Chuck Palahniuk
Publication Date:
Number of Pages:
289, numbered backwards
Literary Fiction, Psychological Fiction
Geographical Setting:
a plane about to crash into Australia, various other locations throughout the US and the world via flashback
Time Period:
present-day/alternate reality of present-day

Plot Summary: Tender Branson, the last surviving member of the so-called “Creedish Death Cult”, dictates his life story into the recorder of a plane about to crash into the Australian outback.  From his childhood in the Creedish Church District, to his years of work for a family he never sees, to his meeting and subsequent sort-of romance with the elusive Fertility Hollis, to his encounters with his older brother, Adam, this is a twisted but darkly funny look at cults and post-cult life, as seen through Tender’s eyes.

Subject Headings: Cults
Religion — Commercialization


Suicide victims


Airplane accidents

Mass media

Popular culture
Black humor
Psychological fiction

Satirical fiction
Pacific Northwest literature

Appeal: relentless, steady, detailed, eccentric, intriguing, quirky, vivid, cinematic, strong language, open-ended, layered, thought-provoking, contemporary, evocative, darker, gritty, hard-edged, unpretentious, psychological, edgy, candid, spare, witty

Three terms that best describe this book: Eccentric, Psychological, Edgy

Similar Authors and Works (Fiction): The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders (psychological fiction, ambitious and power-hungry people)

Rushing to Paradise by J.G. Ballard (attempt at utopian community gone horribly awry)

Home Land: A Novel by Sam Lipsyte (hilarious confession of a “failure”)

Similar Authors and Works (Nonfiction): Evil Harvest: The True Story of Cult Murder in the American Heartland by Rod Colvin (the impact of cults and cult leaders)

Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History by Philip Jenkins (a history of cults in America)

Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America
by James D. Tabor and Eugene V. Gallagher (an in-depth look at a specific cult, and other cults throughout America)

Name: Anne


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