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Rant: The Oral History of Buster Casey by…
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Rant: The Oral History of Buster Casey (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Chuck Palahniuk (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,572741,480 (3.68)78
elliepotten's review
I've never read Palahniuk before, and although everyone raves about Fight Club, in particular, I wasn't really sure his famously oddball style would be 'my kind of thing'. Happily, Rant turned out to be EXACTLY my kind of thing, which is why this review has taken so long to write. It's always hardest to review the books we've loved most, isn't it?

I won't say too much about the plot, partly because there isn't one per se, and partly because I think this is really one those books that needs to be read WITHOUT knowing everything about it. That way the reader can work things out for themselves and be swept along by the narrative without any preconceptions and erroneous ideas ruining the fun. On the surface this is just what the name suggests: a fictional oral biography of a strange young man called Rant Casey, who has odd abilities, bizarre habits, and dangerous vices that include 'Party Crashing' - driving around at night in a kind of giant crazy game of dodgems - and being bitten by all kinds of venomous and diseased creatures.

But although Rant is at the centre of the novel, and everything ultimately returns to him, this is an incredibly reductive view of Palahniuk's vision. It is also very much about the way society works and about the people in Rant's life over the years. It is only as the book unfolds that you come to realise that Rant's America isn't the same as ours; it's a futuristic place with advanced media technology, and a society segregated into Daytimers and Nighttimers in an attempt to deal with overpopulation and road congestion. As these things are explained by the various 'contributors' to Rant's biography, the book becomes almost like a fascinating non-fiction at times, kept manageable and well-paced by the broken-up oral-biography format.

This really is an incredible book. It has the energy of a Baz Lurhmann movie and the no-nonsense brutality of Quentin Tarantino's finest, all rolled into one. I don't think I've ever read a book that feels so immediate and ALIVE. It bristles with energy, like electricity sparking off the page. As I turned the pages, I felt like I was in the hands of an expert manipulator; the building clues about Rant, about the new society, were all there, but I felt like I was working things out and getting little light-bulb moments EXACTLY when Palahniuk wanted me to. Whatever he wanted me to feel - nauseated, tender, intrigued, repulsed - I did. Even when I wasn't sure what was happening or where things were going, I felt 'safe' enough to accept it and carry on. Like the Nighttimers' Party Crashing culture, I just held on tight and went along for the ride - and what a ride it was!

Rant definitely isn't going to be for everyone - there are some pretty extreme and unsettling moments thrown in along the way - but if you dare to dive in and go with it, you will find a novel that is simultaneously philosophical, amusing, disgusting, exciting, thoughtful, sensual, perplexing, shocking, stimulating and utterly brilliant. Palahniuk throws out a continuous stream of ideas and observations, skewed through the different characters that make up the 'biography' and through the vaguely dystopian perspective. I'm still thinking about it now, a couple of weeks later, asking questions and trying to work it out in my mind all over again. Needless to say, I won't hesitate to read more Palahniuk now I've started. ( )
2 vote elliepotten | May 30, 2012 |
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Not loving it right now, but I'm very early in the book. I've started and stopped several times. I really just can't get behind this.
( )
  thebradking | Feb 22, 2014 |
Great book. It's confusing and kind of prickly, introduces cartloads of weird but strangely convincing ideas, changes pace and shape at every other corner and turns out to be something completely different from what it seemed to be. I really liked it. It was full of weirdness and urgency, and flashes of slightly manic humour, it pinpointed society issues and pried apart (I want to say dissected) all those nice little pretensions and duct-taped ideas people keep up to keep things tidy and sane. It wasn't a gross-out fest like haunted, nor did it annoy me like Diary; for me it's up there with Lullaby and Fight Club. Highly recommended to everyone who knows what they're getting into with Mr. Palahniuk, and to anyone else who likes reading something a little off from time to time. Also: pay attention. It'll help hugely if you don't want to end up with your brain in a knot. ( )
1 vote tigerbuns | Jan 10, 2014 |
I LOVE the way [author: Chuck Palhaniuk] writes! Rant chronicles the life of a rabid boy spreading disease and mystery. Totally off-beat and weird and everything I love! I listened to this one on audio, which I think is the way to go. It helps you kind of keep all the characters straight. Well, sort of... ( )
  amyolivia | Oct 25, 2013 |
This book. This book. This book. Unique would not even begin to cover how this book should be described. This book made me question life and want to be a party crasher. ( )
  Laurakeggg | Jul 30, 2013 |
I have read several of Chuck PPalahniuk's books, and found them all to be unique in their own right. "Rant," is no different. This is a story of a typical bizarre Palahniuk character, told in the form of an oral history. Palahniuk explains at the beginning that due to the nature of the fact that the story is told by a dozen or so people who either knew or knew of Buster Casey, the facts and chronology might not always align. This book took a little bit of dedication to get into but once I was into it I was hooked. Perhaps not as violent or gory as many of Palahniuk's books, it is nonetheless as captivating in its bizarreness. ( )
1 vote zenhead | Jun 23, 2013 |
Another mind-blower from Palahniuk. The narrative is structured as an on-going interview with multiple POV characters, making it feel like you're reading the account of the protagonist's life without ever meeting him. ( )
1 vote chaosmogony | Apr 27, 2013 |
I reveled in the interlocking interviews of those who had relationships with Buster Casey, the world that was created and the element of science fiction. I had no idea what was going on until the very end, when everything then made sense. This book made me a Palahniuk fan. ( )
1 vote MeganZ | Apr 22, 2013 |
After Rant, I feel much more hopeful about Palahniuk's future works. It isn't perfect, and still doesn't attain the crispness of his earlier work, but it marks a return to the characteristics that made that earlier work interesting and engaging. Palahniuk still doesn't trust his reader and undermines his work (here, by a ham-handed and entirely unnecessary front note telling the reader that oral histories may be contradictory. Yes, we know this.

