Fight Club: A Novel

( 889 )

Overview

The first rule about fight club is you don't talk about fight club.
In his debut novel, Chuck Palahniuk showed himself to be his generation's most visionary satirist. 'Fight Club''s estranged narrator leaves his lackluster job when he comes under the thrall of Tyler Durden, an enigmatic young man who holds secret boxing matches in the basement of bars. There two men fight "as long as they have to." A ...

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Fight Club: A Novel

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Overview

The first rule about fight club is you don't talk about fight club.
In his debut novel, Chuck Palahniuk showed himself to be his generation's most visionary satirist. 'Fight Club''s estranged narrator leaves his lackluster job when he comes under the thrall of Tyler Durden, an enigmatic young man who holds secret boxing matches in the basement of bars. There two men fight "as long as they have to." A gloriously original work that exposes what is at the core of our modern world.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Designer soap made of human fat, an anarchist's cookbook of volatile recipes, and the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it — Chuck Palahniuk's outrageous, darkly comic first novel is a brutal reminder that we each have a part to play in the apocalypse.

Plagued with insomnia due to the cynical nature of his job (he investigates accidents for a carmaker in order to assess the cost-effectiveness of a recall), Fight Club's nameless narrator spends his evenings attending support groups for the terminally ill. Masquerading as a sufferer of various cancers, or as a victim of brain parasites, he discovers that losing all hope bestows a sense of freedom; Facing death, he feels more alive than ever before, and sleeps like a baby. Until Marla Singer — also a shamming support group groupie — ruins everything.

Marla not only invades his therapy sessions, but gradually insinuates herself into his private life as well, taking up with his housemate, the mysterious Tyler Durden. Tyler, a self-styled "minimum wage despoiler," works a succession of night jobs, taking perverse glee in sabotaging and blackmailing his employers. When, on a whim, the narrator and Tyler take turns punching out their frustrations on each other at a local bar, Fight Club is born.

"The first rule about fight club is that you don't talk about fight club."

Soon the disaffected drones of industry are spending their off hours beating each other to bloody pulp. After a night in Fight Club, they go back to their jobs bruised and battered, but with the liberating sense that they can handle anything. But FightClubis only the first stage of Tyler's anarchic master plan; Soon random acts of unkindness proliferate as mayhem and organized chaos spread across the country, culminating in a schizophrenic showdown on top of the world's tallest building.

Washington Post Book World
“Diabolically sharp and funny.”
Seattle Times
“An astonishing debut.... ?a dark, unsettling, and nerve-chafing satire.”
Scott Heim
“Irresistable.... As with chocolate or pornography, you struggle to savor it slowly, yet feel compelled to zip through its smart, atomic, nightmarish world. A visionary novel of beautiful violence and creepy intensity.”
Dennis Cooper
“A ferocious, taut, mesmerizing novel whose economical stylishness and rigorous, perverse philosophical underpinnings put one in mind of Camus' 'The Stranger' and J.G. Ballard's 'Crash.'”
Katherine Dunn
“A noir fable with a potent punch.... A genuine, two-fisted talent.”
Barry Hannah
“Amazing and artful disturbance. 'Fight Club' is for everybody who thinks and loves the fine American language.”
Publishers Weekly

