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!Marie
The book has a conceit where the chapters and pages are numbered backwards - which is handy because you always know how much book you have left - but really the content doesn't reflect that. It's not a told-backward story. The story starts with a climactic present moment - our narrator has just hijacked a plane and is going to crash to his death after having let the passengers and pilot off - and then jumps back in time to tell the story of how he got there in chronological sequence.Our hero is a survivor of a Christian splinter cult who steals artificial flowers from graves to pass off as real - he tends a garden as part of his job as an all-around manservant for a wealthy couple he only interacts with by phone - and he pretends to be a suicide help line, telling people to kill themselves and reveling in the power. Very Chuck Palahniuk. Morbidly funny. There's not much that's surprising in the book, but I did greatly enjoy the beginning and the end parts. In the middle there's a muddling bit about celebrity and botox that irritated me more than anything else. I was glad our hero didn't stay a celebrity long. The ending was a bit of a let-down, too. There are certain things withheld from the reader in the hopes of building suspense, and in every case the reveal is not interesting. Alas. There were times I thought the book was going to go somewhere interesting, but it never quite does.Jonathan
What started out as a promising read quickly spiraled into a flaming wreck, similar to the plane crash that we're guaranteed on the first page. Or is it the last page? The book and chapters are numbered in reverse order, as some kind of clever gimmick so that you open at the end of the story, and count down the pages until you finally reach the beginning. The concept is intriguing, and might work better if the story was structured around it(think: the film "Memento") but here, it feels pretentious.Survivor ultimately fails for me at the 50 yard line, when the story jumps the shark as Palahniuk transforms the already unsympathetic lead character from Tender Branson cult missionary into Tender Branson media messiah.The book itself felt hijacked by Palahniuk's socio-politcal statements. Admitadly, a deeply entrenched op/ed is to be expected from him, but his commentary on cults and religion loses all significance as the tale switches gears into attacking big pharma, corporate religion, and merchandising agents.It's almost as if Palahniuk can't decide what he wants to say, so he uses the scattershot approach to take a jab at everything, and thus lessens the impact of any *one* thing. Even more bothersome is where the story gets choked either failing to adequately explain the motivations of characters (like Fetility) or in unbelievable plot points like when Tender, now an (in)famous international star, drops off the grid with a simple change of hair color, yet manages to surround himself with religious/charity types (hiding out at the Ronald McDonald House) and no one recognizes him! The biggest drawback has to be the lack of character development for every person in the book. It appears as though no one learns anything on their journey as each character exits the plot the way they entered: Fertility has no remorse for her scam job, Tender is a spineless blank slate waiting for someone to tell him what to do. The one character that dares grow suffers a deus ex machina death. Adam, Tender's "evil" twin brother shows up out of the blue for the sole purpose of... being killed in a really ridiculous way? I get that it's supposed to be a joke, but I'm not laughing. In fact, I kept waiting for most of the end of the book to be a dream sequence, or a bad LSD trip to "the bridge at Owl Creek," that's how far from reality the reader is driven.Ultimately, Survivor left me asking myself why I bothered to read the book in the first place something I'll definately consider before approaching his next work.Zachary Schwartz
My first Palahniuk book and what a ride it was! A high tempo story with commentary on fame, celebrity, and religious theater.M. Baran
palahniuk’u türkiye’de pek çok kişiyle tanıştıran ve bir anlamda “moda yapan” kitabı fight club’dır elbette. sıradan, popülist ve klişe edebiyattan sıkılan kitap okurları palahniuk’a adeta “saldırmış” ve genel algıların dışına çıkan tarzına; sert üslubuna hayran kalmış.ancak, en az fight club kadar sistem karşıtı, ve en az onun kadar sarsıcı bir romanı daha var: gösteri peygamberi.dünyadan yalıtılmış, belli bir algı çerçevesinden hiç çıkmamış aslında tamamen “sıradan” olan birey, korkunç tüketim toplumu içinde bir metaya dönüşmeye başlıyor. ünleniyor, ünü yükseldikçe insanlar onun üzerine daha fazla gidiyor. üzerindeki gizem, popülaritesini artırdıkça artırıyor.sonunda, kas geliştirici destekler, makyaj, ilaçlar, aminoasitler, takviyeler vs derken aslında çift taraflı bir bağımlılık başlıyor. kahramanımız da tüketim toplumuna bağımlı hale geliyor.palahniuk, bizi bu “zavallı” ünlünün dramı ile başbaşa bırakıyor.tüketim toplumunun karanlık yönlerini tüm çıplaklığıyla önümüze seren yazar; kitabına hayata dair pek çok ilginç bilgiyi de yazmadan duramamış. aynı şeyi fight club, choke gibi romanlarında da görüyoruz. palahniuk bunu seviyor, örneğin karides nasıl pişirilir, halıdaki kan lekesi nasıl temizlenir gibi gündelik bilgilerin yanı sıra; napalm nasıl yapılıra kadar pek çok şeyi kitabının orasına burasına sıkıştırıyor. elbette “akıcılığından” ödün