It took me just 1 week to read “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk. The author’s previous works “Snuff” and “Choke” had me interested and when I read them, I liked them. I am not sure what drove me to read this book that was published in 1999, but it happened. The book is roughly 300 pages long, and I was able to get through it rather quickly. The literary device that was used here was backwards. Think “Memento” but in a book. You get the ending first, and work your way towards the first line of chapter 1, and it’s fascinating. Chapter 47 starts and winds down to chapter 1. You can read this book backwards, if you’d like, but it doesn’t have the same powerful story. I like the format, and that’s just the starting line of this book.
Woa! Sorry to stop your flow of reading. I wanted to interject and say that this is an older review. I know, old content isn’t always great. However, if you’re reading this, just know that this is a review that I wrote after reading the book in 2018. I’m working on 2019’s reviews, and will post them as I can, but this is from my archives. Sorry to break up the flow again, just continue reading, and please try the fish! I mean, buy the book.
A while back I read the book “Raven”, it was about the Jonestown massacre. I then watched a documentary about the survivors, and there is a such thing as survivor’s guilt. That is an interesting point of view for me, since I grew up in churches and heard a lot of stories of survival, and turning to god, and of course cults. I know too much about cults. That’s why this story really resonated with me, as there were a lot of elements of biblical synapses, and crossfire. The main character Tender Branson is the last surviving member of the Creedish Cult, which killed themselves. He gets thrown into the mainstream media and becomes a religious icon. His job is to teach etiquette to others, meanwhile he has an anonymous crisis hotline (fake), and comes into contact with a clairvoyant sister of one of the people that has called. Oh, and he’s hijacked an airplane and it’s going to go down, as he’s going to die. In some ways I got the “Fight Club” feeling from the first person narration, but at others, it was altogether different. A confessional in a falling airplane? That’s what this book is, and isn’t in some ways.
What “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk has done here is clever. He has written a book that has been turned backwards, but with all of the power of the best novelists at his helm. He has found a way to meet black humor with religion, and make it absolutely poignant. This is on par with “American Psycho” at times, and it’s very well written. I couldn’t put it down, I had to finish it, as it continually kept getting more and more intriguing. Remember, it’s backwards, but yet the reveals are all formally introduced in such a manner that you can’t really get the same potency if you were to read it in any other format. There’s something special about this, and I loved it.
I’m going to give this book a 4 out of 5 star rating. The only thing I didn’t like was the minutia that was talked about at times. There’s a lot of elements mentioned about cleaning and working for someone anonymously. I get what he’s doing, he’s juxtaposing religious ceremony with etiquette and the process of belief and sacrament. It’s clever, but if you’re not a religious person or know anything about religion or ceremony, you may find it boring. In fact, that kind of even bored me, until I finished the book and realized he was doing a very specific thing with the writing. Clever, and yet 1 star less for it. Maybe upon another read it will get a 5 star, but until then 4 stars for “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk.
You can purchase “Survivor” by Chuck Palahniuk from amazon.com by clicking here.