Survivor (Palahniuk novel)

1999 novel by Chuck Palahniuk
(Redirected from Survivor)

Survivor is a satirical novel by Chuck Palahniuk, first published in February 1999. The book tells the story of Tender Branson, a member of the Creedish Church, a death cult. The chapters and pages are numbered backwards in the book, beginning with Chapter 47 on page 289 and ending with page 1 of Chapter 1.

Quotes edit

  • People don't want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messes cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.
    • Chapter 47
  • What you forget when you're planning a hijack by yourself is somewhere along the line, you might need to neglect your hostages just long enough so you can use the bathroom.
    • Chapter 47
  • Someone bent on suicide won't have much sense of humor left.
    • Chapter 46
  • This is fish number six hundred and forty-one in a lifetime of a goldfish. My parents bought me the first one to teach me about loving and caring for another living breathing creature of God. Six hundred and forty fish later, the only thing I know is everything you love will die. The first time you meet that someone special, you can count on them one day being dead and in the ground.
    • Chapter 46
  • People used what they called a telephone because they hated being close together and they were too scared of being alone.
    • Chapter 45
  • Whether you clean a stain, a fish, a house, you want to think you're making the world a better place, but really you're just letting things get worse.You think if you work harder and faster, you can hold off the chaos, but then one day you're changing a patio lightbulb with a five-year life span and you realize how you'll only be changing this light maybe ten more times before you'll be dead. Time is running out. There isn't the energy you used to have. You start to slow down. You start to give in.
    • Chapter 44
  • Today is just one of those days the sun comes out to really humiliate you.
    • Chapter 44
  • I just want some proof that death isn't the end. Even if crazed zombies grabbed me in some dark hall one night, even if they tore me apart, at least that wouldn't be the absolute end. There would be some comfort in that.
    • Chapter 43
  • The craving inside of me is to be clutched at by some dead girl. To put my ear to her chest and be hearing nothing. Even getting munched on by zombies beats the idea that I'm only flesh and blood, skin and bone. Demon or angel or evil spirit, I just need something to show itself. Ghoulie or ghosty or long-legged beastie, I just want my hand held.
    • Chapter 43
  • “A girl calls and asks, "Does it hurt very much to die?" "Well, sweetheart," I tell her, "yes, but it hurts a lot more to keep living.”
    • Chapter 40
  • There's a terrible dark joy when the only person who knows all your secrets is finally dead.
    • Chapter 39
  • Kill myself? Thanks, I say. No thanks. Let's Not rush anything here.
    • Chapter 31
  • After the caseworker told me about everybody in the Creedish district colony being dead and all, the first thing I did was start smoking. THe smartest things I've ever done is start smoking. When the caseworker dropped by to say rise and shine, and the only other surviving Creedish went south last night, then I sat myself in the kitchen and upped my suicide process with a good stiff drink.
    • Chapter 31
  • The truth is you can be orphaned again and again and again.
    The truth is you will be.
    And the secret is, this will hurt less and less each time until you can't feel a thing.
    • Chapter 30
  • Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be. Every time you don't throw yourself down the stairs, that's a choice. Every time you don't crash your car, you reenlist.
    • Chapter 30
  • The joke is, we all have the same punchline.
    • Chapter 30
  • If your body is a temple, you can pile up too much deferred maintenance. If your body is a temple, mine was a real fixer-upper.
    • Chapter 28
  • The same way every generation reinvents Christ, the agent's giving me the same makeover. The agent says nobody is going to worship anybody with my roll of flab around his middle. These days, people aren't going to fill stadiums to get preached at by somebody who isn't beautiful.
    • Chapter 28
  • You're going up and up and up and not getting anywhere. It's the illusion of progress. What you want to think is your salvation. What people forget is a journey to nowhere starts with a single step, too.
    • Chapter 28
  • According to the agent, the biggest factor that makes you a saint is the amount of press coverage you get.
    • Chapter 28
  • The key to salvation is how much attention you get. How high a profile you get. Your audience share. Your exposure. Your name recognition. Your press following. The buzz.
    • Chapter 28
  • You realize people take drugs because it's the only real personal adventure left to them in their time-constrained, law-and-order, property-lined world. It's only in drugs or death we'll see anything new, and death is just too controlling.
    • Chapter 28
  • You realize that our mistrust of the future makes it hard to give up the past. We can't give up our concept of who we were...Our way of getting nostalgic for what we just threw in the trash, it's all because we're afraid to evolve. Grow, change, lose weight, reinvent ourselves. Adapt.
    • Chapter 28
  • Since change is constant, you wonder if people crave death because it's the only way they can get anything really finished.
    • Chapter 28
  • You realize that there's no point in doing anything if nobody's watching. You wonder, if there had been a low turnout at the crucifixion, would they have rescheduled?
  • You’re that tree falling in the forest that nobody gives a rat’s ass about.
    • Chapter 28
  • It's a shame," the agent says, "how medical technology is still lagging behind the marketing side of things. I mean, we've had all the sales support in place for years, the coffee mug giveaways to physicians, the feel-good magazine ads, the total product launch, but it's the same old violin in the background R&D is still years behind. The lab monkeys are still dropping like flies."
