Do you ever feel like a book has been waiting for you to read it at the right time of your life? I put off reading Survivor for so long, and I’m glad I read it when I did. I think if I had read this at an earlier age I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate what it offers. A book can almost be like a bottle of good wine: Depending on when you pull the cork, the age of the wine offers a different flavor, something different to experience and take away from it. With books, depending on when you crack it open, you can take away a different flavor and experience, except you’re the one that’s aged.
Survivor, in my opinion, is one of Palahniuk’s best work. In ways, I think it is better writing than Fight Club. The underlying theme of suicide, the social issues of TV evangelists and Age of Enlightenment alternative religion, and the element of dual personalities (which is a common element in most of Palahniuk’s work) all come together in a very clever and amusing way with this book.
The story kind of loses its momentum in the middle when Tender Branson becomes the TV Evangelist Messiah, which is why I only gave it four stars, but it picks up the pace and pulls you back in when he joins forces with his long lost twin brother, Adam, and romantic interest, Fertility. All the loose ends are tied up and has a satisfying ending.
This is one of the best chapters I’ve ever read in a novel.
Somewhere en route to Port Vila in the New Hebrides, for my last meal I serve dinner the way I’ve always dreamed.
Anybody caught buttering their bread before breaking it, I promise to shoot them.
Anybody who drinks their beverage with food still in their mouth will also be shot.
Anybody caught spooning toward themself will be shot.
Anybody caught without a napkin in their lap-
Anybody caught using their fingers to move their food-
Anybody who begins eating before everybody is served-
Anybody who blows on food to cool it-
Anybody who talks with food in their mouth-
Anybody who drinks white wine holding their glass by the bowl or drinks red wine holding their glass by the stem-
You will each of you get a bullet in the head.
We are 30,000 feet above the earth, going 455 miles per hour. We’re at a pinnacle of human achievement, and we’re going to eat this meal as civilized human beings.