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!


Monday, May 11, 2009


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.


chartroose said...

I should try this. I enjoyed "Fight Club" and "Choke," so this should be okay too, I guess.

For some unknown reason, I've been avoiding him lately. Maybe it's time to un-avoid him now.

chartroose said...

Should I read "Snuff" first, or this one first?

Lezlie said...

Chartroose ~ That depends. If you're in the mood for beyond raunchy, go with Snuff. If you want something less "OMG, that's so sick!!", then go with Survivor. :-)


Jane said...

Great review! I can't wait to start reading the Rant and Choke, the two I just bought. This is another for the wishlist.

Lezlie said...

Jaimie ~ I hope you have as much fun with his books as I'm having! I may pick up a couple more tonight just to have them available on a whim.


Anna said...

This sounds interesting, but more tame that his most recent work. I'd like to read more of his books, so I'll have to keep this one in mind. I wonder about the person behind the writer and what inspires him to write what he writes.

Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ I hear you there. Palahniuk and Stephen King. Where they get there ideas might be kind of scary. :-)


Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I'm pretty sure I didn't already comment on your post about reading through all of Palahniuk (I'm so behind in my reader...if this is any indication)--but forgive me if I'm repeating myself. I've only read one of this books, Choke, and was disgusted and intrigued at the same time. I'm not sure who I would recommend his books to, and I'm not sure I'll pick another up. But just maybe...

I remember wondering similar things to the cleaning tips while watching Fight Club--whether the "facts" were true.

Lezlie said...

Trish ~ That is a good description of how it feels to read Choke. I have Fight Club here to read, and I'm hoping to get to it fairly soon. I'll have to keep an eye out for those "facts". :-)