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Fight Club (1996)

by Chuck Palahniuk

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Fight Club (tome 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,597266207 (4.09)212
The rise of a terrorist organization, led by a waiter who enjoys spitting in people's soup. He starts a fighting club, where men bash each other, and the club quickly gains in popularity. It becomes the springboard for a movement devoted to destruction for destruction's sake.
  1. 61
    American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (sacredheartofthescen)
    sacredheartofthescen: Both about bored men in American society that found odd ways to fill their time and become what they want to be.
  2. 40
    Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse (paradoxosalpha)
    paradoxosalpha: Fight Club could be read as an updated rewriting of Steppenwolf, with Hermine replaced by Tyler Durden, and the dance hall transformed to the fight club. Maria becomes Marla, and the Magic Theater becomes Operation Mayhem.
  3. 30
    The Ultra Fuckers by Carlton Mellick III (tankexmortis)
    tankexmortis: Like Fight Club, Ultra Fuckers is anti-conformist and could be beloved by hipsters. Unlike Fight Club, Ultra Fuckers does not take itself very seriously. It's also much more weird.
  4. 30
    The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (arthurfrayn)
  5. 31
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Sylak)
    Sylak: A man unwittingly becomes involved in a surreal underworld parallel to his own.
  6. 20
    Mr. Overby Is Falling by Nathan Tyree (catdog2)
    catdog2: similar themes
  7. 31
    Choke by Chuck Palahniuk (Ti99er)
  8. 20
    The Seven Madmen by Roberto Arlt (CarlosMcRey)
    CarlosMcRey: Like Palahniuk's Joe, Arlt's Remo Erdosain seeks salvation through depravity and self-destruction in the midst of an urban wasteland.
  9. 10
    The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman (FFortuna)
  10. 10
    Ghosted by Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall (Liffey)
  11. 57
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (keristars)
    keristars: Palahniuk says in an afterword that Fight Club was intended to be similar to the Great Gatsby. In a way, it really is - there's a similar mood and sort of feeling of despair at modern society, though the Great Gatsby was written and occurs seventy years before Fight Club. The relationships between the primary three characters in each novel are also similar.… (more)

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» See also 212 mentions

English (251)  Italian (5)  French (4)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (263)
Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)
Soap based anarchy
I am Joe's dirty giggle,
and his bag of fat. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
Cross-eyed and painless, I'm like many who had read this book after loving the film, only to love the author and his outrageous and overblown themes. The brilliant and jarring cross-fertilization of ideas is what really got me going, although the dialog and characterizations were what rooted me to the tale.
Sure, this is a story of hyper-masculinity, but it is also a story of the Everyman's disenfranchisement and redemption in the world. There are too many quotes to do the novel justice, but I'll keep it simple and tell you that I was changed after reading the novel. I hadn't read anything like it, nor had any other work speak to me in the same way. Sure, there are classics that come close, but you still have to put yourself in a different time and place in order to sink into the story and let it overwhelm you. Not so for me at this time for this novel. It was so messed up that it became a screaming neon sign of self-help for many of us who had lost meaning in our lives. I don't want to sound flippant. Even the really oddball aspects of the novel like stealing Marla's mom's fat fit perfectly into the times and how people of my generation silently screamed out for a release from all of this proscribed nonsense we call society; and we didn't care anymore about how we were told to care.

Coming from the absolute bullshit of the PC world; the complete marketing of thoughts and behaviors that were sold to us at premium cost; the deep-seated realization that nothing we do even matters in this time and place all point to an attachment to this book as a life-raft in a moral sea of void.

Ok, sure, I've read the great nihilists of the past, and got thoroughly mind-fucked by them, so perhaps I was a little prepped for this little masterpiece of fiction. Then again, I also got so many belly-laughs and hope for mankind after reading it that I suppose it all harmonized a bit. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Fight Club is not an easy book to review because it is so stylistically different from what I usually read that I feel I don't have an accurate comparison group. Palahniuk opts for a fast-paced, action-oriented verb-heavy style that slips and slides and you can't quite seem to get the perfect grasp on. The author has come out and said that he doesn't like purple-prose and overly descriptive hogwash - something I can respect. He wants the novel to read a certain way and it does it well. I think this stylistic choice also fits in well with the kind of psychological theme that the book is going for. Unfortunately, it did not click with me. The abrupt, short sentences and the meandering of the author, while initially an interesting stylistic choice, soon served to annoy me as I found the book hard to get through. Fortunately, it is short and fast-paced enough that you don't have to suffer immeasurably if the style does not click with you and can get finish it within a couple of hours of determined reading.

One thing I found quite pleasant was the entire plot of the book - the message and themes notwithstanding - I found the psychological aspect refreshing and the twist in the final third was unexpected for me. Admittedly, I hadn't been paying much attention due to the prose and structure. Nonetheless, despite suspecting something of the sort, I was pleasantly surprised by the twist and found it to be one of the more interesting aspects of the entire story.

