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Survivor

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  114,151 ratings  ·  3,875 reviews
From the author of the underground sensation Fight Club comes this wickedly incisive second novel, a mesmerizing, unnerving, and hilarious vision of cult and post-cult life.

Tender Branson—last surviving member of the so-called Creedish Death Cult—is dictating his life story into the flight recorder of Flight 2039, cruising on autopilot at 39,000 feet somewhere over the Pac
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Paperback, 289 pages
Published August 3rd 2000 by Vintage (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  114,151 ratings  ·  3,875 reviews


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Jess
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'm going to be honest, I'm starting to become less and less impressed with Palahniuk's work in general-- and it saddens me to admit this. I've read five of his books now (one non-fiction; one too plodding to even finish), and it's becoming too obvious that every character voice is exactly the same. They are all written the same, they all have the same delivery of speech and thought patterns, they are all perfectly one-dimensional. Blank, emotionless, cruel, somewhat hateful. Disenchanted with t ...more
Baba
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dark-comedy
A book much better appreciated on a second reading. An early Palahniuk heavily dead-pan / dark satire on the nature of fame and worship, as well as a beautifully unnerving attack on American cults! Definitely one of the must-reads of his works. A well deserved 7 out of 12 from me, 3 points more than what I gave it when I first read it in 2003!

2018 read, 2003 read
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Matt
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with a therapist on standby
chuck palahniuk will mess you up. he messed me up. 'fight club' put chuck on the map, but in my opinion, 'survivor' is where he really earned his paycheck.

as others have mentioned, the book starts on page 247 or so and goes backwards to page 1. a simple, but clever gimmick that made me buy the book in the first place. and since the novel's protagonist, if we can call him that, is on a doomed airplane, the page numbering is highly appropriate.

palahniuk expertly traces one man's rise to fame. te
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Katie
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
When you open this it soon becomes bewildering. It's impossible to find continuity between one page and another. It took me about fifteen minutes to discover the trick of reading it. You have to start at the last page and read backwards from right to left. The narrator is one of the last surviving members of a religious death cult and those few who didn't commit suicide at the appointed hour are being hunted down and murdered. He tells his story from the cockpit of a plane he has hijacked and wh ...more
Heather
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 bre
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Ron
Feb 24, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2022, satire
”Testing, testing. One, two, three.”
This plane is going down, but before it does Tender Branson is going to tell you his tale. He will lay it all out and explain, if he can, just how he ended up here alone to die like the fellow Creedish brethren before him, though in far bigger fashion. The how is pretty out there. The why is more so. Who he is may make you hate him, but probably not.

While reading this Palahniuk story, I happened to think of Philip K. Dick. They don't write in the
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Barry Pierce
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Chuck Palahniuk is my guilty pleasure. His books aren’t good or anything but I just like reading them ironically. They’re palate cleansers y’know. This one is basically Chuck trying to write Fight Club again but it isn’t really working. It’s handy that the page numbers are backwards because then you know how many pages are left. Ugh. It’s fine.
Kevin Kelsey
Jun 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2022, read-2001
I can't be entirely objective when it comes to this book, but hear me out.

Of course I watched Fight Club in 1999. It gave a name to all of the existential dread I felt at the time as a homeschooled Mormon teen who was just starting to realize something was wrong with my upbringing. I was about to turn fifteen, so I couldn’t yet see an R rated movie on my own, but my brother was nine years older and took me to see it with his boss and his boss's boss's hyper-evangelical teenage son. The options a
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Magdelanye
Vonnegut,Kozinski,Christopher Moore and now Chuck Pahlaniuk have tapped the black humour of all the mainstream sacred cows, with stylish grace and the prescient ability to extrapolate the consequences of our most innocuous acts.

Another commonality: they all have the uncanny ability to transform our feelings for their ungainly, unlikely, unlikable, sometimes even rather repulsive oddball freak heroes from clinically detached to warm and fuzzy. Quite a class act.

We may not like them, but they are
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Paul
Jul 23, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You will like this story if:
1) You enjoy anti-social, nihilistic, misanthropic, sociopathic protagonists.
2) If you desire to have someones (the authors) narrative of socio-political dogma and doctrines drilled into your ear in a very repetitious, ridiculous and unbelievable package disguised as a story.

