An Oral Biography of Buster Casey
by Chuck Palahniuk
I enjoy the conceit of a novel not being a novel but being something else: a true story or oral history or alternate history or some combination of those elements. When it works (as with World War Z) it’s brilliant.
This novel (which isn’t really a novel) is not as brilliant a use of the not-a-novel format as World War Z, but then few things would be. But it is goofier, and grosser. Considering the other book records testimony from a zombie apocalypse, that is really saying something. This is Palahniuk, after all.
It’s tempting to call him some kind of king of the disgusting, but that isn’t really it. Sure, he can be gross, but what he is king of really is suddenly showing you the monster in the mirror. The humanity in the depravity. Life is a mess, then we make it worse and make it better sometimes at the same time.
In this case, the story is also about a time-segregated society, a rabies epidemic, various body fluids and critter bites, flaming wreckage, and time travel. That, however, is just the plot.