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Fight Club: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk
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Fight Club: A Novel (original 1996; edition 2005)

by Chuck Palahniuk

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
15,733253200 (4.1)205
Member:fakelvis
Title:Fight Club: A Novel
Authors:Chuck Palahniuk
Info:W. W. Norton (2005), Edition: Later printing, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (1996)

  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. 30
    The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (arthurfrayn)
  3. 31
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Sylak)
    Sylak: A man unwittingly becomes involved in a surreal underworld parallel to his own.
  4. 20
    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.
  5. 20
    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.
  6. 31
    Choke by Chuck Palahniuk (Ti99er)
  7. 10
    The Nightly News by Jonathan Hickman (FFortuna)
  8. 10
    Ghosted by Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall (Liffey)
  9. 10
    Mr. Overby Is Falling by Nathan Tyree (catdog2)
    catdog2: similar themes
  10. 10
    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.
  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 205 mentions

English (241)  Italian (5)  French (4)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (253)
Showing 1-5 of 241 (next | show all)
I'm glad I read it. I think I understand *chan now. That's kinda scary, but exciting at the same time. ( )
  authenticjoy | Mar 29, 2019 |
“The doorman blew his nose and something went into his handkerchief with the good slap of a pitch into a catcher’s mitt.”

This is the second book I’ve read as prep for my upcoming novella. I was informed it had been written in second person. It partially is, as it is also written in first and plural first person. Persons? Or is it first-person plural? Exactly. It doesn’t really matter since the narrative, although shifting skin like a transmigratory rattler, propels the action ever forward—unstumbling, bruised, and smiling through bloody teeth.

It’s impossible to disassociate this novel from the Fincher movie; especially since I’d seen it in the theater for my birthday on its release in October of 1999. Has it really been almost twenty years? Do 𝘺𝘰𝘶 remember? Were 𝘺𝘰𝘶 there? Are 𝘺𝘰𝘶 Tyler Durden? And are you tired of hitting CTRL and “i” even though this book was supposed to have been written in second person? Who’s typing then? Punch punch punching the keyboard.

It’s impossible because the movie was so very faithful, maybe even expanding on the text in a few key places, making it better than the book. Yes, the movie’s better. That said, the book’s good, too, and I wonder just how much more I may’ve enjoyed it if I’d read it when it was published in 1996. It hardly matters since I didn’t 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 the book. (Fucking CTRL + i addiction.)

Why didn’t I love the book? It’s cynical. I mean, the cinematic version’s none too cheery either, but at least there are enough pretty faces getting pulverized, dazzling cinematography, cocaine-injected edits, and howling mayhem to keep one from slipping into misanthropy. Somehow, even for the novel’s headlong pace, the fiction splashes in dirty puddles and repeats that splashing until everyone—characters, writer, reader—is as grimy as the paste bandage peeled from the concrete floor. Cynical and dogmatic. A manifesto from a stylite who removed himself from the fight, yet cheering the unshirted masses beneath his stone column to bash each other into grease-smeared oblivion. I don’t know, like when the unnamed protagonist/antagonist warns Marla off from the clam chowder. Come on, dude, if you’re willing to piss in people’s bisque you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re going to guzzle your fair share of urine, too.

And how did so much self-dissatisfaction turn to world-destroying anarchy, anyway? In the movie it felt like a natural progression of the plot. In the book, it seems like the writer let go the reins to watch those doom-fueled horses stomp and storm into an enemy camp while the poor bastards dreamed of war on the morrow. Maybe that was the point. However, lines like this: “Burn the Louvre,” the mechanic says, “and wipe your ass with the 𝘔𝘰𝘯𝘢 𝘓𝘪𝘴𝘢. This way at least, God would know our names” make me almost want to fight Chuck himself. Almost. What would a fight accomplish? I’d give in to the easiest, most reactionary temptation: to smash the cheek of the one who’d hit me. I don’t want to make napalm or pipe bombs or pretend that destruction will somehow usher in a purer world instead of merely replacing (if they succeed!) the existing brutal order with another brutal order. They want to erase history—Projects Mayhem and Mischief and the Paper Street Soap Company. If they’d only studied that history a little closer, maybe they would’ve heard of Napoleon or Mussolini or Hitler and realized that that shit’s got a short shelf-life. Even Alexander the Great died at thirty-two, apparently weeping over unconquered lands. Fuck you, Alexander. You got what you deserved. And fuck you, too, Tyler Durden. You’ll definitely get what you deserve. Maybe they’ll make soap out of you. Maybe an acolyte on the rise will come up with a ninth fight club rule: Don’t turn into a terrorist for you’ll only end up terrorizing yourself.

