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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An edgy, cynical character-driven ride
If the opening of the book doesn't get you, then give up. It opens at the end... There's a guy (Tender Branson), in a plane, that's going to crash, and he's inevitably going to die - and he knows it. Look at the page numbers - they count down i.e. the last page is page 1. So what you get is Tender's painful life, recorded onto the black box recorder of the plane, in a...
Published on 2 Jun 2005 by B. Remy

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars seems like written in a weekend
I am a huge fan of fight club, the book is excellent; but Survivor seems to try Palahniuk's taboo card a little too much without really creeping under your skin like FC.
The whole book is slightly too America-centric and in particular revolves around religious zealots and media, the protagonist is self destructive and slightly repulsive and unfortunatly you seem...
Published on 4 Mar 2009 by B. Storan


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An edgy, cynical character-driven ride, 2 Jun 2005
By 
B. Remy "bezerina" (Berkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Survivor (Paperback)
If the opening of the book doesn't get you, then give up. It opens at the end... There's a guy (Tender Branson), in a plane, that's going to crash, and he's inevitably going to die - and he knows it. Look at the page numbers - they count down i.e. the last page is page 1. So what you get is Tender's painful life, recorded onto the black box recorder of the plane, in a race against time before he and the plane crash into the Australian outback.

Tender Branson is born into a Deliverance Day Cult, sold into servitude, and there he stays until one day the whole cult commits suicide. As all cult members (inside and out of the cult village) have been programmed to do the same, the government sets up a survivor programme whereby they try and stop the remaining members following suit. This is fairly unsuccessful as Tender ends up as the only one left alive. This is where the books takes a turn and he is swept up by a media agent who turns Tender into a pre-packaged, TelePrompTed, made-for-TV messiah.

Other reviewers have already covered the subjects that this book touches upon. It's angsty, it's nihilistic, and it's got a couple of good one-liners. It's quite far-fetched but it's based in enough reality to keep it interesting. It's a pacy read, it raises questions about modern society and it's well written. Don't know what else I can say other than I really enjoyed it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 16 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Survivor (Paperback)
Whenever I review a book I try to rate it compared to the authors other work. This book would have got 5 stars if it weren't for the seminal "Fight Club". It's really that good.
The story concerns Tender Branson, the last surviving member of the "Creeds" (a religion not too dissimilar to that of the Mormons or Amish) all of whose members have committed suicide as part of an ancient pact. Living in the outside world, Tender decides not to conform to his religions decree and becomes a superstar as a result. In his state of religious (media) messiah he begins to deteriorate by taking drugs to improve his physique or hair or skin until he becomes hooked on a whole range of highly damaging substances. His only friend comes in the shape of Fertility Hollis, a mysterious woman who sees the future in her dreams. The book ends with Tenders death in a plane crash.
For everyone who thinks I just spoiled the story, you're wrong. In a brilliant stylistic stroke, Palahnuik starts the book on Chapter 43 and ends it on 1. This is because Tender is telling his story into the black box flight recorder on the plane, so as a result, you are aware that Tender is going to die from the first few pages.
Overall this book reeks of style and class. Palahniuk uses the book to comment on the misuse and commercialisation of religion in our society and the way in which any principles that once existed are mutated, reformed and packaged - just as Tender is during the book. In my opinion this is a thought provoking, well-written and ultimately excellent book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More ambitious than Fight Club, but not as successful, 28 Oct 2001
By 
N. Clay "noel_robert_clay" (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Survivor (Paperback)
Tender Branson is the last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult, a radical religious group that have committed mass suicide simply because the Elders, or ruling men and women, have ordered them to do so. We all know that this is not entirely fiction - the same thing has happened several times around the world. And why hasn't Tender Branson joined his peers? Because, like the main character from the excellent debut novel Fight Club, he wants more from life.
If this short description sounds interesting to you, wait until you experience the various twists and turns that the plot takes. Palahniuk provides these in abundance - although there is no one real convention-defying plot twist as there was in fight club, that forces you to re-read the entire thing.
Also, it is sometimes difficult to understand just what Palahniuk is trying to get at in the story, and the plot is not always as engaging as you might expect from the excellent author. But regardless of this, if you enjoyed Fight Club, this one is definitely worth a read. If you haven't read Fight Club, if you are a fan of Kurt Vonnegut or Don Delillo, Palahniuk's highly original writing style should appeal to you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, disturbing, humorous, engaging, 25 Sep 2007
This review is from: Survivor (Paperback)
Chuck Palahniuk's "Survivor" takes the reader into the world of Tender Branson, the last surviving member of a suicide cult. As the book opens, Branson, the narrator, has hijacked a Boeing 747 with the intention of crashing it, with himself on board, into the Australian outback. Having emptied the plane of passengers, he proceeds to tell his account of his life - ostensibly as it 'really happened' - into the flight recorder, from his childhood under the repressive authority of the Creedish Church to being propelled years later to media stardom as the last survivor.

