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Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk

Survivor by Chuck PalahniukChuck Palahniuk’s inexorable rise to cult status has continued unabated since the widespread success of his first published novel Fight Club, which was later made into an equally widely acclaimed film.

Published in 1996, Survivor followed up this success and also cemented Palahniuk’s growing reputation for originality and sharp satire.

Read on for a full review….

-- Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk a Review by Des Greene --
Getting started on writing a review of Chuck Palahniuk’s Survivor has been rather difficult. I hate giving away plot spoilers when I write reviews, but I’ve been struggling to come up with a way of getting the essence of this rather unique book across without letting the cat out of the bag.

The first unusual thing you will notice is that the book’s pages count down from when we are introduced to the narrator and main character, Tender Branson. He is telling his story to the black box flight recorder of a hijacked Boeing 747 as it gradually burns the last of its fuel before crashing into the Australian outback.

Tender is the last surviving member of a closed Creedish sect who send all but the first born of each family out into wider community to earn money to provide financial support. Tender eventually finds himself in the position of being the last known survivor of the cult, following a mass suicide, and further suicides among those of the working sect members. It is from here on that Tender becomes hot property, gets sucked into the murky world of commercial religion, and is re-branded almost as a product.

Palahniuk uses these slightly bizarre and macabre underpinnings as a framework to send up many aspects of the modern world. The satire builds slowly in layers, and I found the book to get steadily more amusing the further it progressed.  Several other main characters lend more than a little assistance to the proceedings, but in order to avoid giving the game away I won’t describe them here. Suffice to say, that the characters of the book play almost second fiddle to the satirical message, and in some ways are quite superficial. We get to hear what they say and do, but rarely what they think or feel.

I found the book to be highly original; possibly those who are fans of Kurt Vonnegut will also enjoy Survivor. It has certainly whetted my appetite for getting hold of some of Palahniuk’s other novels such as Fight Club. All in all, highly recommended.

Already read Survivor ? What did you think of it? Please post a comment below, Novel Suggestions is always keen to hear your opinions.

Novel Suggestions only provides fiction book reviews of books that we personally recommend. We don’t spend our valuable time writing reviews of books which we feel would be a waste of your valuable time!


  1. Mel u says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog-I have now entered a subscription to your blog and am looking forward to following you

    1. Des says:

      Thanks very much Mel-u. I’ve also subscribed to your RSS feed.

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