RANT: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey

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RANT: An Oral Bigraphy of Buster Casey is another wild Chuck Palahniuk E-ticket ride. Warning: You must be at least “this tall” and “this twisted” to stomach it.

Buster “RANT” Casey can be best described as RABID—an adjective that means:
   1. Irrationally extreme in opinion or practice
   2. Furious, raging or violently intense
   3. Affected with or pertaining to rabies
   4. Mad—as in “fucking crazy”

Synonyms of the word RABID include:
Berserk, bitten, corybantic, crazed, deranged, extreme, fanatical, fever-pitched, frantic, freaky, frenetic, furious, insane, mad, maniacal, obsessed, overboard, poisoned, radical, raging, sick, twisted, ultraist, violent, virulent and wild. Palahniuk delivers all this and more in his long-awaited novel “RANT.” Not only is Rant Casey bitten, corybantic and violent… the entire story—and how it’s told—is twisted, freaky and fever-pitched from start to finish.

Palahniuk is known for writing outside-box-box, not just content but also literary style. In “HAUNTED” he tells 23 unique short stories by carefully threading them into the framework of a single larger story—23 strangers attening a writer’s workshop. Palahniuk wrote “RANT” as an oral biography. The entire novel is a carefully arranged rotational chronology of short takes on Rant’s life, from birth to death, as told by members of Rant’s family, friends, radio DJ’s, medical experts, law enforcement, priests, and the dozens of people that have never met him but swear on their life that they intimately know him. Rant’s no hero, but Palahniuk twists him into some sort of an iconoclast.

The interview-like format reads a lot like a documentary. And like “CHOKE” and “SURVIVOR,” Palahniuk peppers the storyline with medical ramblings. Are they medical facts or just part of Palahniuk’s fiction? I’m not sure. I’ve come to wonder if Palahniuk actually knows what he’s talking about or if he’s just a master at playing his readers. I’ll just assume he knows his shit–which beats constantly putting the book down mid-sentence to look up stuff on Wikipedia.

“RANT” comes close to being one of my favorite Palahniuk books. It’s definitely in the top three with “CHOKE” and “INVISIBLE MONSTERS.”

Random closing note: Chuck Palahniuk and I have the same birthday… February 21st.

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