This is author Chuck Palahniuk at his deadpan peak, a mesmerizing, unnerving, and hilarious satire on the wages of fame and the bedrock lunacy of the modern world.
©1999 Chuck Palahniuk; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"A perfect comment on our apocalypse-fixated times." (Spin)
"Brilliantly satiric and savagely funny." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Mordant....One's sympathy for the improbably doomed hero is fully engaged." (New Yorker)
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (fiction) - This book starts out really, really good. The main character, Tender Branson, is talking into the flight recorder of a plane about to crash. He's alone on the plane, and he is telling his life story. Sounds good, right? It gets better. As the story progresses, you learn he's the sole survivor of a strange religious cult (which is fictitious), and he has become depressed and suicidal. If the story just kind of stuck along those lines, I may have rated it five stars. But then it gets weird. I mean SERIOUSLY weird. As Tender tells his story, you will hear how he changes from a member of an ultra-strict religious cult into a messiah with a mass following. He takes steroids and all kinds of appearance enhancers. He publishes books, appears on television, Super Bowl halftime. He has an agent dictating his every move, and a lot more.
I'm not sure if the author means to be making comments about the absurdity of modern society, but there are lots of things that Tender does or sees that address religious brainwashing, vanity, sex, pornography, suicide, our poor choice of iconic figures, etc. Believe it or not, there is a sprinkling of helpful household hints in this book, as in one "life" Tender was a domestic servant. There is also some humor, but I disagree with reviewers that call this book hilarious. Overdone to the point of ridiculous, yes, but not hilarious. In my opinion, some of the stuff toward the end was pretty sick.
PERFORMANCE - Tender is telling the story of his life to the flight data recorder, so the book is in first person. Since he is depressed and suicidal for the entire book, the narrator has a monotonous presentation, which is appropriate and well-done.
OVERALL - (Actual rating 2 1/2 stars) I really liked the beginning of the book, the middle was okay, then the last third or half I didn't care for at all, thus my overall rating of 2 1/2 stars. THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. You must be open-minded, not easily offended and prepared for the absurd. There is cursing, sexual references, pornography, you name it. And a pretty gross scene involving Tender's brother, Adam.
Naval Air Corps - (DC3, C118, P2V Neptune) 1965 - 1970
Mr. Palahniuk has a style of writing that I would describe as a rollercoaster ride. While some of his stories are fast paced, exciting and fun; this ride left me drained and feeling queasy. When the narration was over, I was happy to lift the safety bar and leave. Your experience may be different though.
Enjoyable? There are some quirky, insightful points of view in the story. However, I don't see how this book could ever come off as an enjoyable read.
Paul Garcia, is a great narrator with a wide range of voices. He is good. His narration was what got me through to the end. I will search for other performances/narrations by him.
Sadly, yes. There is a character in this book called the Agent. I can see a Hollywood "Agent" type turning this book into some superficial CGI. There would be some irony there.
I hope this review is helpful. I admit that I am not an English Lit major and don't know much about tropes or styles of writing. I’ve listened to the finish and this review is really, just one guy's opinion. Read all the reviews and decide if you want to jump in the pool. What the heck, go ahead and listen to it. Then, figure out if you went into the deep end or the shallow end of the pool. You might like it. - I dare you.
Probably my favorite of Chucks's books. Terrific narrator, incredibly startling and funny. You won't be able to stop listening. It grabbed me in the first five minutes and never let go.
When this book started I wasn't sure of what to make of the depressed, monotone delivery of Tender Branson's autobiography, but it quickly drew me in. Despite the fact that you know things aren't going to ending well, it just draws you in to see exactly how they got this bad. Tender follows a narrow line of puppy-dog-lost and sociopath -- but Palahniuk had me routing for this anti-hero, right up to the end. If you are looking for shiny happy people, this isn't your choice. But looking for flawed and funny people this book delivers and was a great 'listen', although I felt a little Schadenfreude about it :-)
The thing that I've always liked about Chuck P's books is that they are generally less about story and more about odd coincidence. In answering one burning question about a character, he generally opens about ten new mysteries, and that makes his work really compelling. This book is no different, though I felt it dragged a bit in the last quarter. Still, he's never predictable, always surprising, and often disturbing -- a trio of characteristics that keep me coming back for more. If you travel through a Chuck P novel without running across an image that sticks with you for the rest of your life, then you're probably dead from the belly button both directions.
After reading the reviews on this book I thought what the heck, why not give it a read. I did and I'm not disappointed. Even though we knew the ending at the start it was a fun getting there. I will now search more by this author.
Survivor is one of my favorite Palahniuk books. The way the author organizes his story is excellent. I give this book the highest recommend.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
I was looking for a dark read for the weekend and a friend of mine suggested Survivor to me. Palahniuk always paints his story with black, grey, dark, with no other colors in the rainbow and maybe that is why I enjoy his writing so much because there is a part of me where I wished that I was like his main characters, very egoistic and demented.
Survivor is written very well, if you like this kind of slasher genre. The Biblical references, sexual taboo and the ongoing suicides, is just brilliant because it goes against what is norm. You can see Tender's hell from his point of view and can understand his arrogance toward everyone. The descending order with the chapters is a count down to the black box.
I highly recommend this title. It is 100% gruesome then the Dexter series, which is a total garbage. I just wished that Dexter was Chuck Palahniuk's idea because it would be that much darker without the fluff.
I like Chuck's work, especially the way he peppers the story with oddball factoids, but this is far from his best offering. It's an interesting premise, though. Paul Garcia does a commendable job. He's appropriately deadpan and animated when the story calls for it.
There is one particular moment in the book that was so out of left field that it really took me out of the story. After that point, I wasn't nearly as enthralled.
Worth it for a diehard Palahniuk fan, not the best place to start for the casual reader.
"Good and dark"
I was unfamiliar with this author (apart from the film of Fight Club) but I will definatly be exploring more of his work. It is a dark novel and the author has a really good descriptive way about him. He is able to describe really mundane things and fill them with meaning. This book also contains some good cleaning tips in the course of telling his story, strange I know but you will have to listen to see what I mean. The characters are really well formed and fit perfectly into their roles.
The narration is quite dry indeed the narrator seems to inject anti drama to the character of Tender, but the story and the pace of text compliments the narrators style really well.
I really enjoyed this book although I appricate it is not everyones cup of tea.
having read, seen and listened to fight club i couldnt wait to listen to this. the book is very well written, some very interesting ideas and well formed sentences that really made me think. the narration was really good, the tone fitted the text really well.
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