There are moments when the story has a bite of sarcasm that can be found amusing. It's just unfortunate that it's repeated ad nauseam.

I actually felt dumber after reading this book. There was
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Wayne Barrett
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, 2016, religion, humor
4.5

""And he has these gross little monkey hands."
Right now, getting killed would be a breath of spring.
"That's supposed to mean he has a little wiener dick."
If Fertility keeps talking, my caseworker will have one less client in the morning.
"And he's not obese," Fertility says, "he's not a whale, but he's too fat for me."
In case there's a sniper outside, I open the blinds and stand my gross obese body in the window. Please, anybody with a rifle and a scope. Shoot me right here. Right in my big f
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Negativni
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
"If you worry about disaster all the time, that's what you're going to get"

Ovo je bila turbulentna vožnja!

Na početku romana Palahniuk je napisao napomenu: "The books are never about what you think they are about", i da je ovaj roman ponajviše o (američkom) školskom sustavu koji djecu uči da se uklope i budu dobri radnici, odnosno: "to be the best possible cogs in some big corporate machine", a ne da razmišljaju svojom glavom i osnuju svoje firme i upravljaju svojim životom. Iako i nije baš o to
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Sara J. (kefuwa)
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sara J. by: random pick off the library shelf
The only Palahniuk book I've read to date is "Fight Club" - and that is such a great book with such a great movie adaptation (watched it before I read it btw).

"Survivor" was an interesting story, with the (somewhat gimmicky) page numbers going backwards (to compel you to get to the end?). Haha. What was this about? A poke at marketing-driven franchises? The sorry state of money driven religions/churches? A handbook of cleaning tips (a part of me was hoping for the secrets of the removal of chewi
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Jonathan
Mar 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
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 pretentio
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Supreeth
Reading Palahniuk in public and adding to the demographic statistics is just so satisfying.
Kristen
Jun 28, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thrill seekers, those who don't care about facts
Recommended to Kristen by: Martin, Chris, and a bunch of guys my age.
Shelves: eh-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vartika
Mar 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Recommended to Vartika by: Noumaan Anwer
Ever since I first read Fight Club and Make Something Up, I'd been harbouring the notion that Chuck Palahniuk could be described as a millenial Vonnegut. If nothing else, the two definitely share a flair for black humour, satirising power, exposing the absolute hollowness of American 'values', and making (anti-)heroes out of oddballs and freaks; together with characteristically choppy but tight prose.

Post-Survivor, I'm not sure how far that parallel stands. Palahniuk's commentary here is sha
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Stuart
"Pacy, inventive, often funny, dark, disturbing and plain weird! Welcome to the mind of Chuck Palancuick"

Testing, testing, one, two, three

Are you reading this?

Testing, testing, one, two, three

Is this thing on?

Testing, testing, one, two, three

Yes Chuck, I get that you like writing a lot of that literacy term called, drama of sensibility. Maybe it's time to look at using something different.

