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Rant: The Oral History of Buster Casey Hardcover – 10 May 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd (10 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224080598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224080590
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 908,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chuck Palahniuk's nine novels are the bestselling Snuff, Rant, Haunted, Lullaby and Fight Club, which was made into a film by director David Fincher, Diary, Survivor, Invisible Monsters, and Choke, which was made into a film by director Clark Gregg. He is also the author of the non-fiction profile of Portland Fugitives and Refugees and the non-fiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Chuck Palahniuk is, of course, best known for Fight Club, a remarkable novel which gave rise to an equally remarkable movie. As a writer, his specialty has been in having no speciality -- other than that of refusing to conform to any expectations readers might have of him. Except in one regard: a book by Palahniuk will be edgy, dark and iconoclastic. Which is very much the case with Rant, The Oral History of Buster Casey. This is a novel that leaves the reader notably off-kilter for a number of reasons; its coal-black vision of a society in a state of near savagery and its sardonically funny approach to the scabrous narrative. The ‘Oral History’ here relates to Buster ‘Rant’ Casey -- and the picture we receive of him is conveyed through a motley group of enemies, friends, relations and sexual partners. Through their wildly differing accounts, we build up a picture of a very unusual man indeed: a charismatic, sinister figure with a predilection for one recreational drug (the main component of which is rabies, no less). His other substance-of-choice (in terms of highly dangerous stimulants) is the venom of a black widow spider (for its aphrodisiac qualities). Living in a small town which is barely civilised (and the passages relating to this bizarre locale are conveyed in Palahniuk’s most phantasmagorical writing), Rant opts to strike out for the big town, and quickly establishes himself at the head honcho of an urban demolition derby which goes by the name of ‘Party Crashing’. The group, on selected nights, conducts a demented game of lethal dodgems, seeking out each other in cars to bring about satisfying motorway mayhem. And in the midst of this madness, Rant, a truly toxic figure, is spreading a variety of very nasty things among those he encounters.

This is nothing less than a vision of society plunged into insanity, with every comforting conventional aspect ruthlessly torn away. It's futuristic, it's very dark, and it's very funny. And (as the foregoing might suggest) it is most definitely not for those who like their literature sedate and unshocking. And in that way, of course, it's a typical Chuck Palahniuk novel. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

'Something much more interesting' -- Independent

"a rollicking good read" -- The Word, April 2007

'An important writer with a huge popular following... I'm glad he
continues to bring us these American visions of Hell' -- Independent on Sunday

'Bob Flynn interviews Chuck Palahniuk.'
-- Independent

'Palahniuk is a master of feeding his readers information subtly,
cleverly, so they slowly realise what is going on' -- The Herald - Rev'd Rodge Glass

'Palahniuk writes brilliantly hectoring novels that pulverise
anodyne, consumer-led modern life.' -- Sunday Telegraph - Rev'd Alastair Sooke

'Palahnuik's world might be a freakshow, but it's one that makes a
disturbing amount of sense' -- Daily Telegraph - Rev'd Robert Colville

`A new Chuck's always worth throwing yourself into.'
-- Daily Echo: Rev'd Ed Perkins

`A twisted paranoid version of our world...taboo-breaking and
imaginative riffs...presents something that we all yearn for' -- Financial Times

`Fast and true, savagely clear-sighted and intelligent, a luxury
to read, and so funny that your facial muscles soon tire...' -- The Guardian

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Miller on 2 Jun 2007
Format: Hardcover
Initially I wasn't sure about the style of Palahniuk's new book. As an oral history, it pieces together some urban folklore style reminisces about the main character, Rant Casey. However, as the book progresses, the connections between people become more apparent. It follows similar ground, socio-politically to Fight Club & Survivor. The urban games part of the book reminds me of the Santa Rampage in Fugitives & Refugees.

The book does lose its way when it starts to imply a life of Matrix style plug-ins, draconian curfews and conflict between daytime and night time peoples.