It was fun, though, for the most part. I’m being highly critical. I couldn’t have written this. Hell, I 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥𝘯’𝘵 have written this. I’ll use this as more of a litmus test for when my own fiction goes too cynical than glean anything from my intention: second person narration. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 know what I mean. Because when you take your rage out on yourself, on your brothers, on your enemies, on civilizations with histories as complex and sparkling as that brain map sequence in the beginning of Fincher’s movie, you only succeed in displacement, dismantlement, and dissolution. Maybe those swinging fists should open and grasp another’s hand and pull that poor battered soul from the dirty floor.

Otherwise, I fear we’ve not enough fat on our bodies to render into soap and wash all that annihilation clean.

Still, I’m a sucker for a good ass-kicking passage:

“I tagged a first-timer one night at fight club. That Saturday night, a young guy with an angel’s face came to his first fight club, and I tagged him for a fight. That’s the rule. If it’s your first night in fight club, you have to fight. I knew that so I tagged him because the insomnia was on again, and I was in a mood to destroy something beautiful.
“Since most of my face never gets a chance to heal, I’ve got nothing to lose in the looks department. My boss, at work, he asked me what I was doing about the hole through my cheek that never heals. When I drink coffee, I told him, I put two fingers over the hole so it won’t leak.
“There’s a sleeper hold that gives somebody just enough air to stay awake, and that night at fight club I hit our first-timer and hammered that beautiful mister angel face, first with the bony knuckles of my fist like a pounding molar, and then the knotted tight butt of my fist after my knuckles were raw from his teeth stuck through his lips. Then the kid fell through my arms in a heap.
“Tyler told me later that he’d never seen me destroy something so completely. That night, Tyler knew he had to take fight club up a notch or shut it down.” ( )
  ToddSherman | Feb 2, 2019 |
You know the first two rules of fight club. ( )
  dougcornelius | Nov 20, 2018 |
You can count me among the ones that have read the book after seeing the movie. And I must say that even if that ruins a couple of plot twists and surprises, the novel is different enough and I really enjoyed it. Loved the style. A lot.

As for the movie, now that I've read the book I appreciate even more the brilliant adaptation for the big screen made by Jim Uhls and David Fincher. It reminds me of The Shining, in the sense that Fincher (like Kubrick) followed the novel, but not quite, and he was clever enough to make significant changes to the story to produce a better movie than the one that could have been made if someone had followed the book more closely. ( )
  chaghi | Oct 15, 2018 |
I think I may have enjoyed this book more had I not seen the movie first. I like the author's writing style, but feel at times that it becomes repetitive. Though the book is good in its own right, if I had the choice between reading the book or watching the movie, I'd go with the movie. ( )
  Borrows-N-Wants | Sep 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 241 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.
Novel
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary
Many fight club rules.
Do not talk about fight club.
Wait... who is Tyler?
(hiddenpunk)
Where's Tyler Durden?
Every time I turn around
Seems he has just left.
(Carnophile)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393327345, Paperback)

The only person who gets called Ballardesque more often than Chuck Palahniuk is, well... J.G. Ballard. So, does Portland, Oregon's "torchbearer for the nihilistic generation" deserve that kind of treatment? Yes and no. There is a resemblance between Fight Club and works such as Crash and Cocaine Nights in that both see the innocuous mundanities of everyday life as nothing more than the severely loosened cap on a seething underworld cauldron of unchecked impulse and social atrocity. Welcome to the present-day U.S. of A. As Ballard's characters get their jollies from staging automobile accidents, Palahniuk's yuppies unwind from a day at the office by organizing bloodsport rings and selling soap to fund anarchist overthrows. Let's just say that neither of these guys are going to be called in to do a Full House script rewrite any time soon.

But while the ingredients are the same, Ballard and Palahniuk bake at completely different temperatures. Unlike his British counterpart, who tends to cast his American protagonists in a chilly light, holding them close enough to dissect but far enough away to eliminate any possibility of kinship, Palahniuk isn't happy unless he's first-person front and center, completely entangled in the whole sordid mess. An intensely psychological novel that never runs the risk of becoming clinical, Fight Club is about both the dangers of loyalty and the dreaded weight of leadership, the desire to band together and the compulsion to head for the hills. In short, it's about the pride and horror of being an American, rendered in lethally swift prose. Fight Club's protagonist might occasionally become foggy about who he truly is (you'll see what I mean), but one thing is for certain: you're not likely to forget the book's author. Never mind Ballardesque. Palahniukian here we come! --Bob Michaels

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:47 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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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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