The oral history aspect of the novel works well; the plot doesn't always cohere across those multiple, unreliable narrators, and some of the devices are not well-explored. Still, this "biography" is interesting and engaging and represents a welcome return to Palahniuk's earlier style, with much more of his pleasing world-building. If you haven't read Haunted, just skip it. If you have, you'll find Rant less gross for the sake of gross. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
Ugh ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
It wasn’t until after I started reading Rant that I discovered it was by the same author as Fight Club, Chuck Palahnuik, and then had some sort of an expectation in my mind as to where the novel was going to go. Some.

It started off quite enjoyable, with realistic accounts from friends and acquaintances talking about the young life of the recently deceased Rant Casey, who was being acknowledged as one of the worst serial killers that the US had ever known. But as the novel progressed, with it becoming apparent that the novel is set is in a dystopian future (where curfews are placed on keeping two different kinds of people: daytimers and nighttimers, apart), I found myself liking the book less and less.

It’s difficult to even say why I didn’t like it, as Palahnuik has been praised as an author, and indeed delivers well on an intelligently written, well structured piece of modern literature. I guess what it boils down to is that I didn’t find it easy to warm to any of the characters, and therefore didn’t care about how the novel unravelled, even as exciting plot twists unfolded, putting a new scope on events that had so far transpired.

It’s worth a read, I guess, especially if you’re a fan of science fiction. But I think with Rant, I’d have preferred watching a film adaptation, as the book held a limited amount of interest for me. ( )
  kezumi | Nov 27, 2012 |
__FAVOURITE BOOK__

Ma quanto adoro quest'uomo? Quanto? E' un genio, cazzo!

Ha sparato fuori un libro con un miscuglio di generi e citazioni allucinante!
Cyberpunk, Matrix, Viaggi nel tempo... Io ci sguazzo! *_*

E scritto in questa maniera... sotto forma di interviste, quasi... Aaaaah, *_*

Come al solito, Chuck sperimenta. E come al solito, Chuck fa centro!
Ormai sono quasi convinto di dichiarare Chuck Palahniuk mio scrittore preferito!
__________________________________________________​

Ecco, adesso invece (e già da molto tempo, comunque >_>) Chuck lo è U_U

E questo è senza dubbio il mio favourite book (che, a pensarci bene, si pronuncia con la doppia o che è un misto tra una o, una a e una e ù_ù 'boaek' >_>) *_*

La Nuova Era e-Book non poteva, in effetti, cominciare con un libro diverso. ( )
  Malla-kun | Sep 22, 2012 |
I've never read Palahniuk before, and although everyone raves about Fight Club, in particular, I wasn't really sure his famously oddball style would be 'my kind of thing'. Happily, Rant turned out to be EXACTLY my kind of thing, which is why this review has taken so long to write. It's always hardest to review the books we've loved most, isn't it?

