what other people think of something I have read.