Flug 2039

ISBN: 3442541670
ISBN 13: 9783442541676
By: Chuck Palahniuk

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About this book

In 39.000 Fuß Flughöhe diktiert Tender Brenson seine Lebensgeschichte der Black Box eines Flugzeugs. Bis zu diesem Moment schien Brenson ein normales Leben zu führen. Tagsüber arbeitete er als Hausdiener, nachts übte er sich in telefonischer Seelsorge. Doch Brenson hat ein ganz besonderes Schicksal: Er ist der letzte Überlebende einer strenggläubigen, kultischen Gemeinde, deren Anhänger alle auf merkwürdige Art gestorben sind. Und auch Brensons Stunden sind gezählt, denn über den australischen Outbacks wird das Kerosin des Fluges 2039 verbraucht sein ...

Reader's Thoughts

Eric Althoff

You know him best as the father of "Fight Club," that fiendishly nihilistic modern tale of materialism and machismo run awry. "Survivor" is a different take on almost the same theme, a fractured look at contemporary living as seen through the twisted prism of a not-too-innocent.The narrator begins by telling us that he has hijacked a plane and that he will run out of fuel in so many hours. In that time, he will tell us (and the flight recorder) the tale of how he got to where he is. So then, in retrospect, the narrator relates of having grown up in a religious cult to be a perfect servant to the wealthy people of the outside world, learning everything there is to know about how many folds to place in a napkin and which dinner forks to set out and what products will remove which type of stain. Through bizarre circumstances, his home phone number is repeatedly mixed up with a suicide-prevention hotline. Finally, he gets fed up and tells one tortured man to do himself in. It is not long before the self-murdered man's sister begins circulating in his world. The narrator soon learns that she is a psychic and has a knack for predicting great disasters. Through plot twists each more fiendish than the last, soon the narrator winds up a pop celebrity, tapping into the woman's precognition powers to become a modern-day Nostradamus. The darker sides of capitalism and celebrity soon rear their ugly heads and a mysterious stranger is tracking him down, perhaps to kill him. To add even more tension, the page numbers count down rather than up, just as the narrator's fuel is running out.Like "Fight Club" (unread by me), "Survivor" turns on its ideas more so than its plotting. It is a fierce critique of the cult of celebrity, unfettered materialism, and the emptiness of modern living. It is as nihilistic as "Fight Club" in that no one is getting off easy; and there will be no happy endings.On that note, "Survivor" loses that potential fourth star for the frustrating ending. I demand neither happy nor sad endings, and ambiguous endings can be transcendent and subversive (remember "The Sopranos"?) but "Survivor" just...ends. No apologies from the author and no explanations. I wish he had written just two more pages but I suppose his point is not the story, but the style and the message. Still...


Palahnuik has a formula to his story-writing, and it's becoming more and more clear that every work becomes less and less impressive upon further examination. Every main character seems plagued by the same sense of nihilism and self-defeat like his Fight club protagonist, as well as the same delivery of speech, and thought patterns. So. After reading about 3 books in a row with this consistent formula, I was about ready to abandon my faith in him.But. Then I read this book, and what a fresh breath of air it was. Yes, it applied the formula. Yes, it had the same nihilistic, disenchanted, one-dimensional main character, but it also didn't try to surprise me with the ending like most of his books usually do. (i.e. 'Lullaby', 'Diary', and 'Choke')I truly believe that because of this, the novel was saved from being a duplicate, boring disaster. This book was compelling, albeit slow to start. You really won't feel interested until probably half-way through. But it's well worth the wait. If there's two books you read from this author, I would suggest 'Fight Club', and 'Survivor'. In that order.


