Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Page Count/Review Word Count: 319
Rant is the first Palahniuk book that I’ve ever read, but it’s really turned me on to him as a writer – I can’t believe how exciting it was, and how vividly Palahniuk was able to show his semi-fictional world to us. Loosely speaking, it’s the story of Rant Casey, who’s described as “the man who may or may not be the most efficient serial killer of our time.”
Rant is a crazy young man with an addiction to everything that’s base and degenerate – he deliberately allows himself to be bitten by poisonous animals, and he can tell who a used tampon belongs to purely from the smell of it. Palahniuk’s novel is essentially a collection of reminiscences from Rant’s former friends, lovers, enemies and relations, assorted in to a roughly chronological order. As we read the novel, we feel like we get to know him just as much as they do.
But the true genius in this novel is the way in which the unusual narrative style allows Palahniuk to build up a picture of his protagonist – it’s a rare case of when telling is showing, and when the strong dialogue of a whole host of peripheral characters manages to focus on a central character who we never actually meet. Considering Casey is effectively a walking version of the bubonic plague, that can only be a good thing.
In fact, Rant is so good that I upped my rating of it from 8/10 to 9/10 while writing the review, purely because once I got started I remembered facets of the novel that I’d previously forgotten about. It does us all to have a little rant every now and then, even if it’s only about how good a book is. If the rest of Palahniuk’s work is this good then I’m in for a treat.