Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Fight Club" By Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club was one of those movies I loved the first time I saw it, but never owned it. One day I saw the audiobook at the library and decided to listen. 

Summary: Considering how many stories don't survive the book-to-movie jump, it was to my happy surprise that the plot is very much that of the movie. Obviously, there were differences, but I am comfortable with the idea that it basically amounts to glossing over of the more complicated bits.

For those of you who have never seen the movie, the plot goes something like this. We follow the life of an unnamed protagonist, often referred to as Jack, due to his habit of saying "I am Jack's broken heart" or "I am Jack's cold sweat". Jack is a Recall Coordinator for a major automobile manufacturer and his job is to investigate accidents and determine if it is more profitable for the company to issue a recall or not. He suffers constant jet-lag and develops insomnia. His exasperated doctor tells him if he wants to see real suffering he should go to a support group for people with brain parasites and Jack quickly becomes a regular at several support groups, despite not suffering any of the ailments. Jack finds the emotional release is just what he needed to sleep soundly.

Jack then meets Marla, another "tourist" at the support groups, and then meets Tyler Durden while on the beach. Marla and Tyler trigger a series of events that are totally outside of Jack's control. Tyler becomes the leader of a fight club which grows into something more.

What I Liked: Palahniuk has a very clean writing style that is both detailed and nuanced but easy to understand. He has a fascinating technique of repeating sentences at different points in the story in order to link the events. By picking the right sentence to repeat, he can summon up exactly the right event from earlier in the book and reinforce an important theme in the book. Also, Palahniuk is very good at writing around important details so that important truths can come out as stunning revelations.

What I Didn't Like: This is an unsettling book.

Rating: People who don't like this book will think that people who do like are mentally ill, and for that reason I am hesitant to say that I liked it. A lot of people would be offended by the content of this book including language, sex, violence, disturbing mental states and more. I recommend it anyway.

Also Read by this Author: None.

Reviewed by: Nick

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