You are here

Book review: <i>Survivor</i> by Chuck Palahniuk

You know when you read a novel and get disappointed particularly because the blurb made it sound so damn great?!?

Well that's what I got with Survivor. What? A man crashing to his certain death aboard a 747 records his life-story on a black box? What? He was once an obsessive compulsive house-cleaner who developed detailed schemes to rob department stores by returning unpurchased items at the complaints desk. He is overweight and has an unrequited love for a woman with a plethora of morbid fascinations. Sounds like a molotov cock-tail of the sort of anecdotal, intense narration for which Palahniuk has become renowned...right?

Well it is and it isn't. The narrator is absolutely engaging as he so often is in Palahniuk's novels. But there is something lacking...or perhaps, nothing beyond the expected. In fact, my problem was not so much that any of my expectations proved false but rather that they proved true... and that was all. There's nothing worse than a good book which is exactly as good as you expected it to be for exactly the reasons you expected... in other words, what I'd like to see from Palahniuk is something other than a character-driven first person novel evoking the memoir and the epistolary novel. Maybe my standards are too high... Die-hard Palahniuk fans will certainly love it. I'm told I have to reach Lullaby to see the man try new things... maybe that's what I'll do...

In short

Title: Survivor
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Publisher: Anchor; 1st Anchor Books ed edition
ISBN: 0385498721
Year published: 2000
Pages: 304
Genre(s): Comedy, Contemporary literature, Thriller

This book has also been reviewed by Bridget. You can read her review here.

Review Type: