From the author of the underground sensation Fight Club, a mesmerizing, unnerving, and hilarious vision of cult and post-cult life.Tender Branson ― last surviving member of the so-called "Creedish Death Cult" ― is dictating his incredible 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 plane, which will shortly reach terminal velocity and crash into the vast Australian outback. 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, author of a best-selling autobiography, Saved from Salvation, and the even better selling Book of Very Common Prayer (The Prayer to Delay Orgasm, The Prayer to Prevent Hair Loss, The Prayer to Silence Car Alarms). He'll even share his insight that "the only difference between suicide and martyrdom is press coverage," and deny responsibility for the Tender Branson Sensitive Materials Landfill ― a 20,000-acre repository for the nation's outdated pornography. Among other matters both bizarre and trenchant.
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Some say that the apocalypse swiftly approacheth, but that simply ain't so according to Chuck Palahniuk. Oh no. It's already here, living in the head of the guy who just crossed the street in front of you, or maybe even closer than that. We saw these possibilities get played out in the author's bloodsporting-anarchist-yuppie shocker of a first novel, Fight Club. Now, in Survivor, his second and newest, the concern is more for the origin of the malaise. Starting at chapter 47 and screaming toward ground zero, Palahniuk hurls the reader back to the beginning in a breathless search for where it all went wrong. This time out, the author's protagonist is self-made, self-ruined mogul-messiah Tender Branson, the sole passenger of a jet moments away from slamming first into the Australian outback and then into oblivion. All that will be left, Branson assures us with a tone bordering on relief, is his life story, from its Amish-on-acid cult beginnings to its televangelist-huckster end. All of this courtesy of the plane's flight recorder.
Speaking of little black boxes, Skinnerians would have a field day with the presenting behavior of the folks who make up Palahniuk's world. They pretend they're suicide hotline operators for fun. They eat lobster before it's quite... done. They dance in morgues. The Cleavers they are not. Scary as they might be, these characters are ultimately more scared of themselves than you are, and that's what makes them so fascinating. In the wee hours and on lonely highways, they exist in a perpetual twilight, caught between the horror of the present and the dread of the unknown. With only two novels under his belt, Chuck Palahniuk is well on his way to becoming an expert at shining a light on these shadowy creatures. --Bob MichaelsFrom the Inside Flap:
From the author of the cult sensation Fight Club (now a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter) comes Survivor.
"A turbo-charged, deliciously manic satire of contemporary American life." --"Newsday
"The only difference between suicide and martyrdom is press coverage," according to the "been there, done that" wisdom of Tender Branson, last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult. At the opening of Chuck Palahniuk's hilariously unnerving second novel, Tender is cruising on autopilot, 39,000 feet up, dictating the whole of his life story into Flight 2039's "black box" in the final moments before crashing into the vast Australian outback.
Not since Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night has there been as dark and telling a satire on the wages of fame and the bedrock lunacy of the modern world. Wickedly incisive and mesmerizing, Survivor is Chuck Palahniuk at his deadpan peak.
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