Survivor Hardcover – Feb 2 1999
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Some say that the apocalypse swiftly approacheth, but that simply ain't so according to Chuck Palahniuk. Oh no. It's already here, living in the head of the guy who just crossed the street in front of you, or maybe even closer than that. We saw these possibilities get played out in the author's bloodsporting-anarchist-yuppie shocker of a first novel, Fight Club. Now, in Survivor, his second and newest, the concern is more for the origin of the malaise. Starting at chapter 47 and screaming toward ground zero, Palahniuk hurls the reader back to the beginning in a breathless search for where it all went wrong. This time out, the author's protagonist is self-made, self-ruined mogul-messiah Tender Branson, the sole passenger of a jet moments away from slamming first into the Australian outback and then into oblivion. All that will be left, Branson assures us with a tone bordering on relief, is his life story, from its Amish-on-acid cult beginnings to its televangelist-huckster end. All of this courtesy of the plane's flight recorder.
Speaking of little black boxes, Skinnerians would have a field day with the presenting behavior of the folks who make up Palahniuk's world. They pretend they're suicide hotline operators for fun. They eat lobster before it's quite... done. They dance in morgues. The Cleavers they are not. Scary as they might be, these characters are ultimately more scared of themselves than you are, and that's what makes them so fascinating. In the wee hours and on lonely highways, they exist in a perpetual twilight, caught between the horror of the present and the dread of the unknown. With only two novels under his belt, Chuck Palahniuk is well on his way to becoming an expert at shining a light on these shadowy creatures. --Bob Michaels
From Publishers Weekly
The rise and fall of a media-made messiah is the subject of Palahniuk's impressive second novel (after the well-received Fight Club), a wryly mannered commentary on the excesses of pop culture that tracks the 15 minutes of fame of the lone living member of a suicide cult. Tender Branson, aged 33, has commandeered a Boeing 747, emptied of passengers, in order to tell his story to the "black box" while flying randomly until the plane runs out of gas and crashes. Branson relates in his long flashback the vicissitudes of his life: a member of the repressive Creedish Death Cult, supposedly founded by a splinter group of Millerites in 1860, he is hired out as a domestic servant who must dedicate his earnings to the cult. Despite his humble beginnings, Branson finds himself on the edge of fame and fortune when the cult members begin their suicide binge, and he keeps himself on the media radar by using the psychic dreams of his potential romantic interest, Fertility Hollis, in which the girl accurately predicts a series of strange disasters. After a brief period at the top of the freak-show heap, Branson succumbs to the excesses of his trade when his agent mysteriously dies at the Super Bowl as Branson predicts the outcome of the game at half-time, simultaneously triggering a riot and turning him into a murder suspect. Branson's spookily matter of fact account of his bizarre experiences does not excite tension until the narrative is well under way, but the novel picks up momentum during the homestretch when Branson goes on the lam with Fertility and his murderous brother Adam, and the story steamrolls toward its nightmarish climax. Palahniuk's DeLilloesque cultural witticisms and his satirical take on the culture of instant celebrity invest the narrative with a dark humor that does not quite overcome its lack of a coherent plot. Agent, Edward Hibbert. (Feb.) FYI: Fight Club is being filmed by David Fincher.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book lets you know the protagonist is doomed from the very beginning. It opens from Flight 2039, about to crash in the Australian outback, with only one person remaining aboard: Tender Branson. He tells his story to the black box on board with him, and to us, as the chapter numbers count down. Tender is a survivor of the Creedish "death cult", who were supposedly religious fanatics who sold their children for labor, and then committed mass suicide when the authorities came to intervene. We weave through his life, seventeen to late thirties. It begins with him working as cleaning houses of the wealthy, keeping quiet about disturbing secrets of his employers. He steals fake flowers from graveyards, runs a help hotline telling everyone calling to kill themselves, and is visited by a social worker. He ends up a media superstar with a body that's half surgically enhanced, blurred by hundreds of combinations of drugs. And that's the mild stuff.
Chuck Palahniuk fills his books with frightening, little known trivia about the real world. How to get blood stains out of fur, how to scam Ronald McDonald Houses, how to get drugs from veterinarians. He then surrounds these facts with his fiction, making the story seem more real and more disturbing.
Survivor is completely unpredictable, unique, and darkly hilarious. I'll say this right now: I think it's brilliant. The insights and food for thought it provides make me laugh aloud and chill me. Palahniuk comments on society, he mocks society, without preaching once.Read more ›
Survivor is by far my favorite book by the author, and is possibly even my favorite novel, period. Some people might consider it "graphic" at times, so if you're worried about that, I'd suggest you pick up a good Chicken-Soup-For-the-Whatever book. If you're still interested: Check it out, it's a good read- and hey, if you don't like it, you can send your copy to me.
Most recent customer reviews
I've been a fan of C Palahniuk for years and only read this one recently. Very enjoyable romp. I read it soon after reading another 'Black Box' by Jennifer Egan and 'Vortex' by... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Neil Hoffman
Just like all of his novels, Survivor is less linear than most fictional novels. A light read, but definitely worth picking up. I really enjoy Chuck Palahniuk's writing. Read morePublished 23 months ago by JGIRO403
One of my favorites by Palahniuk after Fight Club.
Amazingly written, but not for those without a bit of a dark sense of humor!
Received product within the estimated time and at a great price. Excellent book to boot. Definitely a great way to order your favorite or new books.Published on June 6 2013 by Aalliekat
Product arrived really quick with no issues. Condition was exactly as advertised, if not better. The book itself is fantastic and I haven't been able to put it down. Read morePublished on April 29 2013 by David Schwartz
I have read a lot of books and a lot of Chuck's books and I have never come across anything so over hyped. This book is aweful, don't waste you time or money. Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2011 by Darkreader7
I ordered this book off of EBAY because I love it so much and could never find a secondhand copy in any bookstore (as if Chapters is getting any of my money)
I read fight... Read more
If you enjoy reading page after page of phoney methods for removing "x" type of stain from "Y" surface, then you might like this book. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2008 by Mark Twain