Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review: Fight Club

Fight Club
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Literary fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: those who liked the movie, those who like very violent stories that are twisty
Trigger Warnings: violence, those with arachnophobia beware, making soap out of human collagen, murder, suicidal ideation

My Thoughts: One of the keywords used to describe this book is “nihilism.” I think this is particularly appropriate. Over and over the narrator repeats things like, “Maybe self-improvement isn't the answer... Maybe self-destruction is the answer.” Or, “At the time, my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.” Or, “It's only after you've lost everything... that you're free to do anything.” It reminds me of a line in a GWAR song: “Sometimes you have to burn everything down so you can have nothing at all.”
I felt I could finally get my hands on everything in the world that didn't work... Nothing was solved when the fighting was over, but nothing mattered.

Me, with my punched-out eyes and dried blood in big black crusty stains on my pants, I'm saying HELLO to everybody at work. HELLO! Look at me. HELLO! I am so ZEN. This is BLOOD. This is NOTHING. Hello. Everything is nothing and it's so cool to be ENLIGHTENED. Like me.
So, as you can see it is not a subtle message, but indeed one that is pounded into the reader over and over, like punches in the face. It's actually rather brilliant, but ultimately depressing if you take it too much to heart. There is much discourse over the ultimate meaning of this book. To put it out there, I think this book is about modern man's search for his place in the world. Men evolved to hunt and fight, and nowadays are more likely to be hunting for a paperclip and fighting for a good parking spot. It has left them at loose ends (thus the wars), and this book is about men seeking a way to turn the tide back to the times when they were providing more meaningful services to humanity.

I've read a few books by Chuck Palahniuk and enjoyed them all, but this one is the best. Which is ironic, since it's also the first book he had published. I've talked to a lot of people who say his earlier work, such as this book, is brilliant, but that it loses a lot of that brilliance in later books. After having read this one, and considering the other books I've read by him, I can see where that comes from. I should re-read those books and see what I think now, if I can find my copies! Anyway, if you saw and liked the movie, or if you like books that will seriously twist your brain, then check this book out. It's a mind-warper.

Disclosure: This book was a gift from a friend. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: 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.

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