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139 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant satire and apocalyptic vision rolled into one!
Chuck Palaniuk (say it ten times fast) has recently stormed onto the popular literary field, thanks to David Fincher's amazing adaptation of his underground novel, FIGHT CLUB. Hopefully, if he keeps writing books this good, he can give up being a mechanic forever.
SURVIVOR begins on its final page, and shoots backwards towards page 1, always reminding you of its...
Published on July 3, 2000 by figurat

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still Palahniuk, but only average in comparison to his other efforts
As were, I'm sure, many, many others, I was first drawn to Chuck Palahniuk's work through the gateway experience of the manic, maniacal film Fight Club, which is one of my all-time favorites, and which, despite hundreds of attempts at imitation since, sets a sort of high-water mark for off-beat and quirky storytelling. After reading four other novels by Mr. Palahniuk...
Published on November 1, 2012 by Bryan Byrd


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139 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant satire and apocalyptic vision rolled into one!, July 3, 2000
This review is from: Survivor: A Novel (Paperback)
Chuck Palaniuk (say it ten times fast) has recently stormed onto the popular literary field, thanks to David Fincher's amazing adaptation of his underground novel, FIGHT CLUB. Hopefully, if he keeps writing books this good, he can give up being a mechanic forever.
SURVIVOR begins on its final page, and shoots backwards towards page 1, always reminding you of its approaching demise. Along with the novel, the narrator is apporaching his own demise, as he pilots a commandeered airplane waiting for it to crash and explode. In order to preserve his life story, he is speaking into the black-box on-flight recorder, hoping to wipe himself out and attain immortality at the same time.
What is his problem? Well, he is the last survivor of a suicide cult, a former indentured servant in the "real world". He also narrates of his tranistion from nobody to media messiah back to nobody. In it, Palahniuk takes on a wild ride through a satire of modern society in all its little nuances. Everything from Lobster eating to TV networks gets raked over the coals in this incediary novel.
ALthough the book, like FIGHT CLUB begins to self-destruct about three quarters of the way through, the story is so compelling in its banal gruesomeness that you can't help but read it. Palahniuk is a magician who will keep you hypnotized, glued to each page until the final end of both his protagonist and the book.
Oh, and did I mention that the book is also riotously funny? It is. So in other words, one of the best books I've read in awhile.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Palahniuk's "other" best work, June 14, 2001
This review is from: Survivor: A Novel (Paperback)
"Fight Club" may get all the press, notice, and attention, but in many ways Survivor is its literary equal, and maybe even a better book. Once again, Palahniuk manages to pluck a few choice elements from the boiling stew of our mass culture - apocalyptic cults, the grotesquely rich, disasters in the air (along with just enough random-but-relevant facts that leave you wondering how the heck he KNEW that) - and weave them together into a compelling adrenaline ride of a novel that also happens to be thoroughly entertaining. I HATE reviews that end up being spoilers, so I won't say any more, other than to mention that it has all the twists, turns, and extraordinary events that one would expect from a novel by Chuck Palahniuk.
Is it similar to Fight Club in some respects? Yeah.
Is it a literary masterpiece, destined to become a classic? Probably not.
But is it an excellent book to spend a few light evenings with? You bet your life it is.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now Boarding, Flight 2039: direct to Oblivion, October 23, 2000
This review is from: Survivor: A Novel (Paperback)
Testing, testing. One, two, three.
Testing, testing. One, two, three.
Maybe this is working. I don't know. If you can even see this, I don't know. But if you can see this, read. And if you're reading, then what you've found is a review of the story of everything that went wrong.
It doesn't take a page.
And there you are at 39,000 feet. Above the clouds and in the cockpit of a Boeing 747-400 with no passengers.
And no pilot.
Final evacuation call for Chuck Palahniuk's novel, Survivor.
And don't ask if it has anything to do with the television show.
It'll just make you look stupid.
Imagine being raised for slave labor just because you were three minutes and thirty seconds too late. Imagine everyone you know and love offing themselves in a mass cult suicide. Imagine becoming a mass media produced messiah just because no one could prove otherwise.
Imagine Tender Branson, your new pilot.
He doesn't know how to fly a plane.
He'll tell you himself.
Go Ahead.
Ask him.
He's just dying to get a few things off of his chest.
This book is totally backwards. Seriously, you'll see what I mean. With a lot of similar humor and style to his first novel Fight Club, Palahniuk's Survivor is a great read for newcomers and devout fans alike. Pick up this book and you won't want to put it down. But it'll be the most time you'll ever spend reading to get to the bottom of page one.
I promise.
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45 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique Look at Modern American Life by a Great Author, May 3, 2001
By 
Fred "Technology is your friend." (CHAPEL HILL, NC, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Survivor: A Novel (Paperback)
I read Survivor because I really liked Mr. Palahniuk's first book, "Fight Club", and I read "Fight Club" because I thought the movie was great. "Survivor" is a great book, despite it's thematic similarity to Fight Club. The plot on the other hand is very different, although some of the characters seem very familiar to ones from the author's first book. I wanted to be sure not to spoil the plot, one of the difficulties I had with "Fight Club" was my knowledge of the basic premise through having seen the movie (although I do feel there are enough differences to merit a reading of that book), however the entire plot is spelled out on the back cover of the book. Avoid that if you would like some surprises.