I won't say too much about the plot, partly because there isn't one per se, and partly because I think this is really one those books that needs to be read WITHOUT knowing everything about it. That way the reader can work things out for themselves and be swept along by the narrative without any preconceptions and erroneous ideas ruining the fun. On the surface this is just what the name suggests: a fictional oral biography of a strange young man called Rant Casey, who has odd abilities, bizarre habits, and dangerous vices that include 'Party Crashing' - driving around at night in a kind of giant crazy game of dodgems - and being bitten by all kinds of venomous and diseased creatures.

But although Rant is at the centre of the novel, and everything ultimately returns to him, this is an incredibly reductive view of Palahniuk's vision. It is also very much about the way society works and about the people in Rant's life over the years. It is only as the book unfolds that you come to realise that Rant's America isn't the same as ours; it's a futuristic place with advanced media technology, and a society segregated into Daytimers and Nighttimers in an attempt to deal with overpopulation and road congestion. As these things are explained by the various 'contributors' to Rant's biography, the book becomes almost like a fascinating non-fiction at times, kept manageable and well-paced by the broken-up oral-biography format.

This really is an incredible book. It has the energy of a Baz Lurhmann movie and the no-nonsense brutality of Quentin Tarantino's finest, all rolled into one. I don't think I've ever read a book that feels so immediate and ALIVE. It bristles with energy, like electricity sparking off the page. As I turned the pages, I felt like I was in the hands of an expert manipulator; the building clues about Rant, about the new society, were all there, but I felt like I was working things out and getting little light-bulb moments EXACTLY when Palahniuk wanted me to. Whatever he wanted me to feel - nauseated, tender, intrigued, repulsed - I did. Even when I wasn't sure what was happening or where things were going, I felt 'safe' enough to accept it and carry on. Like the Nighttimers' Party Crashing culture, I just held on tight and went along for the ride - and what a ride it was!

Rant definitely isn't going to be for everyone - there are some pretty extreme and unsettling moments thrown in along the way - but if you dare to dive in and go with it, you will find a novel that is simultaneously philosophical, amusing, disgusting, exciting, thoughtful, sensual, perplexing, shocking, stimulating and utterly brilliant. Palahniuk throws out a continuous stream of ideas and observations, skewed through the different characters that make up the 'biography' and through the vaguely dystopian perspective. I'm still thinking about it now, a couple of weeks later, asking questions and trying to work it out in my mind all over again. Needless to say, I won't hesitate to read more Palahniuk now I've started. ( )
2 vote elliepotten | May 30, 2012 |
My husband enjoyed this book but I really couldn't get into it (I read about 120 pages). I have not read many books in this "oral history" format and I think I found it too distracting to enjoy the book. ( )
  PortiaLong | Apr 11, 2012 |
Rant has earned a spot on my top-three favorites of Palahniuk list, after Survivor and Choke, respectively. It's an easy book to recommend, though part of me still wants those not initiated to Palahniuk's style to start with either Survivor or Choke, and then read the others at your leisure. For my two cents, Fight Club and Haunted are his weakest books, respectively. But Rant definitely stood out for me, and it's a book I could easily read over, just to get all the details I can, and to see how the pieces of this puzzle REALLY fit together.

