Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rant by Chuck Palahniuk

Book Details
Rant by Chuck Palahniuk
Paperback, 336 pages
2008, Anchor
ISBN: 0307275833

Buster Casey, destined to live fast, die young and murder as many people as he can, is the rotten seed at the core of Palahniuk's comically nasty eighth novel (after Haunted; Lullaby; Diary; etc.). Set in a future where urbanites are segregated by strict curfews into Daytimers and Nighttimers, the narrative unfolds as an oral history comprising contradictory accounts from people who knew Buster. These include childhood friends horrified by the boy's macabre behavior (getting snakes, scorpions and spiders to bite him and induce instant erections; repeatedly infecting himself with rabies), policemen and doctors who had dealings with the rabies "superspreader"; and Party Crashers, thrill-seeking Nighttimers who turn city streets into demolition derby arenas. After liberally infecting his hometown peers with rabies, Buster hits the big city and takes up with the Party Crashers. A series of deaths lead to a police investigation of Buster (long-since known as "Rant"—the sound children make while vomiting) that peaks just as Buster apparently commits suicide in a blaze of car-crash glory. This dark religious parable (there's even a resurrection) from the master of grotesque excess may not attract new readers, but it will delight old ones.

Rant is mind blowing with graphically gruesome imagery. The completely in-your-face no-holding-back down-and-dirty tone of the novel brings an naked authenticity to an otherwise unrealistic premise.

The story of Rant is told in a kind of multi-person interview format that manages to show many sides of the "narrators" without distracting from the main focus of the plot. I loved the way the book was laid out and found it very easy to read and follow.

Rant is fascinating. Just, wow. It's filled with so many shocking reveals that I was constantly trying to figure out what I knew and how everything fit together as each piece of the puzzle was added.

Rant covers a multitude of disturbing topics (the rape scene being the most memorable in my mind) and will not appeal to all readers. Rant is raw. There is nothing fluffy or flowery here. I am in awe of this perfectly creepy, disgusting yet engrossing book.


Chuck Palahniuk's


  1. Great review! I really must read this one. As much as I hate to admit it, I have not read Fight Club. It's one of my favorite movies (and I've heard it's similar to the book), but I just never have got around to reading the book. I own many of Palahniuk's books, but I don't think I have this one. I will definitely be looking out for it at my next used book sale!

  2. I think I feel the same way about this as you did, but I also thought it was just more of Palahniuk being Palahniuk, and I was therefore maybe less impressed with it than you were.
    It was so raw and gruesome, though, that I think you're right - in a way it was fascinating!

  3. OMG if this is on Kindle I will be reading it next, you completely WOW'd me with that review. I haven't read any of his books but more and more I think I will enjoy them, this is the 3rd I have heard of.

  4. Hurray! This is my favorite Chuck book, after Fight CLub. Glad you enjoyed--it's certainly not for everyone.

  5. Great review! I've been on the fence about reading his books but this review has convinced me to read Rant.

  6. Wow, this sounds like an intense book! I don't think it's one I could handle, but your enthusiasm for it piqued my interest.

  7. So glad you loved it! Chuck Palahniuk is incredible.

  8. It sounds like a story only Palahnuik could tell! After reading Choke, I decided this author -- though undoubtedly gifted -- is not for me. But this premise does sound interesting. Parts of it do not sound interesting in a good way. I could do without the image of this guy getting erections from being bitten by snakes and spiders. :-P

  9. Wow! 5 shots? Sounds great! I have been putting this one off b/c I've heard Palahnuik's later writing isn't as good as his earlier stuff. Guess I'll have to check this one out! Thanks! :)

  10. I LOVE Palahnuik. My favorite book of his that I've read so far was Survivor. Still have yet to read Fight Club (but loved the movie).

    I can't wait to pick up a copy of Rant!!