    • Chapter 27
  • Reality means you live until you die, the agent says. "The real truth is nobody wants reality.
    • Chapter 27
  • I told the agent, I figured I'd spend my first thousand years of Hell in some entry-level position, but after that I wanted to move into management. Be a real team player. Hell is going to see enormous growth in market share over the next millennium. I wanted to ride the crest.
    The agent said that sounded pretty realistic.
    • Chapter 27
  • Whoever invented this routine, the agent tells me, they pretty much run things in hell.
    • Chapter 27
  • When you get famous, dinner isn't food anymore; it's twenty ounces of protein, ten ounces of carbohydrates, salt-free, fat-free, sugar-free fuel.
    • Chapter 26
  • Imagine how you'd feel if your whole life turned into a job you couldn't stand. No, everybody thinks their whole life should be at least as much fun as masturbation. I'd like to see these people even try to live out of hotel rooms and find low-fat fuel room service and do a half way convincing job of faking a deep inner peace and at-oneness with God.
    • Chapter 26
  • Because tanning and steroids are only a problem if you plan to live a long time.
    • Chapter 26
  • Just for the record, after my first three-month cycle of Deca-Durabolin I couldn't reach down far enough to tie my shoes; my arms were that big. Not a problem, the agent says, and he hires someone to tie all my shoes for me.
    • Chapter 26
  • Only God has the right to surprise his children with death.
    • Chapter 25
  • There are only patterns, patterns on top of patterns, patterns that affect other patterns. Patterns hidden by patterns. Patterns within patterns.
    If you watch close, history does nothing but repeat itself.
    What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher. What we can’t understand we call nonsense. What we can’t read we call gibberish.
    There is no free will.
    There are no variables.
    • Chapter 23
The bad news is we don’t have any control. The good news is you can’t make any mistakes.
  • Do I need to tell you that prison makes Sodom and Gomorrah look like Minneapolis and St. Paul by comparison?
    • Chapter 18
  • No matter how many luxuries you get, something will be missing. No matter how carefully you choose, you'll never be totally happy.
    • Chapter 16
  • "The Vietnam War didn't cause the mess of the 1960's" Adam says. "Drugs didn't cause ot. Well only one drug did. It was the birth control pill. For the first time in history, everybody could have all the sex they wanted. Everybody could have that kind of power."
    • Chapter 9
  • "Throughout history the most powerful rulers have been sex maniacs. And he asks, does their sex appetite come from having power, or does their will for power come from their sex appetite? "And if you don't crave sex," he says, "will you crave power?" No, he says. "And instead of electing decent, boring, sexually repressed officials," he says "maybe we should find the horniest candidates and maybe they can get some good work done."
    • Chapter 9
  • The same way you might look at your leg cut off at the knee and not feel anything at first, maybe this is just shock. But I hope not. I don't want it to wear off. I pray not to feel anything ever again. Because if it wears off, this is all going to hurt so much. This is going to hurt for the rest of my life.
    • Chapter 7
  • You realize that there's no point in doing anything if nobody's watching.
  • More and more everything in my life was a fix for an earlier fix for an earlier fix until I forget what the original problem was.
  • Everything we can do is wrong as long as we're still alive.
  • The feeling is you have no control. The feeling is that we're being delivered.
  • The shortest distance between the points is a time line, a schedule, a map of your time, the itinerary for the rest of your life. Nothing shows you the straight line from here to death like a list.
  • You can tell people the truth, but they'll never believe you until the event. Until it's too late. In the meantime, the truth will just piss them off and get you in a lot of trouble.
  • This is passive aggression in action"
  • It's not that I want to get married.
I admire guys who can commit to a tattoo.
  • And if Christ had died from a barbiturate overdose, alone on the bathroom floor, would He be in Heaven?
  • Right now, me getting killed would be redundant.
  • You could stab a knife right through my heart and you'd be too late.
  • There is no Hell. There is no heaven.
  • Scratched on the bathroom stall, it says, Heaven, the words say, is all-you-can-eat pussy buffet.
Heaven is getting fucked up the ass.
Go to Hell faggot.
Been there.
Go suck shit.
Done that."
  • It doesn't matter if you do anything. If nobody notices, your life will add up to a big zero. People are looking for how to put everything together. They need a unified field theory that combines glamor and holiness, fashion and spirituality. People need to reconcile being good and being good-looking.
  • And the sky is blue and righteous in every direction.

The Sun is total and burning and just right there, and today is a beautiful day. Testing, testing, one, two-

External links edit

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Works by Chuck Palahniuk
  Novels     Fight Club (1996) · Survivor (1999) · Invisible Monsters (1999) · Choke (2001) · Lullaby (2002) · Diary (2003) · Haunted (2005) · Rant (2007) · Snuff (2008) · Pygmy (2009) · Tell-All  
  (2010) · Damned (2011) · Invisible Monsters Remix (2012) · Doomed (2013) · Beautiful You (2014) · Make Something Up (2015)  
  Non‑fiction     Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon (2003) · Stranger than Fiction: True Stories (2004)  
  Comic books     Fight Club 2 (2015–2016)  
  Film adaptations     Fight Club (1999) · Choke (2008)