Friday, July 11, 2014
Dreaming of a worse tomorrow
The first time I read Rant I borrowed my friend's copy and didn't give it back to her for six months. Eventually I returned the novel so that I wouldn't have yet another stolen book in my collection and bought my own copy.
I run hot and cold on Palahniuk. Fight Club is one of the best books that I've ever read but Survivor leaves a lot to be desired. Invisible Monsters is pretty damn entertaining but Snuff is dull at best. One thing that I do consistently like across his body of work is the way that Palahnuik crafts new worlds that are hard to see at first. Almost all of his stories sound like they take place in our universe in the beginning, but by the end of the text you know that you're looking at some version of our world gone wrong in subtle and terrifying ways.
Rant is an excellent example of this quiet world-making and it's also my favorite Palahniuk book. Everyone in it is interesting, it's complicated and fun to pick apart, it's pop art and literature all rolled into one package, and it features a background universe that I would kind of want to live in if it wasn't in the middle of a nightmarishly plausible epidemic.
Maybe that's why, as much as I like WWZ, Rant is the better "oral history" I've read this week - zombies are impossible and so freaking out about them doesn't make much sense; the Plague that Rant brings out into his world is the sort of thing I wouldn't be surprised to hear reported on the news tomorrow.
If not for, you know, all the time travel and stuff.
Palahniuk, Chuck. Rant: an Oral Biography of Buster Casey. Doubleday. New York:
New York. 2007.