Gay “‘Fight Club’ writer Palahniuk is back to his best work with “‘Rant’
“Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey,” by Chuck Palahniuk. (Doubleday, April 2007) 288 pp., $24.95, hardcover.
Doesn’t it seem that, when a celebrity dies, their myth grows? Think Anna Nicole Smith. Think Marilyn Monroe. Think Elvis, Hunter S. Thompson, Kurt Cobain, John Lennon or Bob Marley.
Think Rant Casey.
All the Party Crashers are talking about the night Rant died. Everybody knows about the crash and how Rant’s body was never found. And in Chuck Palahniuk’s new novel “Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey,” you just might find out what happened to Rant Casey. Then again, like the Party Crashers, you might not.
Almost all the Nighttimers are into Party Crashing. Nobody knows who started it, but it happens almost every night of the week: Teams of three or four or five drive around, looking for flagged cars, waiting to chase or be chased. Points are racked up for catching and crashing. There are rules; T-boning is not allowed, and innocents are off-limits.
On the night that Rant Casey disappeared, rumors swirled around Middleton. People said that Rant was asking to die. Some called him a god, others said he was a serial killer. They said that he was at the root of an out-of-control rabies epidemic.
Echo Lawrence remembers when she met him. He was standing on the sidewalk, looking for a team. It wasn’t long before Echo fell in love with Rant, maybe because he didn’t notice her handicaps. Her withered arm and droopy mouth didn’t seem to bother Rant.
But Bodie Carlyle knew more than Echo did. He knew the kind of guy Rant was because Bodie grew up following Rant through the woods outside their Middleton neighborhood. He watched as Rant put his hands down burrows in the ground, until the wild animals there chewed his arms. Bodie saw how Rant invited the bites of poisonous spiders and snakes.
Shot Dunyan heard the rumors, too, and he’s trying to protect Echo. He laced her food with birth control pills and he warns her not to kiss Rant Casey. Shot knows exactly why no one can find Rant Casey’s body.
Do you love a story that leads you down six different plot paths in 16 different directions and then pulls you back to a slam-dunk, make-you-think ending? That’s the kind of treat in store for you when you read anything by Palahniuk “Lullaby,” “Fight Club” and “Rant” included.
I love the masterful way that Palahniuk gives you clues about his characters that you can’t quite grasp and what’s-to-come hints that your brain refuses to comprehend until the end of this brilliantly-written book. “Rant” is hallmark Palahniuk and fans of his works won’t be disappointed in this book one bit. If you’re in the mood for a wild chase of a book, I can’t possibly “Rant” enough about this one.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 4, 2007