The first thing that the reader will notice is that the book begins with Chapter 47 on page 289 and counts its way down to Chapter 1 and page 1 at the end, a device which serves to constantly remind the reader that Branson's last minutes are ticking away even as he retells his story, lending an air of foreboding to his words. Palahniuk also has Branson constantly backtrack upon himself in a way which mimics such a stream-of-consciousness dictation. The writing style throughout is informal and extremely sketchy as regards description. Even the names of key characters are never revealed - including the government caseworker appointed to prevent Tender from following the rest of his cult members into suicide, and the agent who later drives him to stardom. On the other hand, by having Tender talk at great length about apparently unimportant and superfluous things such as how to correctly eat a lobster, Palahniuk gives us a sense of Tender's quirky and disturbed nature, almost as if he exists slightly out of tune with reality.

This is a book which tackles big themes: birth and death, murder and suicide, free will and determinism, belief and unbelief, truth and falsehood. Palahniuk conjures up a vividly dystopian and disturbing world, which only grows darker as Tender is drawn within the media culture - a culture which proves every bit as restrictive, false, twisted and soul-destroying as the Creedish society that he used to belong to. What really engages the reader, however, is the strength of the main characters: firstly Tender, who struggles throughout the story to find meaning in his life and to become truly free; and secondly his friend Fertility Hollis, who claims to be able to see the future and acts as Tender's guide. It is their relationship which forms the backbone of the story right up until its climax in the final chapter.

Pacy, inventive, often funny, "Survivor" is a fine (though dark) book, and one that I can easily recommend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars seems like written in a weekend, 4 Mar 2009
By 
B. Storan "mancroft" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Survivor (Paperback)
I am a huge fan of fight club, the book is excellent; but Survivor seems to try Palahniuk's taboo card a little too much without really creeping under your skin like FC.
The whole book is slightly too America-centric and in particular revolves around religious zealots and media, the protagonist is self destructive and slightly repulsive and unfortunatly you seem stuck with him for company most of the way through while he festers as the last remaining doomsday cult member......writing is tight and some nice details but overall a bit of a drag without the trademark rebeliousness of FC.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You WILL survive, 6 Nov 2007
This review is from: Survivor (Paperback)
Palahniuk's works are so often compared to Sedaris, Christopher Moore, and Jackson McCrae, but I have to disagree even though I like those authors and would recommend their books. Palahniuk's works are very complex and well thought out, and his character of Tender Branson in SURVIVOR is one of my favorites.

The plotline of SURVIVOR is not that complicated---at first. Tender is on a plane with nothing more than a black box. He plans to recite his life story into said box, but as with all C.P novels, things don't go as planned.

