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Fight Club

 
 
Reply Fri 26 Dec, 2008 03:01 pm
Fight Club
by: Chuck Palahniuk
ISBN: ISBN 0-393-03976-5
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co.
(1996)


OVERVIEW:
Considering Fight Club has been turned into a popular motion picture by David Fincher, many are probably already familiar with the story. The book is Chuck Palahniuk's debut novel, and as is typical with his earlier work, it serves as a satire of an aspect of American society as experienced through a character that feels confined by the norms and expectations of society.


In Fight Club, the main character is an insomniac wakes up one day realizing that he is confined by his possessions and career. And then he meets Tyler Durden. Tyler is everything he is not. Tyler is free, confident, and charismatic, and offers him a chance to escape his self-made prison of his life. But Tyler is a psychopath who works low-paying jobs at night to perform deviant behavior who goes on to inspire others who are bored of their mundane lives to take out their frustrations at fight club.

The main character ends up meeting Marla at help groups who has the same lack of disorders that the members have that he does not who Tyler falls in love with. In other words, they become acquainted with each other's company by crashing support groups. Then one day after a business trip, in which his luggage was left behind, he arrives home to 15th floor condo exploded all over the neighborhood.

PRO'S

  • Palahniuk's use of a minimalist writing style. The sentences are short and very conversational with some lines repeated throughout the book. The book obviously stresses verbs and action rather than describing everything. Much is said without being said due to familiar existential themes of searching for identity sprinkled throughout the book.
  • The underlying satire is the gem of the story. The story satirizes consumerism and how people try to find meaning in their life through possessions. The idea of wrecking the beautiful (in the sense of appearance) and turning order to chaos appears constantly.
  • The use of the existential crisis that the main character undergoes. A sense of imprisonment and then a bout with insanity drives the story.
  • Can be read in only a few hours.

CONS

  • The tone of the story is very dark and cynical. At times this takes over the book and makes it feel like it goes too far over the top.
  • At times the narrative seems too choppy due to the over reliance on fragmented sentences.
  • Too some people, some-or maybe even much-of the content may be too extreme for their tastes.
  • Can be read in only a few hours.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The rendering of fat (enjoy the life metaphor built in)
  • Soap making with Marla's mother's collagen
  • The boss encounter about the fight club rules
  • Blackmailing of Tyler's bosses as he is let go from his jobs.
  • All of the encounters with the main character's boss at the office

NOTABLE QUOTES:
"There are a lot of things we don't want to know about the people we love."



(Talking about space travel) "Every planet will take on the corporate identity of whoever rapes it first."


"If you can wake up in a different place. If you can wake up in a different time. Why can't you wake up as a different person?"

"The club is too loud to talk, so after a couple of drinks, everyone feels like the center of attention but completely cutoff from participating with anyone else. You're the corpse in an English murder mystery."

My Rating (1-10): 7.8 - For style and theme I would give the book around an 9, but due to the fact that the book centered around fight club and people beating the crap out of each other, and it really is the old existential crisis repackaged in Generation X clothes, I have to knock down the score a little. All in all though, Fight Club is a fine example of contemporary literature.


This book can be found here at this web site in its entirety as an ebook.
The Burgomeister's Books: Truly free ebook download library (#1)

Or just click on this link to automatically download the ebook

Palahniuk, Chuck - Fight Club
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Kage phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 02:12 pm
@Theaetetus,
I watched the movie before reading the book, but enjoyed both equally. I don't know why I enjoy seeing and reading about people beating each other up... Oh wait I do Wink

Thanks for this review
0 Replies
 
Bones-O
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 02:52 pm
@Theaetetus,
My problem with both the book and the film is that they seemed to me to be exactly as sound-bitey as the propaganda they criticised. Then again, the 'beware false prophets' angle might justify this. I thought the book very entertainingly written, but not good literature. Which is fine.
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 04:01 pm
@Bones-O,
Bones-O! wrote:
My problem with both the book and the film is that they seemed to me to be exactly as sound-bitey as the propaganda they criticised. Then again, the 'beware false prophets' angle might justify this. I thought the book very entertainingly written, but not good literature. Which is fine.


I wouldn't say that the book was good literature either, but based on a class I took on contemporary literature, I would say that it is relative to the era it was written in, and the style that it employs. Much contemporary literature is written with a similar minimalist style that Palahniuk uses, but it is very banal, and often about peoples boring piddly existences.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Mar, 2009 03:58 pm
@Theaetetus,
0 Replies
 
Bones-O
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Mar, 2009 11:35 am
@Theaetetus,
My favorite line: "I want bowel cancer."
0 Replies
 
Kage phil
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Mar, 2009 11:37 am
@Theaetetus,
This is one of my favorites

Only after disaster can we be resurrected.
0 Replies
 
Phronimos
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2009 12:32 am
@Theaetetus,
If you want some heavier, deeper, more textured literature, as you implied, I'd suggest The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner)--this is a pretty difficult one though--and All the King's Men (Robert Penn Warren).

Also, I'm not sure if you think minimalist styles, given your comment on Fight Club's style, are capable of being characteristic of great literature. I'd definitely suggest some Hemingway as well if you're skeptical.
0 Replies
 
dharma bum
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 11:34 am
@Theaetetus,
This is one of my favorite books, and probably my second favorite film. I think that the novel is very underrated as far as it's ideas go. It's great in showing what a sickened society we really live in.

You can't really look at it as saying that beating the crap out of each other is a good idea, but the concept remains the same. Liberation achieved through giving the middle finger to consumerism. Enlightenment achieved from freeing the body of material desire. It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

My personal favorite scene was Raymond K. Hessel. "Tomorrow his breakfast will taste better than you and I could ever imagine."
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