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Fight Club: A Novel Paperback – October 17, 2005
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The first rule about fight club is you don't talk about fight club.
In his debut novel, Chuck Palahniuk showed himself to be his generation's most visionary satirist. Fight Club's estranged narrator leaves his lackluster job when he comes under the thrall of Tyler Durden, an enigmatic young man who holds secret boxing matches in the basement of bars. There two men fight "as long as they have to." A gloriously original work that exposes what is at the core of our modern world.
- Washington Post Book World
“An astonishing debut.... ?a dark, unsettling, and nerve-chafing satire.”
- Seattle Times
“A noir fable with a potent punch.... A genuine, two-fisted talent.”
- Katherine Dunn
“Amazing and artful disturbance. ?Fight Club ?is for everybody who thinks and loves the fine American language.”
- Barry Hannah
About the Author
- Publisher : W. W. Norton (October 17, 2005)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0393327345
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393327342
- Item Weight : 6.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #147,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2019
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I decided to read this book as though I’ve never seen the movie and am going to write my review as such. What the hell did I just read? This book was crazy from start to finish. The writing is impeccable and the story is gritty, dirty, and insane. It’s uncomfortable at times but not enough to make you want to stop reading. No, you definitely want to finish it, just to see what the hell happens in the end. How could this story come to a close?
The narrator (unnamed throughout the book) hates his life, hates his job, hates basically everything. Everywhere he goes, he hopes something bad will happen that will take him out. He suffers from insomnia. He goes to different support groups to feel better about his life. One day he meets Tyler Durden and his whole life changes. Tyler’s clearly insane but he’s so charming that you can’t help but go with everything he says. Until Tyler gets a little too insane and the entire life of the narrator is coming unraveled. Perhaps everything isn’t quite as it seems?
While I did like the story overall, it’s mostly because of the writing. I did not like the narrator at all. I think he’s petulant and self-indulgent. We get it, you hate your life. Do something about it. Don’t just complain. It’s not up to “the man” to change your life and it’s not their fault you’re a loser. Going through life creating destruction isn’t going to make your life better.
This book definitely is not for the faint of heart or stomach. If you’re sensitive at all, this book probably isn’t for you. But if you’re into a gritty story with a super unreliable narrator, this might just be the story for you. I said the writing is amazing. The story set up is great. It really is a super interesting concept. Don’t let my opinion of the narrator sway you.
Having watched the movie was the strongest reason why I didn't feel the need to read the book. It always bumped in my mental vault, the fact that someone had come up with such a powerful and compelling idea, executed it impecably on screen (Norton's and Pit's acting was phenomenal; perhaps Pit's finest performances). I finally gave the book a try. I was surprised to see that the book was short. It didn't put me off at all, it was just an observation, especially after having watched the movie I expected a lengthier book.
As I read through the pages I was aware of the nuances with the movie, something that made my neurons glitch from time to time, for I expected one thing, yet found something else. Yet, Palahniuk's mastery of his unique style and narrative kept me reading and reading, constantly trying to decipher why the writing style was so good and so bold and so... damn original.
The story itself is strong, consistent to the bone and detail oriented without being overwhelming. I figured Fight Club was very successful because it defined a putrid, rotten world that exists within the human realm. Fight Club gave this world a face, a personality, a tangible morphology we could finally grasp. This world occupies the mind of the bluest, the raw material of hatred towards the organized, paved by those who seek to control through the creation of rules that determine a beings reality. This reality has a big blind-spot, and the world Palanhniuk described in Fight Club defined this blind-spot and exploited it. This blind-spot is an individual's need to feel unique, and yet, the opposing desire to feel he is part of a movement, a group, to be part of a collective. To be part of Fight Club one had to slay one's reality, to lay naked midst the ugly and emerged reborn, only to join a new set of dogmas. This is portrayed as the idea of propagating organized-chaos, an idea that spread through the mediocre like a virus. The virus lived among society cloaked under the veil of working men, men who seemed to follow a set of social rules; the virus unveiled during the night, during Fight Club. An integrant of Fight Club was a menacing soul in search of freedom, from social expectations and the boxed-in sensation felt by binding rules of how one must supposedly behave midst peers. The soul within Fight Club sought freedom, even from itself, only to be lured by its desire to belong, to be part of the clan: the paradox of wanting to be unique and yet, the inevitability of desiring to be part of cult, to be part of the change. Man's demise is served cold in Fight Club, for example, when Tyler makes soap out of fat rendered by liposuction--society's shame--, sold back to the thinned as soap, purchasing what once was thought as biological waste, now regarded precious and a standard of "high society".
To leave aside the story, I would like to mention Palahniuk's writing style. To achieve the deliverance of a message so profound, in such a raw manner, using short sentences and explicit imagery is indeed a literary achievement. I truly enjoyed this read, far better than watching the movie. The movie, however, is also an achievement in itself.
Engaging from page one throughout.
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As a man I can understand the main protagonists cynical view but what starts out as an awakening of his own lack of position, turns into wanting to cause trouble to innocent people. That's where I went off it a bit. Like with pranksters who pick on people, who you know won't enjoy it or find it funny; just feels a bit off.
The point that everyone dies and everything is falling apart is all well and good; but the anarchy nonsense just seemed too far. Like the hidden army, it just seems too far fetched. To go from a couple of guys hitting each other to trying to reshape the world; just not got that plausibility to it.
I didn't find it a bad book but I wanted to tell the main lead to get over himself. We all feel lost and aimless but you need a focus. That focus not being knocking a fellow man black and blue.
“Marla said she wanted to get pregnant. Marla said she wanted to have Tyler’s abortion. “ (page 59) Fantastic. How original.
I read online that Marla “is a variant of the name Marlene, which comes from Mary Magdalene”.
“walking through the beaded wet car silence of streets where it’s just rained” (page 75) I just love it.
I think it’s easier to follow the book than it is to follow the film.
Many people will know of "Fight Club" because of the film with Ed Norton and Brad Pitt. The movie does an excellent job of capturing the story and much of the dialogue is taken from this book. In written form though you get further insight into the mind of the unnamed narrator and his views on the world.
As a novel "Fight Club" explores a number of themes as its narrator struggles to regain his sense of identity in the modern world. There are a number of scenes of fairly shocking violence and criminality as the novel tries to break away from societal norms. As such the movie has attracted some mindless fans of anarchistic behaviour but reading the novel you see that while not encouraging such behaviour in the context of the novel it seems entirely justified.
This is a really important novel for the 21st Century as the media around us continues to tell us who we are and how we should behave. "Fight Club" is not telling people to copy its standards of behaviour but it is saying that people should think for themselves and re-evaluate what is important in life.
I am Jack's profound sense of unease.