The biggest problem with Palahniuk's works is that you can't tell everyone just how great they are without giving away key elements to the story. Everything in his books will come as a surprise and telling almost any detail will give something away. So you just have to trust people when they say his stuff is great----off the wall, way off, but great. Of the three books I've recently read (Moore's "Practical Demon Keeping" and MCCrae's "Katzenjammer") SURVIVOR has been my favorite.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Living backwards, 6 Sep 2010
This review is from: Survivor (Paperback)
Despite the dark themes -- a suicide cult, a serial killer, the manipulative nature of the mass media -- Survivor manages to be a witty and uplifting book. Much of the wit comes from Palahniuk's prose style with his dry turns of phrase and his eye for the unusual simile, but there's also a liberal helping of satire in the text too, both in the way the general poplace view the Creedish Death Cult and Tender Branson's rise to manufactured celebrity. I also liked the small touch of the way the pages and chapters are numbered backward, giving a continual sense of a countdown.

As with his previous novel, Fight Club, things are not as may seem apparent; I missed the subtlety at first and needed to be pointed to it by another review. Unlike the previous book, the twist doesn't undermine the whole of the main plotline but subtly changes the ending and ties up a few hanging ends that I'd thought were inconsistencies in the narrative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suicide and religion. Finally someone draws the link..., 11 Oct 2000
By 
This review is from: Survivor (Paperback)
There are very few people on this world who have not heard of Chuck Palahniuk's works. The film of his novel Fight Club has launched him into the limelight, and Survivor - his second novel - will serve to show that Fight Club really wasn't simply a one-off.
Tender Branson is a member of the Creedish cult - one of those odd religious suicide cults that do the Lemming Dance on us every so often. Except Tender doesn't, because he doesn't hear about the impending 'apocalypse' for some time afterwards. Instead, he becomes a media superstar, a hero of tellievangelism, before finally hijacking a plane and letting it crash - while he's still aboard.
We know he's going to die from the first couple of pages. Somehow, though, Palahnuik still keeps us hooked throughout the entire novel, using the same writing style and stream-of-consciousness technique that worked so well in Fight Club. Tender truly has no say in his life - everything he does is either predicted or enforced - and this makes him something of a modern day tragic hero. He is by no means perfect; whereas Fight Club's narrator was hooked on self-help groups, Tender starts out running a telephone help line, offering (usually) the advice "Kill yourself". No one in this novel is perfect. And this is good.
Survivor mixes the sublime with the ridiculous and produces one hell of a show. The world needs more novels like Survivor, and more novelists like Palahniuk.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 19 April 2009
By 
Mr. Liam Wharnsby (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Survivor (Paperback)
I'm not really much of a reader, but after watching the film Choke and of course Fight Club, I just had to read some of Chuck Palahniuk's work.

I'd describe this book as a black comedy. As you read it you could easily imagine it being made into a film. To explain the story line would just spoil the book. It's best to go into this not knowing what to expect as the plot goes off on a wild journey.

If you like the films of Chuck Palahniuk I'm sure you'll like his writing style. Sometimes he moves away from writting in the classic sense and you may have to re-read some sentences just to make sure you read them right.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars average read, 1 Feb 2013
By 
col2910 (Bedfordshire,UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Survivor (Paperback)
Blurb........

Tender Branson, the last surviving member of the Creedish death cult, has commandeered a Boeing 747, emptied of passengers, in order to tell his story to the plane's black box before it crashes. Brought up by the repressive cult and, like all Creedish younger sons, hired out as a domestic servant, Tender finds himself suddenly famous when his fellow cult members all commit suicide. As media messiah he ascends to the very top of the freak-show heap before finally and apocalyptically spiralling out of control.

I read this in 2 days so it can't have been too bad. The books I don't really enjoy seem to drag on for an eternity. That said I didn't put it down marvelling at Palahniuk's satire, nor did I find it savagely funny like some of the back cover reviews.

I was entertained, and interested to read about Tender's life, but that was it.

Maybe some authors just don't resonate with me the same way they connect with other readers. Oh well, an average read on the Keane measuring scale.

3 from 5

Bought second-hand last year in a bundle of 3 Palahniuk's on E-bay. (Oh great, I get to read 2 more then!)
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Survivor
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk (Paperback - 3 Aug 2000)
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