vermese de, kimi okurlar bu “öğretici” üslubun rahatsızlığını çekiyor. bazı insanlar bunu bir tür bilgi gösterisi veya öğretmenlik küstahlığı olarak görebiliyor. ben böyle düşünmüyorum, bana göre palahniuk’un tarzı zaten “başka insanlar ne düşünür” üzerinden gitmiyor. o akıcılığından ödün verseydi bile bunu yapardı.kitabın pek çok şeyi birden eleştiriyor olması onun bir başka başarısı. tüketim toplumu içinde hızla yükselen masum ve zavallı bireyin üzerinden aynı zamanda ona korkunç bir savunmasızlık ve saflık veren “kapalı mezhep toplumu” da eleştiriliyor. çocukken cinsellik hakkında verilen yanlış bilgiler, onu korumak için yapılmış olsa da onu korkunç bir savunmasızlığa itiyor. bu bana, köyden kente göçen masum genç kızların güzellik, moda sektörü içinde harcanmasını hatırlatıyor.kitapta bahsedilen tarikatın ilginç bir ilkesi var, bu da dış dünyaya kapalılık. her tür teknolojik aletten, dış dünyadan gelebilecek veriden uzak durmaya çalışıyorlar. bunda bir “düzen bozulmasın” dan çok fazlası var, bu adeta dinin kendisi haline gelmiş. tabi, satır aralarına gizlediği şöyle bir cümle ile bunun tüm dinlere karşı olduğunu anlayabilirsiniz: “kitab-ı mukaddeste insanlar sürekli bir yerlere kaçıp dururlar”. evet, din; bir kaçıştır. ama iki ucu uçurum olan bir süreç; palahniuk’un kafasındaki din-medya ikilemi. bir ucunda çılgın tüketim toplumu var; diğer ucunda ise kaçan ve dünyaya kendini kapayan asketik bir sefalet. palahniuk, bize doğru yolu göstermiyor. bize yol olmadığını gösteriyor, bu nietzsche’nin şu sözünü yankılatıyor:“bana yol soranlara şöyle dedim,yol mu? yol diye bir şey yoktur…”(Mehmet Baran)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...Cindy Gonzaga-ramil
Loved this book. Okay yes the style is too similar to Choke but who cares? They're both good books. I think what I loved most about this book is that I was generally surprised by the plot twists. The first person narration, which usually makes me iffy, was handled right too. I don't know how to explain this but basically all throughout I felt that Tender was not an omnipotent narrator. I wish that I know why Adam left his cult but I love that Tender the non-omnipotent couldn't have known this and so this remains unknown. I also love that I don't trust the accuracy Adam's version of the cult's background but this was all that was presented because Tender the non-omnipotent had no access to an alternative version. Etc etc. The Tender, Adam and Fertility scenes were great. How Tender and Adam 'met' in the bus was ridiculous but I loved it. The Creedish jokes, the book of common prayers, how Tender had taped his advice radio show in advance, the Creedish land turning into a Pornpit were also ridiculous and I loved those too. I found the cult thing intriguing initially, then got bored at that point when Adam was talking too much about it but the reveal at the end redeemed this plot bit for me. I love how the story ended. I was convinced that Tender was going to avert the doom and was so satisfied that he didn't. And yes I've read Chuck's clarification that he did actually avert it but I'm ignoring that because honestly Chuck what did you have to tell us that for. The end.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.Theresa Flores
4.5 stars. Definitely one of my top 3 favorite Palahniuk novels. Survivor is about Tender Branson, the last known survivor of the Creedish Death Cult. With only a few hours left before his plane crashes off somewhere in Australia, Tender Branson is now recording his life story into the flight recorder box of Flight 2039.What I loved most about this novel is definitely the movement of the entire story from start to finish. A Chuck Palahniuk novel is like one big cake with an intricate design--with the mind-blowing twist in the end being the "icing on top", or rather, the firecracker that makes the entire cake explode. Am I making sense? Hahaha. Also, I loved Creedish Death Cult part of the plot-- it was creepy but amazing, and it fitted the novel perfectly.As always, the different characters in the novel were very gripping. Tender Branson's character was perfectly messed up and peculiar. Fertility, the character in the novel that had the ability to see certain events in the future, was just hilarious. I enjoyed their strange and destructive sort-of relationship. A Chuck Palahniuk must-read!Heather
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.G.R.
I really enjoyed Fight Club. I thought it was inventive and clever, well constructed and in it's way very honest.I knew I was going to finish this book (Survivor), it was easy to read. I read it a few years ago and don't remember much at all about it story wise, but I do recall feeling like people who liked Fight Club are supposed to fall in line with this, and it didn't feel like he had really put the effort in. Apparently people really liked this book, I know many people gave it a lot of stars.I don't agree with them.Billie.henry
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.Cathy
A bookclub choice. A strange book but we had a lively discussion tonight. Not one to read on an IPad or Kobo as you miss some of the interesting features.Sunday
In which Chuck Palahniuk evolves from a one-note caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly that has finally perfected the art of sucking its own dick. Read four or five of his books and get back to me. Palahniuk is a bad cover band of himself.Luis
"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.