Monday, October 17, 2011

Operation Chuck: Rant

Don't stop me now!  I'm a reading fool and I realized last night that I'd spent too much time immersed in Chuck Palahniuk books when I wasn't shocked by a rabid, time-traveling, possible god.  I was soaking in the tub (too much information?) and had the thought that I could drown there, and I'm pretty sure that thought was either Chuck-related too...or a cry for help.  In any case, the big Damned event at Lemuria in Jackson is this week!  The books arrived there today and the booksellers are planning their costumes for the party.  (I will be wearing...clothes.  I might wear clothes with buttons, though.  It depends on whether I do laundry tonight.)

Latest read in my quest to consume the Chuck Palahniuk oeuvre before Thursday: Rant.  Lots of people warned me about this book.  I think it's supposed to be shocking, but when it's your eighth Chuck book in 2 1/2 weeks, NOTHING is shocking.  I may be sitting here pulling the almonds off the tops of Almond Joy candy bars and calling the nut-free goodness Milky Mounds.  I think I've lost the capacity to feel my toes.

I hate snakes, so I went with another
biting creature. 
Rant is written as an oral history, a format I tend to like because it allows for multiple perspectives on a specific event or person.  The main character is Buster "Rant" Casey, and "rant" in this case is a synonym for barf.  Rant   is a larger-than-life figure akin to those Saturday Night Live "Bill Brasky" sketches (I think that was the name of that character).  He's the crazy kid who considered rattlesnake bites just a rite of passage.  He repeatedly developed rabies.  And he didn't see anything wrong with spreading rabies to his romantic conquests.

After making a name for himself in his hometown, Rant moves to the city.  There are day people and night people here, with curfews enforced.  There's a theme of population control running throughout Rant and the day vs. night tactics are meant to ease excessive growth and traffic.  Rant takes up with nighttimers including a girl named Echo Lawrence.  Echo drives a car in what amounts to a nightly demolition derby, and Rant is a lookout in her cars.  At some point Rant and company discover that time travel is possible and that instead of erasing yourself by interfering with your ancestors in the past a la Back to the Future, one could discover a way to live outside of time in a liminal zone by destroying the grandparents, parents, etc.  You're still alive, but because you have no past you're on a separate plain and basically a god.  (...This is probably a spoiler.  Sorry.)

Rant is a weird book.  I don't like snakes, so I didn't bother to sleep the day/night that I read it.  I feel strange.

Next: Snuff

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