Patrick Gibson's Reviews > Survivor

Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
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Feb 12, 09

bookshelves: contemporary-literature, lasciate-ogne-speranza-voi-ch-intra
Recommended for: dejected angry nihilists
Read in February, 2009, read count: 1

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.’
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Courtney Nice review, but I'd recommend marking it for spoilers.


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