Monday, May 14, 2012
I read Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Survivor’ on buses, in bars, in the bed of someone amazing, and lying in the grass absorbing beautiful sunshine. I finished Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Survivor’ sitting on my bed alone, drinking cider, listening to the rain hit my window – and in this moment, I realised that no-one truly gets out of here alive.
‘Survivor’, without giving too much away, is the story of Creedish-cult-survivor-turned-pop-culture-messiah Tender Branson, his psychic quasi-girlfriend Fertility; and his twin brother, Adam Branson. Together without Tender’s knowledge, the three propagate a plan to save the world, resulting in mass murder and a plane spiralling out of control in the Australian desert, leaving behind the truth, but no survivors.
Palahniuk’s writing is hilariously dark, witty at times and tear-inducing at others, but above all else, it’s brutally honest. Why present hope for the future when you don’t see it? Many modern novels reject the idea of dystopic society in order to cultivate optimism within their readers; Palahniuk does no such thing.
The true nature of people, pack mentality and painful realism is explored using the upended concept of The One Who Lived, a recurring theme within literature throughout the ages – Palahniuk’s twist is to question whether the Survivor truly Survives, or if instead the horrors haunt forever.
After all, we all end up in the ground (or with our ashes recklessly spilled on the ground at airports, of course) when we’re done with it all. None of us make it out kicking, so who’s to say if the fight was ever worth it?