Off The Grid: The Catalyst

Off The Grid: The Catalyst

by Brian Courtney

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Overview

Off The Grid: The Catalyst by Brian Courtney

A man without a name who called himself Pan wanted something more, something better. For as long as he could remember, something or someone was gnawing at him, calling him, draining him, making him hungry, making him strive for more, more of everything. Living the life and pursuing the happiness, Pan lived the "American Dream". Like so many cheerleaders, Pan worked hard to climb the ladder and he bought almost everything that "they" sold. Avoiding the questions and numbing the pain, Pan turned to drink and did drugs, he listened to loud music and had meaningless sex. He was a true consumer and a glutton until all the hedonism and all the materialism could no longer fill the void and help fulfill his life, his liberty and his pursuit of happiness.
The sports cars and white picket fences of the picturesque dream were now blurry and misshapen. His dream was shattered and the cracks revealed. Now he waits and watches and fears for the future that he knows is so near. Living in the shadows and preparing for tomorrow, he hopes that he is wrong, but knows that he is right.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940151231176
Publisher: Brian Courtney
Publication date: 03/20/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 270
File size: 279 KB

Customer Reviews

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Off the Grid: The Catalyst 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Courtney created Pan who the audience with either love or hate with no in between. Pan, intelligent, little belligerent, but right though seemingly crazy, keeps the readers interested with his uncaring voice with small glimpses of what matters to him. The first half of the book is littered with great imagery and exposition into who Pan is, while the second half focuses more on the events at hand that Pan is going through. Frustratingly, the ending reads like a cliffhanger and leaves the reader wanting more.
Grymm More than 1 year ago
Pan is living the paranoid nightmare we all feel tickling in the back of our minds. Brian Courtney did a great job of painting the perfect picture of youth rebellion turned paranoia in creating Pan. Pan's hatred for authority starts to bleed into every interaction. He encapsulated (albeit to a bit of an extreme) everything we feel when we think "Big Brother" has wronged us. Pan spends most of this story fighting the world that seems pitted against him as he searches for himself. The narrator shares the voice, and Courtney does a great job of keeping the novel flowing, even if it does get a bit long in some parts. Pan's journey is a great way to spend a day, and it'll keep you hooked until the very end. Pan is very much the person you don't like, but you can't help but feel for him in his journey. Definitely a page-turner and worth the read!
Bibliophanatic More than 1 year ago
I liked the narrative style of this book – down to earth and conversational, but much more. Brian Courtney’s writing is rich with description; he doesn’t overlook attention to detail in perfectly creating each scene. The novel included an unexpected nod towards sci-fi, but maintained its focus as purely a work of dystopian fiction. I think that the phrase ‘Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you’ seems quite pertinent to illustrate the plot. Although this trope could have been traversed in a hackneyed, predictable way, Courtney has avoided that and penned an original and engaging story concerning perhaps the ultimate antidisestablishmentarian. I recommend this book to everyone who likes to eschew donning rose-tinted glasses in their reading.
Monika_Landers More than 1 year ago
I’d previously heard of transgressive fiction but this was the first time I read a book that really made me understand the genre. Pan is a protagonist I’m sure some will struggle to get their head around, and perhaps even more so to like him.  We journey with him on his self destructive path of confusion and discovery. The writing is very accomplished, and as the story develops it can be challenging, while also very engaging, so quite a miasma of complexities all within one book.  This definitely isn’t a book to lull you to sleep, but if you’d rather find something different that challenges your sensibilities and holds your attention long after you finish I think this will be for you.
BookBlast More than 1 year ago
Courtney’s novel questions consumerism and trust in authority and especially holds a mirror up to the accepted ‘American dream’. If you’ve never thought to question the powers that be before reading this, you may well find yourself doing so afterwards. And that’s no bad thing. To want to know answers, explanations, reasons and rationales is surely a good thing, an innately human thing. Children always want to know why and adults can all too often grow out of this search for knowledge and be sidetracked by different priorities. This is essentially the tale of a rebel loner, but a rebel loner with intelligence and a conscience, who never lost his curiosity and urge to know more than he’s being told. The story blurs the easily assumed roles of good and bad in both people and institutions of authority.
BookItUp More than 1 year ago
“Off The Grid” may be the story of the supreme American sceptic, with a love story element, but when it comes down to it I would classify it as a thriller, in that I never knew what was coming next or what the characters were about to do. It’s not that the characters weren’t well-written enough, but that each chapter is full of events that that I didn’t predict – especially the ending. I definitely felt a sense of dread as I got further into the book and empathized with the main character to some extent. He - and I - knew something sinister was afoot, but how everything eventually unfolds was nevertheless surprising. I feel that the moral of the story could be summarized as “don’t trust those in power even – or especially – when things are being implemented ‘for our own security’”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a story with a protagonist like myself, who continuously questions the status quo. A good amount of the character’s cynicism is revealed early in the story, which made me feel right at home. I even learned some interesting mythology facts after only reading a couple of pages, which is always a bonus, plus I learned about American politics too. In a way this book is the epitome of transgressive fiction as it absolutely, definitively and directly criticises the establishment and marks out the main character, Pan, as entirely opposed to it. Pan’s thoughts do sound like they’re bordering on the hysterical occasionally however, and on the edge of paranoia. This is a conspiracy theory novel through and through and a pretty entertaining one too.
