by Chuck Palahniuk
We are not special.
We are not crap or trash, either.
We just are.
We just are, and what happens just happens.
And God says, “No, that’s not right.”
Yeah. Well. Whatever. You can’t teach God anything.
Fight Club is the story of a man too sensitive to the shortcomings of modern life, too aware of our society and its trappings, and too far gone to suck it up and live with it like the rest of us. Our narrator and his new acquaintance, Tyler Durden, start a club to help themselves feel alive, to remind themselves we are not just sheep trundling towards death while making sure The Man gets his cut. They remind themselves that while marketing rules the world, there’s no reason for it to rule every individual and run us all into the ground in frenzied consumerism. We weren’t meant for that life.
As men are liberated from their mundane existences and given real camaraderie from the club, membership swells, devout followers spring from the woodwork and eventually Tyler starts handing out individual assignments meant to introduce chaos and anarchy into the established system, changing the club from a kind of self-help group to a full-blown terrorist cell bent on turning society on its head.
This is a scream of a read and doesn’t suffer one bit from us already being intimate with the characters from the movie. Yes, our narrator is Norton. Yes, Pitt plays Durden and yes, Fincher’s style comes through while reading this. And all this only enhances the book, as Fincher really slammed it home when he released the movie. And still, despite this being a top-notch movie worthy of film school level study, the book is significantly better, displaying perfectly some of the themes the film tried to show us.
It’s short, about 50,000 words, but the pace is so rocket-fast you’ll sit down to read a chapter or two and be finished about 5 minutes later.
“You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug.
Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.”