However, Palahniuk as usual digs up some fascinating historical parallels to his main story lines and on the whole the new style of writing works.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 1 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
Palahnuik takes us to the world of Daytimers and Nighttimers, where the Nightimers spend their evenings engaged in Party Crashing and where Porting has replaced other forms of media.

But the world isn't important, Buster Casey is, and to quote one of the characters - he's, `... the worst Patient Zero in the history of disease'.

Rant Casey carries rabies, but not only carries it, but infects himself and others around him with it again and again. And in doing so becomes a legend, a fable, that spreads much like the rabies he carries from person to person and Rant's oral history is retold through a series of interviews all used to help to explain the bigger picture.

The interview technique is a bit complicated as hearing different points of view and perspectives from several people takes some concentration. Luckily all of the interviewees are named and on their first appearance in each chapter we are told (or retold) a bit more about them like if they are a Party Crasher, Historian, or Mother. You get to know more about some those that were close to Rant and as well as his story as the book progresses. And the in some ways the other people are more interesting than Rant himself.

Palahnuik is an excellent storyteller as he uses this book to explore the spiderwebs of connections that each person has around them. There are no minor characters here. Each has an important role in moving the story forward and in revealing the connections that aren't so obvious as they first appear.

This book is also a tale about the lies we tell ourselves like the tooth fairy who, as you grow up, replaces your useless tooth with money and to Buster Casey teeth are very valuable indeed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sam Tyler on 10 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
Rant Casey is an icon of the future. He has become a god like creation for the people that live in the dark hours of the day. In the future, society is split between people who work during the day, and those during the night. Treated like second class citizens the nightimers take to dangerous games to keep themselves occupied. One man arrives that will spread a disease that will change the way the two societies co-exist.

'Rant' is another strange offering from the master of weird, Chuck Palahniuk. The format is an oral history of Rant's life so is told from various view points by the people that knew him. It takes a little getting used to but the format works well. I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of this book as it introduced twisted, yet intelligent, storylines the like which Palahniuk specialises in. However, I felt that the end went too far into the strange and undid a lot of the good that happened before. This is not one of Palahniuk best books, but still a good read - try the magnificent `Haunted' first.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bint on 8 April 2008
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and was impressed, as ever, with Palaniuk's psychological truth. The futuristic element of this dystopia reminds me of Richard Matheson's work, with the insanity of bureaucratic logic pitted against the needs and desires of the individual. His characters are always skilfully drawn, in at least three dimensions. His female characters are neither ciphers nor stereotypes, always multi-layered individuals.

In all a work which could have been undermined by its structure, its 'oral history' which could so easily have become a 'gimmick' in the wrong hands, instead has its key themes reflected in its very structure; the disrupted time-line, the fractured society the characters live in, and most of all the disjointed personality and personal history of its eponymous protagonist.

Palahniuk differentiates between voices skilfully, yet weaves a seamless narrative. The revelations are suitably disconcerting and, though not entirely unexpected, he explores the implications so fully that even those of the 'the butler did it' mindset, the last page readers, would not feel they wasted their time reading right through.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By barbicandy on 5 Oct 2008
Format: Paperback
Palahniuk has used the multiple narrative form before, but the oral history conceit of this novel gives him the opportunity for further subtlety and ambiguity. This is more ambitous than some of his recent writings, though full of his usual themes of mutilation, degradation, disease and mortality. well worth the effort though probably not the best introduction to this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miss AL Holloway TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Chuck Palahniuk's books, his style of writing and bizzare subject matter really set him apart for me and I must confess he is one of my favourite authors.

Rant is written in the style of an oral history, a collection of anecdotes about Buster "Rant" Casey, told by friends, family members and others who knew him. If you have read any of Palahniuk's work previously, then you know this is not going to be a straightforward tale with a happy ending. It is very weird from start to finish, and the ending left me wishing for a sequel.

As with most of his writing, this is not one to read if you are squeamish or faint hearted, but if you like your books on the dark side, you will most likely enjoy this one.
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