Monday, January 25, 2016

A romping pantomime showcasing people's obsessions with secrets and confessions.

SurvivorSurvivor by Chuck Palahniuk
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Pacy, inventive, often funny, dark, disturbing and plain weird! Welcome to the mind of Chuck Palancuick"

Testing, testing, one, two, three

Are you reading this?

Testing, testing, one, two, three

Is this thing on?

Testing, testing, one, two, three

Yes Chuck, I get that you like writing a lot of that literacy term called, drama of sensibility. Maybe it's time to look at using something different.

Survivor makes Fight Club look like a mild experience when leading towards the angst spewing forth from the authors mind. Pessimistic is the word I'd use. Half glass full sort-of-guy? No, more like empty glass sort-of-guy.

So, say hello to Tender Branson, our narrator and crazy-guy ex-cultist and now a handy man/chef, who is (soon to be) the last survivor of a religious suicide cult. The opening starts with Tender narrating how he hijacked a Boeing 747 and then leads on to how he found himself in that situation. Why's he hijacked a plane? He wants to go out in a blaze of glory (que Bon Jovi, thanks). While yapping into the recording blackbox, he tells the reader about his experience within the Creedish Cult, which is overlapped with narrative from his life outside the cult - that working for a rich-to-do couple and his past-time hobby - picking up the phone and giving those in need advice... to kill themselves. Life is dull, the world isn't kind, so why bother? Here's the empty glass sort-of-guy metaphor. Even when stardom hits, he is still the death-wishing, dull, pessimistic persona that begins to grate in the prose later. I did enjoy how Tender's stream of consciousness unravelled throughout the narrative. What I didn't, was how depressing the read was. I was feeling like I needed to shower after reading or grabbing something alcoholic to sedate myself. I was soaked in irony.

The writing style is just lax, informal, yes, lax to the point of being sketchy. At times I was having difficulty piecing together what was being said, especially between Tender and Fertility (great name). Their dialogue, at times, made absolutely no sense at time. It was in affect wordplay, that is all. Overlapping themes are placed to both confuse and entice the reader to piece together what the hell is going on. Very clever. We've got themes of religion, fame, pornography, sex, philosophy of life, drug abuse, how to eat and lobster and how to keep to your daily planner. Brilliant.

There are some strong comparison to Fight Club the social dissolution one man has against society, yes. Homemade recipes and self tips on how to remove stains too how to make bombs and chemical weapons, yes. One man's narrative with so many twists and turns, involving ambiguous characters and towards the end, leading to death, yes. Why change it if it isn't broken? Well, it's just lazy writing to rehash something over and over again. Take note. Good read, just a little on the 'read it, skip it' sort-of-thing.

We're all living within this fake plastic hotbed of social dissatisfaction - celebrities rule and we feed them.

Welcome to planet Earth.

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