Truly, the hype around Palahniuk made me a little wary. There's nothing more disappointing than reading the work of someone who's been raved about, only to find out that their words are less than well-crafted. Well, "Survivor" had me hooked from the first page. Palahniuk's style of writing appeals to me. He crafted a creepy, weird protagonist whom I just can't help but feel sympathy for. His sentences put me right into the world and mind of a weirdo, while making me laugh and revel in the sheer beauty of it. Perhaps one of my favorite sentences in the whole book is, "My goldfish is swimming around all excited inside the fishbowl on the fridge so I reach up and drop a Valium in its water." Hah. What?! That one sentence revealed a whole wealth of information about the protagonist, Tender Branson, and made me laugh out of shock at the same time. The whole book is full of sentences like that. [image error]It really is a quick read. If you don't like bizarre and weird, you probably won't like this book, but Palahniuk makes bizarre and weird a lot of fun. Some parts were utterly gruesome and graphic. I will never be interested in eating lobster after reading his description of lobster-eating. I am hooked and plan to keep reading more Palahniuk. "Survivor" only took 2 days to get through; he's that good.

Dennis Burke

This is Palahniuk's most compelling book. For fans of the odd contemporary fiction, it's a must have, and a must read annually.


One of my favourite books - Survivor joins1984 and a Clockwork Orange. If you enjoy twisted characters and damning analysis of modern society, religion, and the eternal quest for physical and mental perfection, and pop-culture TV messiahs you will enjoy Survivor. Along with lots of humour.I am going to read all of Chuck's books .I think Choke will be next.


I have never read a Chuck Palahniuk book before until this one. I was actually more interested in picking up "Invisible Monsters," but since my library had "Survivor," I decided to give it a try. And I'm glad I did! I could hardly put it down. It is such a quick read with a storyline of seemingly endless twists and turns. Many of the elements of the book are sooo over the top when it came to morbidity and hilarity. From religious cults to landfills filled with pornography the satirical humor was definitely right up my alley. This is one of my new favorite books and I cannot wait to read more of his novels!

Maria Grazia

L'idea è veramente interessate: prendete l'unico sopravvissuto di uno degli strani culti suicidi che prosperano in America, e trasformatelo nel testimonial totale, nel guru totale, nella vittima totale, dategli come compagna una donna dotata della preveggenza e come nemesi un fratello pazzo, e fate si che gli impulsi suicidi inculcategli nella sua chiesa finiscano finalmente per andare a compimento tramite uno spettacolare dirottamento aereo che terminerà solo con lo schianto al suolo dell'aereo stesso, che conserverà molto opportunamente nei suoi visceri una scatola nera in cui sarà contenuta la confessione-autobiografia del sopravvissuto.Dicevo, prendete questi ingredienti e mescolateli con la tipica prosa di Palahniuk, solo che questa volta l'alchimia funziona meno bene del solito, e il libro in alcune parti è così eccessivo e autoreferenziale da risultare addirittura noioso.Solo per cultori del mitico Chuck.

Patrick Gibson

What would you do if you worked as a gardener for a wealthy couple who are mastication-challenged and you’ve landscaped their yard with plastic flowers stolen from a giant mausoleum where you’ve just met a girl, who’s brother you may have killed, and thinks your ugly but can predict horrifying disasters while your therapist slowly obsesses over tile grout, and you are the sole surviving member of a religious cult whose doctrine commands you to commit suicide?You would hijack a plane (flight 2039), make everyone get off, resume until it runs out of gas and crashes in the middle of Australia (why not?). To break the tedium guaranteed to occur prior to a fiery crash you could dictate your memoir into the flight desk recorder (again, why not?).Along the way you realize:“…that people take drugs because it’s the only real personal adventure left to them in their time-constrained, law-and-order, property-lined world. It’s only in drugs or death we’ll see anything new, and death is just too controlling.”When asked where you might see yourself in five years you could answer: “I see myself dead and in hell. I figured I’d spend my first thousand years in some entry-level position, but after that I want to move into management. Be a real team player. Hell is going to see enormous growth in market share over the next millennium. I want to ride the crest.”But, if you change your mind “I’d backslide before, I’d backslide again. Practice makes perfect. If you could call it that. I figured, a few more sins would help round out my resume. This is the upside of already being eternally damned. I figured hell could wait.”Palahniuk skewers just about everything. And then comes up with more. His writing is visceral, sardonic and part gobbledygook at the same time. He is the Tom Robbins of this century but with a much darker sense of the absurd. And a much better command of the obscene. It’s quite wonderful in its own demonic way.Not for the faint of heart – but then again, his writing is ‘age appropriate.’

