Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

While in the middle of reading 5+ other books (the + is equal to the poetry, short stories, and plays I am reading for classes), my roommate told me to read Fight Club. I put down Clash of Kings and started it immediately, as I haven’t read Palahniuk in ages.  It is only 218 pages, so I finished it in just a couple days.

Fight Club is unsurprisingly about a club that fights. However, underneath that, there is so much more. Palahniuk, in the afterword, admits that the novel began as a short story (chapter six) based around rules. It didn’t need to be a FIGHT club, just any club where men could gather socially and be open because of the ruling structure.

Fight Club

The rules:

1: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.
2: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.
3: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out the fight is over.
4: Only two guys to a fight.
5: One fight at a time.
6: No shirts, no shoes.
7: Fights will go on as long as they have to.
8: If this is your first night at FIGHT CLUB, you HAVE to fight.

I’m sure most everyone knows the plot and twists of Fight Club, but for those that don’t, it is mainly about two men, the narrator and Tyler Durden. The narrator has insomnia and goes to support group meetings for people who have terminal diseases to help him sleep. This gets interrupted by Marla Singer, who shows up to every meeting, including the testicular cancer group. The narrator ends up moving in with Tyler, who is sort of dating Marla, so he has to see her much more often than desired considering the fact that he detests her.

I did really enjoy this novel, and having seen the film before reading it, I can say that it did justice to the book. Besides a few extra stories, and a few changed details, the movie really did a great job. While reading, I swear I could hear Edward Norton narrating the novel, so I think he really brought the character to life in the film.

Though Tyler had some really good insights, at times they felt a little random and out of place. I feel this added to the narrative style Palahniuk seems to aim for, but it was a little jarring going back to reading his style from other novels. Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of any of the characters in the story. I enjoyed reading about them, but they were all a little too self-destructive for me. The narrator was probably the best out of the main three, just because I was able to relate to his struggles and how he got so apathetic about work and being owned by material things. The plot was definitely not strictly sequential; the confusion of going back and forth in time helped give a sense of the narrator’s insomnia confusion. Overall, this book was a great quick read, and the film was an amazing adaptation. I would recommend both to anyone who likes Palahniuk’s work or who likes self-destructive characters.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Adam
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 18:16:55

    I enjoyed this book a lot (it definitely got me started on reading a lot more Palahniuk). But I do think this is one example where the movie is a little better than the book, in large part due to Edward Norton.

    I also think it’s a book you have to read quickly because of the way it’s written. There’s such a stream of consciousness feeling to the writing that if you have to put it down for any reason in the middle of reading the book it takes a lot of work to get back into the book.


    • hannahrose42
      Oct 16, 2012 @ 10:35:37

      I believe Palahniuk himself admitted the movie was better; Ed Norton just did just an amazing job. I would also agree on the stream of consciousness feeling. I think some of Tyler’s tidbits functioned in that way, as well. It probably would not have been as good if I didn’t read it straight through in such a short time.


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