A few words about a new novel I read half of and didn’t feel like finishing. (Better say something or the publishers might strike me from their mailing list.)
Rant is Chuck Palahniuk’s eighth novel. It brings Nick Cave’s Old-Testament grotesque And the Ass Saw the Angel (1989) to mind in its preoccupation with the bodily exudations of rural Americans. But it isn’t at all as absorbing or painful to read, mainly because of Palahniuk’s use of innumerable narrators. They take turns saying brief and dry little pieces, neatly labeled with their names and relationships to the central character, Rant Casey. Palahniuk calls it “oral history”. I call it Verfremdungseffekt.
Genrewise the book has attributes of near-future science fiction and magical realism. Rant Casey appears to be the son of Satan, a hillbilly demigod addicted to animal venom and bent upon starting a rabies epidemic. Much space is devoted to describing the Party Crashing subculture, centred on an elaborate urban game involving nocturnal car chases where the objective is to dent your opponents’ vehicles.
Having put this book down, my feeling is that the Fight Club’s members aren’t gonna switch to Party Crashing anytime soon.
Palahniuk, C. 2007. Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey. London: Random House. 319 pp. ISBN 978-0-224-08059-0.
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