Survivor (Palahniuk novel)

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Survivor, novel by Chuck Palahniuk.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Today is just one of those days the sun comes out to really humiliate you.
  • Someone bent on suicide won't have much sense of humor left.
  • 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.
  • There's a terrible dark joy when the only person who knows all your secrets is finally dead.
  • 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.
  • Here in the cockpit of Flight 2039, the first of the four engines has just flamed out. Where we're at right here is the beginning of the end."
You have a choice. Live or die.
Every breath is a choice.
Every minute is a choice.
Every time you don't throw yourself down the stairs, that's a choice. Every time you don't crash your car, you re-enlist.
  • The only difference between a suicide and a martyrdom is press coverage.
  • People used what they called a telephone because they hated being close together and they were too scared of being alone.
  • 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.
  • You think maybe if you just work harder and faster, you can hold off the chaos, but then one day you're changing a patio lightbulb with a 5-year life span and 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 kind of energy you used to have. You start to slow down.
  • Reality means you live until you die, the agent says. "The real truth is nobody wants reality.
  • This is passive aggression in action"
  • 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."
  • It's not that I want to get married.
I admire guys who can commit to a tattoo.
  • Kill myself?
Thanks, I say. No, thanks.
Let's not rush anything here.
  • 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.
  • People shopping for a messiah want quality. Nobody is going to follow a loser. When it comes to choosing a savior, they won't settle for just a human being.
  • 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.
  • Because tanning and steroids are only a problem if you plan to live a long time.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • What people forget is a journey to nowhere starts with a single step, too.
  • You’re that tree falling in the forest that nobody gives a rat’s ass about.
  • 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.
The bad news is we don’t have any control.
The good news is you can’t make any mistakes.
  • 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.
  • Since change is constant, you wonder if people crave death because it's the only way they can get anything really finished.
  • Do I need to tell you that prison makes Sodom and Gomorrah look like Minneapolis and St. Paul by comparison?
    • p. 84
  • Whoever invented this routine, the agent tells me, they pretty much run things in hell.
  • 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.
  • The joke is, we all have the same punchline.
  • You realize that there's no point in doing anything if nobody's watching.
  • It doesn't matter if you do anything. If nobody notices, your life will add up to a big zero.
  • 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.

  • 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?

  • No matter how many luxuries you get, something will be missing. No matter how carefully you choose, you'll never be totally happy.
  • 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)