Tuesday, September 29, 2009

#40: Rant by Chuck Palahniuk

Rant Casey is a mysterious hillbilly who turns out to be Patient Zero in a virulent rabies outbreak and a leading figure in a night-time car-crash ritual; when he dies in a flaming wreck, an oral history of his brief, strange life makes up the core of Chuck Palahniuk's Rant.

Initially I was a bit afraid to take on Chuck Palahniuk's dark vision but found, with Diary and Snuff (part of last year's 50 books), that he is quite a good writer, though decidedly not for all tastes. The contents of a "sex tornado," and a time travel device that is mostly used to rape, murder, and commit incest, could conceivably bring the casual reader up short.

But Palahniuk is, as usual, full of good ideas, and is a smart, literate writer; sort of a Kurt Vonnegut with the sensibilities of Howard Stern. Rant takes on more a science fiction bent than some of his other novels, though I was quite a ways into it before I realized its near-future setting, sort of a rural cyberpunk.

I bought this with a Books A Million card my daughter gave me and enjoyed it throughout, and am now trying to decide which unsuspecting friend to give it to, to turn on to Palahniuk's work.

For discerning readers up for a challenge, Chuck Palahniuk's work is quite rewarding. Recommended, with reservations.

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