Survivor makes Fight Club look like a mild experience when leading towards the angst spewing forth from
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Patrick Gibson
Feb 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dejected angry nihilists
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
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Sam Quixote
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A cult decides to kill themselves. One of the members, Tender Branson, decides not to. He goes away to make a life for himself but finds out that someone else survived from the cult - his twin brother. And his brother is going to complete the ritual by killing Tender and then himself. Meanwhile, Tender's survival attracts the main stream media and his views become the subject of a religion unto themselves. He becomes a messiah like figure. Then it all goes wrong and it ends with Tender hijacking ...more
Maryam
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75
I want to think the world is getting better and better. But really I know it’s not. You want there to be some improvement in people, but there won’t be.
It was good but not as good.
Chuck Palahniuk does have a pattern all his books (the ones I’ve read at least) fall into, and you can almost imagine it’s the same narrative over again, But in each books he takes the same pattern and narrating in a different direction, he explores the shit out of the subject matter and doesn’t shy away from
...more
Denise
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who want to read something different.
Strange, intriguing at first, but ended with disappointment. Tender Branson is a veritable oddball, with more against him than the average person. I liked him up until a point in the novel where he ceased to think for himself. After that the book became unbearable, and a struggle to read. What started out creative, interesting, amusing, and with a bunch of mental "oh really"s, ended somehow in dejection. Which is odd, because the ending is quite amusing at parts. It is different in that when you ...more
Ric
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The main thing that drew me into Survivor was that the book started at page 289 and chapter 47, and counted down to page 1. That made reading it a completely different experience, especially considering the main character, the nihilistic Tender Branson, has hijacked a plane that we know is doomed to crash. The book is about the journey getting there, and it’s really interesting because of its structure. It starts out pretty slow, but it picks up and builds as the story goes on, and those page nu ...more
Chris_P
Nov 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1990s
Survivor follows the well-known recipe that makes Palahniuk a writer with extraordinary insight. However, I didn't like it as much as the other ones of his I've read. I guess absurdities are part of what makes his novels great, completing a pattern which makes perfect sense through metaphors and witty implications. Only here, these absurdities were sort of detached from one another. Something went wrong and I missed the point which, in Choke for instance, made my hair stand on end. That's not to ...more
Adam Light
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I didn't know wht to expect, that's exactly what I got. A bizarrely told tale where nothing was quite as it seemed, filled with the unexpected twists Palahniuk is known to deliver. So, it was exactly what I expected. One of his better books, in my opinion. ...more
Alan
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Apostates and backsliders
Recommended to Alan by: Olivia; Wordstock 2017
I'm not—or wasn't—really a big Chuck Palahniuk fan, despite sharing the city in which Palahniuk has become such a hometown hero. I've watched Fight Club, for example, but never read the book—my only previous reading of Palahniuk's work, in fact, was Choke, and that was BGR (heh). I just bought this copy of Survivor on a whim for my daughter, who is a fan—but she already had a copy and left this one behind in my house. So, rather than let it languish, I picked it up.
It gets dark pretty fast.
—p.17
...more
Michelle
Jan 08, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2021, audiobook
A catchy beginning and a decent end. I liked the idea of the backward pages and chapters--a ticking countdown of sorts. But the middle seemed to just go on and on and on... and on.
Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl
A bizarre social commentary. The story seems to be set in an alternate reality more than the near future.

I have to get my calculator out to figure what page I'm on. The story starts on page 289 and begins counting down until it ends on page one.

Actually, screw it. I'll just count down to page one on my Goodreads progress/status update. I've never done this before. I've never read a book quite like this, so let's see what happens.

This book is outrageous!

Favorite Passages:
Please have a safe and
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Brandon Baker
I still plan to check out Fight Club, but overall I just don’t think Chuck P is for me. Liked Haunted, loved Invisible Monsters, didn’t like Snuff, Damned was just okay, and I’m DNF-ing this.
Vanessa
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

I feel like I'm getting too old for Chuck Palahniuk. Not because his books are geared towards young readers in any particular way - I mean, they are definitely adult books - but because of his writing style. It's definitely something that I would have loved if I'd been in my late teens/early twenties, in my university undergraduate days, but now I just feel a bit like rolling my eyes when I read certain sentences.

Saying that, I did enjoy this book for the most part. Survivor has a rea
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T.A.G. Book Club: T.A.G. Review: Book two 2 5 May 27, 2022 07:20AM  
I Love My Humor D...: 6 Dark Fiction Reading Recommendations 1 25 May 31, 2019 09:35AM  
2018 Beyond the C...: Survivor 1 9 Feb 21, 2018 09:47AM  
Significance of reverse page numbers 4 59 Oct 26, 2015 07:49PM  
Ending? So, did he find a way out? 14 391 Nov 27, 2014 11:19PM  
Pretty good 15 142 Nov 19, 2014 08:48PM  

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Written in stolen moments under truck chassis and on park benches to a soundtrack of The Downward Spiral and Pablo Honey, Fight Club came into existence. The adaptation of Fight Club was a flop at the box office, but achieved cult status on DVD. The film’s popularity drove sales of the novel. Chuck put out two novels in 1999, Survivor and Invisible Monsters. Choke, published in 2001, became Chuck’ ...more

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