Every weekend, in basements and parking lots across the country, young men with good white-collar jobs and absent fathers take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded for as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight Club is the invention of Tyler Durden, projectionist, waiter and dark, anarchic genius. And it's only the beginning of his plans for revenge on a world where cancer support groups have the corner on human warmth.
Featuring soap made from human fat, waiters at high-class restaurants who do unmentionable things to soup and an underground organization dedicated to inflicting a violent anarchy upon the land, Palahniuk's apocalyptic first novel is clearly not for the faint of heart. The unnamed (and extremely unreliable) narrator, who makes his living investigating accidents for a car company in order to assess their liability, is combating insomnia and a general sense of anomie by attending a steady series of support-group meetings for the grievously ill, at one of which (testicular cancer) he meets a young woman named Marla. She and the narrator get into a love triangle of sorts with Tyler Durden, a mysterious and gleefully destructive young man with whom the narrator starts a fight club, a secret society that offers young professionals the chance to beat one another to a bloody pulp. Mayhem ensues, beginning with the narrator's condo exploding and culminating with a terrorist attack on the world's tallest building. Writing in an ironic deadpan and including something to offend everyone, Palahniuk is a risky writer who takes chances galore, especially with a particularly bizarre plot twist he throws in late in the book. Caustic, outrageous, bleakly funny, violent and always unsettling, Palahniuk's utterly original creation will make even the most jaded reader sit up and take notice. Movie rights to Fox 2000.
I’ve read it 14 times now
The title pretty much says all there is to know
Raw Emotional Nerves
My second read at Market Harborough’s Beerhouse Book Club also touched upon a raw emotional nerve. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk picks up on anti-capitalist themes. Palahnuik’s sentiments made me feel sympathetic to his characters yet uncomfortable in their methods. ‘The Fight Club’ established by the narrator and Tyler Durden is a disparate band of unhappy and disillusioned men who join together in bare-knuckle fistfight reinforced by membership rules that: “You do NOT talk about fight club.” The club’s endless fistfights lead to a subversive culture of brutality and to the even more threatening and severe ‘Project Mayhem’ an anarchists’ movement of violent civil disobedience in the cause to defend masculinity and destroy consumerism. The narrator, a man whose insomnia leads him to mental ill-health, eventually learns through Marla Singer, a woman he meets at a support group and Tyler’s lover, that Durden is indeed himself and seeks to prevent further wrongdoing by eliminating himself. The complex subjects of suffering, Schizophrenia, charisma, extremism, mysterious means, manliness and fundamental antipathy toward capitalism is full-on. And my exposure to the negativities of a company failure due to competitors’ monetary greed when I believed I was doing right by my family and society contrasted sharply with Fight Club’s narrative. Yet Palahniuk makes his point well. Capitalism cannot resolve all of societies problems or even family ills. It can make a mockery out of all and any. However, the unanswerable question is: How do men behave in response to mental-ill health and the impact unrestrained capitalism plays on a male soul? Or even a perceived reduced role in society in the face of radical feminism? Rebellion or disobedience against enforced imperfections and systemic failure, possibly yes. Through violence? No. A very thought-provoking book, well worth reading aside from the movie.
Couldn't put it down!