Mr. Palahniuk has again succeeded in creating a very unusual plot, which is as good as that of "Fight Club", but its primarily used as a vehicle to provide the same lambasting of modern society that "Fight Club" provided. The lambasting takes some new turns and has a few new targets (although cornflower blue does make a return), but the method is the same. The characters are written in much the same method and the book-ending cataclysm is very similar. While I do hope that the next book of his that I read, "Monster" is different than his first two books, I was still very pleased with "Survivor". The reason is very simple, while the two books are similar, they are both so drastically different in both style and character development than the rest of the books out there that they are very compelling and thought-provoking reads. There are few authors capable of delivering the same sophisticated, yet still blunt, critique of both the excesses and shallowness of modern American mass society. In this end, the author succeeds in reaching a more convenient tone than have many other authors with similar messages, such as Pynchon, Camut or Thoreau.
It is the delivery of this critique that makes Mr. Palahniuk such a promising author (please note as of this review I still haven't read his third book, "Monster"). Criticism of the many contradictions of modern society is as easy to find in literature as the faults themselves while walking the street, however, the author delivers the blows using a masterful combination of both hyperbole, subtlety and the voice of his characters that the words are received with both laughter and disdain. If Mr. Palahniuk continues to use these methods as he has in his first two books, his works can only become more interesting. I thought this was an excellent book, and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in modern literature.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "According to my daily planner.....", November 26, 2002
By 
Michael Crane (Orland Park, IL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Survivor: A Novel (Paperback)
"Testing, testing. One, two three. Maybe this thing is working. I don't know. If you can even hear me, I don't know."
Tender Branson is on an airplane all by himself, cruising on autopilot at about 39,000 feet above the ground. The only other thing on the plane is the black box, which he is planning to recite his life story into it, so there are no mistakes about his life when he is found dead. So nobody calls him a monster, or a murderer.
What he is about to reveal is his life in the so-called Creedish Death Cult, and how he came about to being the last survivor Twisted and unpredictable events land him into the spotlight, bringing unexpected fame and recognition in this hilarious and dark satire, "Survivor." Chuck Palahniuk strikes once again, bringing life and wickedness to this wildly entertaining novel. You are about to find out all about Tender Branson, and all of the things that had happened to him, leading up to where he is now, alone on the plane, and ready to face death. Although according to his daily planner, he should probably be cleaning one of his many employers' houses, or telling them how to eat a lobster the right way. This novel will stun you from start to finish, and will never let go of you until the final sentence.
As impossible as I would've thought, I actually enjoyed this novel more than "Fight Club," and that is one of my favorite books. This book had me laughing aloud in so many parts and so many places. I think it's a much better novel than "Fight Club." I know not many people will agree with me, that is fine. This is strongly my opinion and nothing more. The narration and dialogue is so crisp, so sharp, so dark, and yet so funny and entertaining all at the same time. The writing is so original an groundbreaking. To think that I used to hate first-person narrations. Palahniuk is a very impressive author, and is able to show us that he isn't afraid to tackle on issues that may be frowned upon by others. This is a great satire that takes a bitter look at fame and organized religion. It also proves to be a much more funnier novel than "Fight Club," or at least I think so.
It is so refreshing to come upon a talented author, such as Palahniuk. This is by far one of my new favorite books, and I have just got done reading it for the second time. You'll be sad when you finish it, but will be excited to re-read it. "Survivor" is a magnificent and unforgiving tale of fame, religion, and superstardom. Take nothing for granted and expect the unexpected. Once you start, you cannot stop reading.
I must go now, because according to my daily planner, I'm supposed to be somewhere else and try to better myself as a human being. Besides, I don't want to give too much away. The greatness that lies within this terrific read is that you cannot predict what's going to happen next. Read the novel and take the trip.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suicidally Good!, November 20, 2000
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This review is from: Survivor: A Novel (Paperback)
After seeing the movie Fight Club, I became very interested in Chuck Palahniuk's work. So I went to the bookstore looking for some of his other novels. You know the saying "don't judge a book by its cover"? Well I do judge books by their covers. The covers of books now are just so... corny. I could tell Survivor was going to be a good book from its unique cover. It is very plan, almost completely silver, but it has style. The novel is centered on the thought to be only survivor of a Creedish Death Cult, Tender Branson. In the first chapter, chapter 47, it is explained that Tender Branson is alone on a high jacked commercial airplane and he is going to crash it into the Australian Outback. But before that happens he is going to tell his life story to the "indestructible black box of Flight 2039". As the chapters work their way down to 1, there is a very dark apocalyptic story of Tender's rise to stardom from a housemaid for a strange yuppie couple. In his work experience with this yuppie couple, Tender learns helpful facts like how to get bloodstains off of wallpaper. Also how to hide stab holes in tuxedos. No book is complete without a love interest, and Fertility Hollis adds that and much more. Tender falls for the very interesting character Fertility, who happens to be the sister of a man Tender killed (in a round about way). The plot takes many twists and turns that keep you very interested, for instance Tender's twin brother might be trying to kill him so that all of the Cult would be in their rightful place, dead. "'What's the difference between a Creedish and a corpse?' Just a matter of hours." It is a very unpredictable, enticing, hilarious novel that is so real, it might make you consider suicide. I loved this very unique novel and would recommend it to everyone, except people who have considered suicide, because it might just push them over the edge.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here is my confession..., June 17, 2005
This review is from: Survivor: A Novel (Paperback)
...I loved this book. I feel it actually surpasses several other Palahniuk books, especially the recent "Haunted" and including "Fight Club". "Fight Club" was excellent thematically, but untempered in its style. In "Survivor", Palahniuk has learned to take his slam-bang style down a notch, so that it's still interesting but not constantly barraging you with witty one-liners and narrative shocks, although there are still plenty enough to go around.

