Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

Pretty much all of us are familiar with the movie Fight Club, it is such a cult classic! I figured it was time I gave the novel a try. I challenged myself even further by “writing in the margins” in this one, highlighting lines that struck me, writing notes on the story. This was an interesting tweak that made the read enjoyable, especially as I know what the main plot twist is and have a general idea of where the story goes. For those of you who don’t know (don’t fear, no spoilers ahead) the first rule of Fight Club is, you don’t talk about Fight Club. Fight Club follows the story of our unnamed protagonist and his blossoming friendship with Tyler Durden as they create the revolution that is Fight Club. Their relationship is further complicated with Tyler’s relationship with Marla Singer, whom our protagonist despises. As Fight Club grows in prominence it develops far beyond an outlet for the hundreds of men that take comfort in it and becomes a  dangerous rebellion intent on ending our consumerist society.

 

This story is a harsh and bleak one, so I probably do not recommend if you aren’t a fan of violence, anger and destruction. The themes are strong, yet provide some excellent food for thought. Our main characters are rebelling against consumerism. “Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don’t really need”. Their aim is to break down this system and return society to one that hunts for the food it needs and nothing more. There are some excellent points about today’s society that get you thinking. I found the outlook quite depressing at times and, of course, the book veers into extremes but the arguments are compelling and you can’t help but fid yourself sucked in. I wouldn’t say I found this book particularly enjoyable, it certainly isn’t happy or uplifting, but I liked it nonetheless and am glad I experienced it.

 

Having watched the movie and already knowing the main plot twist I found myself in the position of being able to concentrate wholly on the writing. Palahniuk’s writing is impeccable. I find it incredibly impressive that a book that is so powerful in thought and idea is still barely more than two hundred pages long. There is certainly no wasted words here and the way the sentences are formed increases how compelling the story is. There are a few hints at the plot twist hidden in the pages, with one sentence in particular repeated throughout the novel. I enjoyed this continuation immensely and found it really set the tome of the book. Palahniuk is also a master of the first line. The start of the book and a few chapters will hook you in from the get go. He has also perfected the art of holding two strands of the story and seamlessly jumping from one to the other line after line. The writing is captivating and I would recommend this book to anyone with a particular interest in the way words and sentences are formed.

 

Interestingly I can see how some people would despise this book. It is depressing, violent and has an unusual tone. Conversely, I can see how people would call this a five star read. As I mentioned the writing is compelling and masterful and the plot twist is a great one. For me, I definitely enjoyed aspects of this novel, in particular the the way the story ended, that being said, I wouldn’t rush out to read it again anytime soon. Overall, I give Fight Club three space monkeys.

 

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