There's not much to be said about the message that the book conveys. I think it covers old ground that has been discussed before without adding anything new to the conversation. In fact, because of the way the book is written, the subject matters is presented more shallowly than some other books I've read. You rush through a lot of the themes without developing them concretely and developing the answers to them or how and why exactly the characters act exactly in the way they do. It's left to the reader to fill in large gaps. And when you're trying to make political statements or philosophical arguments, I'd prefer a bit more well-developed approach. The other downside with having a rapid, fist-in-your-face prose is that the writing comes across as annoyingly edgy. I think some of the ideas presented in the novel would be worth exploration but presented the way they are, I (as a weary reader, exhausted by all the anti-heroness and edginess that characterized my teenage years) couldn't help but roll my eyes. Yes, you're making a statement on consumerism. How original. How well thought-out. How well-presented. The world teeters on this precipice where every regular Joe just wants to blow up the world.

It's a miracle that I kept myself spoiler-free from Fight Club for all these years. Sadly, it didn't increase my enjoyment of reading this novel. I wonder if the movie might be better. Nonetheless, one of the popular contemporary classics and if you're looking for a quick read on a slow day, I would recommend. Just don't expect to be blown away. ( )
  Fitzgeralds_Cat | May 28, 2020 |
I'm not sure what to say about this book, really! I dashed through it in the time it took to listen to 2.5 albums. The writing is tense – short sentences, all action, no detail. The central message of the book is, or seemed to me to be, that working life sucks and life is pointless. It's the protagonist's hatred for his life that spawns his alter ego Tyler, and thus instigates all the events of the book. The thrill of violence, of cruelty, appeals to the men who fight because it's the only escape their have from their monotonous and deeply pointless existence. Of course, the reality is that most working class people's lives are monotonous and miserable, and the book is reasonably class conscious, with for instance this amazing paragraph:

The people you're trying to step on, we're everyone you depend on. We're the people who do your laundry and cook your food and serve your dinner. We make your bed. We guard you while you're asleep. We drive the ambulances. We direct your call. We are the cooks and the taxi drivers and we know everything about you. We process your insurance claims and credit card charges. We control every part of your life.

The book is really depressing. Marla's philosophy is that no one should get old, and Tyler clearly has no objection to thrill-seeking in violence and cruelty. The protagonist actually does react against this to a certain extent and claims that Tyler's gone too far, but this is purely out of self-interest - he doesn't want to lose his body to his alter ego Tyler, he doesn't want to be castrated, and he doesn't want Marla (who he's developed some affection for) to die. I guess there's a reason why this book gets called nihilist.

The other complaint I could make is that it's a book all about machismo, with only one female character, but it didn't really bother me that much; machismo is just the topic of the book. Books can't just explore everything ever - that's why we read a range of books - and this one was self-consciously about machismo and the masculine, so it didn't bother me the way it would have in a book that wasn't about that. And having said that, I'm unsure why I bothered writing this entire paragraph. Because it's something that crossed my mind while reading, I guess.

Overall, it was quite the page-turner and I enjoyed it, with its appropriately climactic ending and all. I recommend it, especially since it's short! (Jan 2013) ( )
1 vote Jayeless | May 27, 2020 |
I had no idea what I was getting into with Fight Club (except that the first rule is to not talk about fight club) and I was taken for a whirlwind of a story. It's hard to write a spoiler-free review so I'll keep it short and sweet. Palahniuk knows how to craft a mind blowing, raw story. I never knew where he was taking me, which sometimes was great and sometimes frustrating. I also found the halting style of Palahniuk's writing was a hit or miss; again, sometimes I loved it and sometimes it drove me nuts. All in all, an exciting read. ( )
  bookishtexpat | May 21, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)
A volatile, brilliantly creepy satire filled with esoteric tips for causing destruction, Fight Club marks Chuck Palahniuk's debut as a novelist. Ever wonder how to pollute a plumbing system with red dye, or inject an ATM machine with axle grease or vanilla pudding? Along with instructions for executing such quirky acts of urban terrorism, Fight Club offers diabolically sharp and funny writing.
This brilliant bit of nihilism succeeds where so many self-described transgressive novels do not: It's dangerous because it's so compelling.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews
Every generation frightens and unnerves its parents, and Palahniuk's first novel is gen X's most articulate assault yet on baby-boomer sensibilities. This is a dark and disturbing book that dials directly into youthful angst and will likely horrify the parents of teens and twentysomethings. It's also a powerful, and possibly brilliant, first novel.
added by Shortride | editBooklist, Thomas Gaughan
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.
added by Shortride | editPublishers Weekly

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chuck Palahniukprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boomsma, GraaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colby, JamesReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kinzel, FredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Carol Meader, who puts up with all my bad behavior.
First words
Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.
1. You don't talk about fight club.

2. You don't talk about fight club.

3. When someone says stop, or goes limp, even if he's just faking it, the fight is over.

4. Only two guys to a fight.

5. One fight at a time.

6. They fight without shirts or shoes.

7. The fights go on as long as they have to.

8. If this is your first night at fight club, you have to fight.

– Fight Club, pages 48–50

"Don't think of it as extinction. Think of it as downsizing."
It was that morning that Tyler Durden invented Project Mayhem.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the novel, not the film or screenplay.
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Book description
Haiku summary
Many fight club rules.
Do not talk about fight club.
Wait... who is Tyler?
Where's Tyler Durden?
Every time I turn around
Seems he has just left.

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1.5 7
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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393327345, 0393039765

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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