by Chuck Palahniuk
"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 Pacific Ocean. He is all alone in the airplane, which will crash shortly into the vast Australian outback. But before it does, he will unfold the tale of his journey from an obedient Creedish child and humble domestic servant to an ultra-buffed, steroid- and collagen-packed media messiah." (From the back cover of Survivor, Anchor Books edition.)
Survivor provides a good example of Chuck Palahniuk's bizarre humor and dry wit without making you feel like maybe you should be wearing latex gloves while reading. Contained here are his trademark quirky characters and off-the-wall scenarios with only a smattering of the blatantly offensive.
I still have the majority of his bibliography to read, but at this point I would say that this book, one of his first, does not yet have that sharpened "compassion factor" present in his later work which makes the freakishly weird almost endearing. However, one can see the beginnings of it here.
It's not a book I'd recommend to Mom or Grandma, but someone who has been interested in giving Palahniuk a whirl but didn't think a book about six hundred dudes and one porn queen was a good place to begin might want to check this one out.
Passing thought -- I wonder if the myriad cleaning tips he gives throughout the text are true. For example: how to polish chrome with club soda, how to clean the ivory or bone handles on cutlery, how to get the shine of a suit, how to stop silk flowers from fraying, how to pick up broken glass from that jimmied bedroom window or smashed highball, repairing stab holes in nightgowns and removing blood from an oriental carpet. Part of his characterization of Tender Branson could have originated from thumbing through some depraved version of one of those "How to Clean Anything" books.
NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!