A story about death, religion, the media and fake celebrity, "Survivor" gets down the pacing "Fight Club" had issues with, but retains the same style of narrative, first person with lots of random statistics and jarring breaks tossed in. In this story, it's better explained as to why the hero, Tender Branson, knows so many offbeat facts, as his upbringing in the Creedish "Death Cult" is explained with detail, it coming to bear on the story pretty heavily.

The reason Palahniuk takes the time to explain the narrator's background is that this is supposed to be his life story, which also makes it a character study. Indeed, the characters are more fully fleshed out here than ever before in Palahniuk's novels, which allows the story to have a greater effect.

Tender Branson, the narrator, is as messed up as any Palahniuk hero, and his romance with Fertility Hollis is equally the author's trademark oddball relationship. The novel even expands upon some themes from Palahniuk's previous works, such as the mentality of the serving class, the nature of how ordinary people take on messianic statures, and, of course, death, which is a prevailing theme in all his books.

All in all, I'd heartily recommend "Survivor" to any Palahniuk fan, but also to any reader, perhaps even over "Fight Club" as an introduction to Palahniuk's works. A good read, five stars.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surviving is Tough, December 28, 2000
By 
Exodus (Del Mar, California United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Survivor: A Novel (Paperback)
After seeing David Fincher's rendition of Chuck Palahnuik's "Fight Club", this author has been a bit of a role model for me. Palahnuik strives to uncover the depression that glazes over society ten-fold. He did it in Fight Club with Jack and Tyler Durden, and Tender Bransen is the next victim. From the first chapter (which is 49, and the last is 1), Palahnuik delivers a masterpiece outlining people's meaningless lives and their pursuit of happiness. Call it a twist of John Locke's ideaology, but Palahnuik improves with each book. Although Survivor is not as good as Fight Club, Survivor depicts the "15 minutes of fame" with unbelieveable truth.
Palahnuik's novels are never a hard read, however, its disturbing sidenotes and descriptions make this book a tough one to forget. "Survivor" is a magnificent novel; a quick read with some great meaning and wonderful moral.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great sense of originality and humor, June 22, 2000
This review is from: Survivor: A Novel (Paperback)
I haven't exactly read the broadest spectrum of books. Authors ranging from Burgess to Barker to Vonnegut to King. I must say that Palahniuk delivers a fresh, crisp, original style that keeps a great pace and is funny in an insightful way. Of his other two works, 'Fight Club,' and 'Invisible Monsters,' I'd say this is the best
We follow around the protagonist, Tender Branson, who is the sole survivor of a massive cult suicide that took over two thousand lives. Because of the way the members of the cult life were sent out on their own after a certain age, Tender did not know his 'time was up' until the authorities caught him first and prevented him from killing himself. He is then brought up to fame and fortune and thrust into a world beyond anything he has ever known.
Taking a similar path as 'Fight Club', 'Survivor' takes dark humor to a different level. This could offend some (as I'm sure 'Fight Club' must have), but for myself it was a new doorway for laughter. Palahniuk takes the most ungraceful and horrible things you could imagine and just makes them a riot. The perplexing and odd characters keep the book interesting because they are nothing you have ever quite experienced before.
This novel has a nice mix of different qualities that are all done thoroughly and with care. A great effort by a great author.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Palahniuk at his best!, December 3, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Survivor: A Novel (Paperback)
Did you think Fight Club was strange? It only scratched the surface of Chuck Palahniuk's satirical psyche, only served as a warmup for this deadpan media/religion scather that concludes in an even more over-the-top fashion than Palahniuk's debut novel. That the pages and chapter numbers of Survivor count down instead of up is only the most superficial aberration. You'll recognize some of Palahniuk's devices from Fight Club immediately -- the short paragraphs, choppy sentences, narrator dialogue not distinguished with quote marks. The all-knowing consumerism and dead-on ideological emptiness. And, of course, the beginning that reveals the ending and spends the rest of the book arriving at that point through flashbacks. Without giving any more away, I implore that you pick up this book! Definitely a permanent addition to your collection! Also recommended: Life of Pi by Martel, The Losers' Club by Richard Perez
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Survivor: A Novel
Survivor: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk (Paperback - April 5, 2010)
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