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Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey (2007)

by Chuck Palahniuk

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4,633891,971 (3.68)88
After 21st century serial killer Buster "Rant" Casey dies in a fiery blaze of glory, three of his closest compatriots--a gang of urban demolition derby aficionados affiliated with a group calling themselves The Party Crashers--travel back to his hometown of Middleton to record an oral history of their fallen idol. Conducting interviews with Rant's family and childhood friends and enemies, they compile stories about Rant's fascination with vermin, the plague of rabies he unleashed on the world, the formation of the Party Crashers, and other legends surrounding America's newest and greatest celebrity mass murderer. But the question remains: "Who was Rant Casey?"… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
I've read almost everything to come from the scattered and twisted mind of Chuck and in the beginning this book seemed to hold the freak flag as high as the rest. The banner slid down the flagpole as the book moved along, but still the icon of brutality and the smile of shame could still be seen. The book seems to run in three seperate parts, one when the main character, Rant, is a child and the depraved and deadly things he gets into. The next part is when Rant moves to the city and begins his life in the world of Party Crashing (not to be misconstrued with showing up at stranger's house, oh no, that would not be weird enough for Chuck to write about, this is a sub-culture of people who drive around at night looking to hit each other with their cars). Lastly, spawning from the metallic mayhem of Party Crashing, comes the third section dealing with time travel and the inevitability of fate and destiny. Personally i felt the beginning was the strongest section and definitely the most shocking in terms of what we are used to from Chuck, after that the book is still interesting, but kind of peters out by the time the last empty white page is turned. I would still recommend reading it, but don't expect to be moved (or visibly shaken) as many were by his last book, Haunted. ( )
  LukeGoldstein | Aug 10, 2021 |
goofy
  abstroyer | Sep 13, 2020 |
"Rant" is definitely a complicated book that sort of unfolds through the whole length, from the beginning to the end.

Early on he uses terms (e.g. "historian", "daytime", "nighttimer", "party crasher", etc.) without explanation. While mildly puzzling, or a little deceiving, especially "historian", the story goes on without trouble. Then much later there's an explanation of the terms and suddenly things make more sense.

This is definitely a book that'll reveal a lot more with subsequent readings.

It's not told as a regular narrative, but short intertwined excerpts about the main character as told or recorded by someone talking to many people who knew him in life. Never from his perspective, however.

It tells the story of Buster "Rant" Casey, a kid from somewhere in the midwest, who's a bit weird to say the least. Growing up he likes to get bitten by animals and insects, likes the erections he gets from black widow spider bites, whether to use them with the girls in his school or as an excuse to get out of class (he points out girls can use the "female problem" excuse and no one verifies, so boys need an equivalent).

To make money offers to pick up old paint cans from his neighbors barns and garages, in which he often finds stashes of money, seemingly an awful lot, including rare, collectable coins. Then he manipulates the local tooth fairy "market" to increase the value of all the cash.

Once he moves to the big city, though, things get even weirder. His father knows an awful lot about his life, for instance, including the coins and his friends.

And the story gets more bizarre and more bizarre as it goes. From a story about a kid in his home town to sort of a sci-fi story.

Overall, it was enthralling, but it'll take further readings to understand it better. ( )
  KevinRubin | Aug 11, 2020 |
At first, this novel looked pretty straight-forward. The subtitle of the book lays it all up. Buster Casey's life is opened wide by people who knew him and even by some who knew of him. So, what's special? I can't really write much without giving the plot up, which would lend itself to quite some internal stirring.

It's obvious that this book is written by the same person who wrote "Fight Club". Palahniuk's style, never avoiding, super-sizing or contrasting what's taboo in modern western society makes for very interesting reading where sex, death and The Nuclear Family are involved.

There are some quite substantial layers here. After 3/4 of the book everything was turned on its head. I thought I had this whole thing thought-out, but no! And then some.

At times, the dialogue feels as contrived and ham-fisted as if it were lifted from detective pulp fiction. At its best, it sails over the past, in more than one sense of the word, freeing the reader, making the plausible possible.

All in all, it's a very complex, finely written tale which is exciting, funny beyond time and rabid like some of its inhabitants. ( )
  pivic | Mar 20, 2020 |
Wow. My husband asked me what this book was about. I told him that it was about a poor rural kid who moves to a city. In the same way that Fight Club is about a guy who doesn't like his job. He saw the movie, so he kind of understands.

Palahniuk has moved into my favorite authors category. I am devouring his books. I'm taking a break and then going back to them. ( )
  rabbit-stew | Mar 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
At its best, Palahniuk’s prose has the rat-a-tat immediacy of a bravura spoken word performance. When he misses, which he does often in “Rant,” it’s just overcooked and indulgent.
 
An altogether more complex novel than that earlier faux-Nietzschean call to arms, this ‘Rant’ is anything but.
 
His latest novel, Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey, is even more ambitious, but here Palahniuk's swirl of characters and plotlines never gels, and the story lurches dangerously toward incoherence.
added by stephmo | editThe Washington Post, Joe Hill (May 20, 2007)
 
Reading the latest Chuck Palahniuk novel is an invariably gripping, always disturbing, and -- more and more often -- ultimately disappointing experience.
added by stephmo | editBoston Globe, Kevin O'Kelly (May 16, 2007)
 
There is no question that Palahniuk is an important writer, with a huge popular following. But as his conceits grow ever more ludicrous, his books become more like art-statements than novels. The plot of Rant is so overheated it approaches self-parody, and occasionally trivialises what are clearly serious concerns.
added by stephmo | editThe Independent, Matt Thorne (May 13, 2007)
 

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Epigraph
Do you ever wish you'd never been born?
Dedication
For my father, Fred Leander Palahniuk. Look up from the sidewalk. Please.
First words
Like most people, I didn't meet and talk to Rant Casey until after he was dead.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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After 21st century serial killer Buster "Rant" Casey dies in a fiery blaze of glory, three of his closest compatriots--a gang of urban demolition derby aficionados affiliated with a group calling themselves The Party Crashers--travel back to his hometown of Middleton to record an oral history of their fallen idol. Conducting interviews with Rant's family and childhood friends and enemies, they compile stories about Rant's fascination with vermin, the plague of rabies he unleashed on the world, the formation of the Party Crashers, and other legends surrounding America's newest and greatest celebrity mass murderer. But the question remains: "Who was Rant Casey?"

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