For a full review, which DEFINITELY INCLUDES SPOILERS THAT WILL RUIN THE BOOK, please click here: http://calico-reaction.livejournal.com/36961.html ( )
1 vote devilwrites | Sep 26, 2011 |
I have mixed feelings about this book. Was it funny? Yes. Was it a typical Palahniuk in terms of disturbing mental images, crazy, fucked up characters, and several "shock value" moments that just make the reader go "Wha-"? Yes. Did parts of it turn my stomach? Yes. Is it memorable? Yes. And yet, I didn't love it the same way I loved Invisible Monsters, Fight Club, and Haunted. Rant is a good book with an interesting style, but somehow, it just didn't connect with me like the other books of his I've read, and I can't really pinpoint why. I would still recommend this to anyone who's a fan of Palahniuk or likes their literature with a side of nitty gritty, stomach churning, visceral writing, but for a casual reader...maybe not. Palahniuk in general isn't for everyone, and I wouldn't say this is the best book he's written. But it's good. If you like that sort of thing. ( )
1 vote RebeccaAnn | Sep 11, 2011 |
Que? I want to like Chuck Palahniuk's work. I really do. This was just too out there for me. While I understood most of what was going on, I found my mind wandering and often times coming back to a page and having no idea what he was talking about. Even after reading, I'm still not sure I followed. I've also tried Haunted, and started Choke but couldn't finish. I dont think this genre (dark? complex? disgusting?) is for me. ( )
  Zeppelin25 | Jul 29, 2011 |
Absolutely mind-blowing. I feel like I need to reread it to comprehend it. Amazing, dark, gritty, and at times hard to swallow... but incredible. ( )
1 vote emma_mc | Jul 19, 2011 |
YUCK! I like Chuck Palahniuk's other novels that I have read (even though I have no idea how to pronounce his name). He is typically gross, vulgar, and out there. This was all of the above, but I didn't care about any of the characters, and it was written in a very odd format. Skip this one. ( )
  Djupstrom | Jun 19, 2011 |
I've been a huge fan of Palahniuk's for years. But, I think...of late, it seems that he's pushing boundaries of what's "normal" by throwing a lot of stuff at the reader so that he or she can have one of those knee-jerk "that's so gross" or "that's so wild" reactions. I appreciate Chuck for who he is: a great storyteller of odd, eccentric personalities mixed with a little sci-fi/sci-fact. This book lacks a real story though it's got a DIVINE literary device telling the story (the oral biography dialogue is KILLER) but there's just too much that...just is for the sake of being weird...and I wish that hadn't been the case ( )
  leFroo | Mar 18, 2011 |
Tampons and condoms on barb wire fences ha! A little implausable method of time travel but suspend disbelief and enjoy this crazy tale of time traveling incest. Awesome demento. ( )
  Crankpaw | Feb 18, 2011 |
Rant is a very clever book full of odd mental pictures. I've found most of Chucks books leave you with at least one if not more haunting images that pop out of your head a different times in your life. From rabbies to razor blades this book takes you on an unlikely adventure full of car accidents and deep dark holes. Palahniuk has a way with words and this book is no exception. It is told in an interesting style through the words and eyes of many characters. I enjoyed it greatly, as I have most of his work. If your looking for something a little out of the norm with alot of punch for a rather short book, check it out. ( )
  cottongirl7 | Nov 24, 2010 |
If you loved Fight Club and want more of the same look no further here comes more shock and shlock. I have to give kudos to Chuck for mixing a tired scifi tale with some shock and awe mystery to twist things up and telling it feels like reality show interviews. While the innovation and creativity is to applauded the tale itself is forced and tiring. Just like Fight Club there are some great one liners, but there's not enough to save it in the end.

I had trouble getting into the written book, but Audible has a recording that is a veritable listening feast with the number of readers. Personally, I give the audible version a 3 but the tale itself barely makes a 2.5. ( )
  revslick | Aug 3, 2010 |
I really enjoyed Rant a lot. I thought it was weird and different, but it really came together so well at the end. It is a bit difficult to really explain what I loved about the book without spoiling the plot a bit so I will do my best in that aspect. The book itself had some really interesting themes that were present. The main idea, kind of brought up pretty much from the opening scene, is that everybody views people in different ways. That these views can actually cause a single person to almost have an entirely different view of the same person that it is surprising that it is actually in fact the same person. And that we can make sure to act a particular way to influence the way we interact and are viewed by others. This is really taken to many levels in the novel from looking at it from perspectives of family members, friends, and community members. The story of the novel here is in my opinion well written. It keeps the reader interested without giving up too much and really pays off towards the end when a lot of the elements in the story really start to connect and it turns into a really satisfying experience. It is especially interesting if you take a step back at the end and just try to draw a mental timeline of the characters and the relationships in the novel. It becomes fascinating at this point to think about who is actaully influencing who and the cause of many of the major events in the novel. I also like the use of some random titles that you learn mean very different things then they first seem to mean, like the distinction of "historian" in the context of the story. There was actually not very much that I disliked about this novel. I though the pacing was right throughout the book, and the characters really felt like they had purpose and direction and developed in the story. ( )
  ngeunit1 | Jun 18, 2010 |
Palahniuk's best book in recent years.

The character's are interestingly bizarre, and the story is completely messed up. It's like a return to the styling of Fight Club and Survivor.

Definitely a must-read for fans of his. ( )
  TybaltCapulet | Apr 6, 2010 |
Anarchist-redneck hydrophobe + car crash junkies + paradox denying time travel + oral history format = most convoluted idea for a book ever. I love it when terrible ideas turn out well. This book took a good bit of time after reading to digest what had just happened. Very entertaining. ( )
  danconsiglio | Apr 1, 2010 |
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