Robert Michael

An interesting mix of Forest Gump meets Borat meets Albert Camus. I kinda liked several elements of the book and especially the "experimental" element of the narrative. The count-down (the page numbers and chapters went in reverse) and the X-files moments were cool. I could do with less of Fertility's gift and some of the language, but overall, an enjoyable and strange read.

Zachary Schwartz

My first Palahniuk book and what a ride it was! A high tempo story with commentary on fame, celebrity, and religious theater.


Damn. That was a good read. I have to say I was a little reluctant in the early stages of the book. He builds the tale so slowly, and you really have no idea who these characters are. But as the layers unfold and you begin to burrow to the heart of the book... I have to say I'm impressed. Mister Palahniuk is all that and a bag of chips. He kind of reminds me of Tom Robbins... but the cynical, perverted version. There are echoes of the themes that run through Fight Club. He has a very subtle bone to pick. I never felt like I was being bludgeoned over the head with it though. I have to say the imagery in the last chapters of the book had me laughing even while unspeakable things took place. He's good at that.It's not much of an Apocalypse story, except on a personal level for the character and the world he emerged from. But that in and of itself is interesting. There are little, mini Apocali happening all over the place. And the end... deftly done.So... It didn't exactly rock my foundations... but it was a damn good read. And I greatly esteem Mister P. I'd totally buy him a cup of coffee.


A typical Palahniuk roller coaster, 'Survivor' once again leaves you disarmed, perplexed and full of questions. It will transport you into a world which is too unreal to believe and too real for comfort. Only Chuck can come up with such stories. And after reading five of his books, I now realize what makes him so unique; it's not so much his vocabulary or diction or structure, but his uncanny ability to so vividly sketch the universal and basic principles of life through his protagonists.

Camden Brannon

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk was a very interesting read that was hard to put down. Survivor is about Tender Branson who is speaking his life story through the PA system in an airplane plunging toward the Australian outback. Survivor is one of my favorite books I have read.


Quanto dolore serve per diventare dolore dipendenti? Per non riuscire più a farne a meno? Mi chiedo se questa corsa non sia soltanto una messa in scena che copre un’altra messa in scena che copre un’altra messa in scena che copre un’altra messa in scena che copre un’altra messa in scena che copre un problema.Il mondo intero è un disastro che aspetta di accadere.Quanto dolore serve per accumulare la quantità di massa inerziale necessaria all’attesa del disastro?


"For instance, if Jesus Christ had died in prison, with no one watching and with no one there to mourn or torture him, would we be saved?With all due respect....the biggest factor that makes you a saint is the amount of press coverage you get.The same as if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, you realize, if no one had been there to witness the agony of Christ, would we be saved?The key to salvation is how much attention you get."This is the best Chuck Palahniuk book.Or not. I think it's Fight Club. The anarchic, nihilistic Fight Club that screws into you the idea that you are not a sacred unique snowflake of special unique specialness.Hmm. No. I'm pretty sure it's Choke. Choke digs into the topic of behavioral manifestations of things we learn and we do. Choke is the best Chuck Palahniuk book.But Survivor is complex, well-researched, suspenseful, and insightful. It's the best, I swear.But when I think about Diary, I'm just not sure. Diary greatly encompasses every insights about pain and suffering. So no doubt it's actually the best one as far as I can recall.Oooops, I think I mean Lullaby. Lullaby progresses slightly and the protagonist develops into someone I root for. Lullaby is magically realistic with a punch on how powerful words are.Oh shit I forgot the genius of Rant. The mind-blowing sci-fi that it is. Time travel and shit. As in mind: blown. Boom kaboom. It's the best, believe me.But Invisible Monsters is so much feels, twisted, deliciously nihilistic. It's the best one, cross my heart.You can safely say that I'm torn.Whatever book (included above) I read or reread the latest, it's gonna be the best Chuck Palahniuk book for me.

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