Jamztoma More than 1 year ago
One Man against the “Institution” Pan A. McCandless is an independent-thinking soul. First of all, his real name is not really Pan. It was earned because of his personal story’s resemblance to the mythological creature consisting of women and mischief. He was tutored by his mother right from his childhood on working hard and achieving the “American dream.” Pan also had a fair share of getting in trouble with the police right from his teenage years where he went to juvenile jail and got into a scuffle with racist white teenage prison mates who had wanted him to join them and their “white supremacy” agenda. Pan had a soft spot for minorities and was totally against the police stating that they did not live up to their “serve and protect” policy but used their job privileges and duties dangerously. Aside from these troubles, Pan sleeps with two women: one was a waitress who lived above a bar he frequented and one was a bank employee who he met when he went to her workplace to deposit a load of money he acquired through drug dealing means. This book drew my curiosity when it introduced Pan as similar to the mythological being with the same name. I am a fan of such and I also was lured in by Pan’s solo, daring behavior as well as the mention of the “Institution” because this is the first time I have heard of this subject. What this book means by the “Institution” is the government itself and how everyone’s data is kept by it from the day we enter the world at birth so that everyone of us are easily tracked by the government at all times. Here’s the book’s complete description of what the “Institution” means: “According to Pan, The Institution was everyone and everything all the way down to the streets on which we drive. The Institution is the government and the infrastructure. It is the schools and clergies. It is where we live and where we shop. It is where we work and where we come together for fun and it is all around us at all times. Everyplace we go and everything we do has a feeling of autonomy, a sense that there isn’t any connection. This seeming disconnect, this feeling of separation is how The Institution retains its power.” This book contains violence and sex but not graphically so it was readable and likable. It was exciting right from the beginning and aligns with current events involving the law and illegal immigrants and their connections to cartels, drugs, and murder. I thought the author knew quite a lot about this world or must have done extensive research or was talking from personal experience. Pan is pretty much your stereotypical masculine character as he loves his women and booze very much. I recommend him and this book to those who love stories having to do with the law and the whole issue of drugs and the life of a lawbreaking citizen who sees the government as an unfair entity abusing its power and privileges. It’s a very interesting read and I guess I enjoyed reading about Pan and his very individualistic views…
Bookie__Wookie More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a good book to see you through a long plane ride, then you need to pick up a copy of 'Off the Grid' by Brian Courtney. I loved the story and it was such a page turner, I finished this novel in one sitting on a lazy Sunday. I can't believe this is a debut novel, it really is so well written, with such a fast pace that drags you along, at breakneck speed. Pan has so many questions about his life and life in general. Maybe he thought he would have it all and then everything would fall into place. The void inside him would fill and he could settle into his American Dream. But, that's not the way it works out for Pan. Maybe that's not surprising as he isn't the most likeable character – he is rude and sees no reason not to indulge in morally questionable activities. But, he still has a unique voice, and his point of view is really thought provoking. You won't be able to put it down.
MichelleG More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love to read and I rarely leave the house without a book in my bag, but it isn't often that I get so fully immersed in a book, that it feels like I am taking the journey with the main character. But, I found myself fully involved in Brian Courtney's 'Off the Grid' and the character, Pan, such was the skill as which this book was written. It is one of those no frills novels, that gets straight into the story, without taking pointless tangents, full of long descriptions. After a few pages, nag you're into the gritty story of a man disillusioned by the American Dream, set on a path of self-destruction. If was such an interesting and thought provoking read. Be careful what you wish for.
AlanHiggins More than 1 year ago
I was shocked when I discovered that this was Brian Courtney's debut novel as it was so accomplished. The plot is a really unique take on the satire that is so popular in contemporary fiction, and the lead character Pan was believable and in a way, really endearing. We have all had that point in our lives where we pretend that we are happy and satisfied with out lives, at least on the surface. For most of us this doesn't last, but for Pan it has become his default mode. He achieved the much sought after, American Dream. With plenty of money and power, he can get pretty much whatever he wants, but it isn't enough. Happiness was hard to come buy and ultimately the more he tried to find it with sex and drugs, the bigger the void in himself, and the closer to destruction he comes. It is a thrilling read and one that might just stop you from constantly wanting more.