The 2008 audio edition of Palahniuk's ground-breaking 1996 novel provides a timely opportunity to contemplate the direction of Generation X and the wider, popular culture over the past dozen years. The white, male, 20-something angst of the story's unnamed protagonist and his mysterious partner in crime, Tyler Durden, may now sometimes seem like slightly dated grunge rock. Also, the themes of domestic terrorism and insurrection certainly play differently in a post-September 11 world. Yet Palahniuk's power to provoke our collective sacred cows remains undeniable. The narrative-with its delusional twists and turns-presents serious challenges on audio. James Colby cleverly plays deadpan cool through much of the early plot exposition so that the chaos that eventually takes hold becomes all the more eerie and surreal. He pulls off the convoluted climactic revelations with emotional authenticity. The listening experience may be too jarring for general audiences merely hoping for a commute diversion. However, the release offers today's crop of young urban hipsters an opportunity to connect with the voices of a previous decade. A W.W. Norton paperback (Reviews, June 3, 1996). (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Featuring soap made from human fat, waiters at high-class restaurants who do unmentionable things to soup and an underground organization dedicated to inflicting a violent anarchy upon the land, Palahniuk's apocalyptic first novel is clearly not for the faint of heart. The unnamed (and extremely unreliable) narrator, who makes his living investigating accidents for a car company in order to assess their liability, is combating insomnia and a general sense of anomie by attending a steady series of support-group meetings for the grievously ill, at one of which (testicular cancer) he meets a young woman named Marla. She and the narrator get into a love triangle of sorts with Tyler Durden, a mysterious and gleefully destructive young man with whom the narrator starts a fight club, a secret society that offers young professionals the chance to beat one another to a bloody pulp. Mayhem ensues, beginning with the narrator's condo exploding and culminating with a terrorist attack on the world's tallest building. Writing in an ironic deadpan and including something to offend everyone, Palahniuk is a risky writer who takes chances galore, especially with a particularly bizarre plot twist he throws in late in the book. 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.
Kirkus Reviews
Brutal and relentless debut fiction takes anarcho-S&M chic to a whole new level—in a creepy, dystopic, confrontational novel that's also cynically smart and sharply written.

Palahniuk's insomniac narrator, a drone who works as a product recall coordinator, spends his free time crashing support groups for the dying. But his after-hours life changes for the weirder when he hooks up with Tyler Durden, a waiter and projectionist with plans to screw up the world—he's a "guerilla terrorist of the service industry." "Project Mayhem" seems taken from a page in The Anarchist Cookbook and starts small: Durden splices subliminal scenes of porno into family films and he spits into customers' soup. Things take off, though, when he begins the fight club—a gruesome late-night sport in which men beat each other up as partial initiation into Durden's bigger scheme: a supersecret strike group to carry out his wilder ideas. Durden finances his scheme with a soap-making business that secretly steals its main ingredient—the fat sucked from liposuction. Durden's cultlike groups spread like wildfire, his followers recognizable by their open wounds and scars. Seeking oblivion and self-destruction, the leader preaches anarchist fundamentalism: "Losing all hope was freedom," and "Everything is falling apart"—all of which is just his desperate attempt to get God's attention. As the narrator begins to reject Durden's revolution, he starts to realize that the legendary lunatic is just himself, or the part of himself that takes over when he falls asleep. Though he lands in heaven, which closely resembles a psycho ward, the narrator/Durden lives on in his flourishing clubs.

This brilliant bit of nihilism succeeds where so many self- described transgressive novels do not: It's dangerous because it's so compelling.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393327342
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/17/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 19,509
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Chuck Palahniuk is the author of the best-selling novels Fight Club, Survivor, Lullaby, Diary, Rant, Damned, and many other works of fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Biography

Readers of Chuck Palahniuk's novels must gird themselves for the bizarre, the violent, the macabre, and the just plain disturbing. Having done that, they can then just enjoy the ride.

The story goes that Palahniuk wrote Fight Club out of frustration. Believing that his first submission to publishers (an early version of Invisible Monsters) was being rejected as too risky, he decided to take the gloves off, so to speak, and wrote something he never expected to see the light of day. Ironically, Fight Club was accepted for publication, and its subsequent filming by directory David Fincher earned the author an obsessive cult following.

The apocalyptic, blackly humorous story of a loner's entanglement with a charismatic but dangerous underground leader, Fight Club was the first in a series of controversial fiction that would keep Palahniuk in the spotlight. Since then, he has crafted strange, disturbing tales around unlikely subjects: a disfigured model bent on revenge (the revised Invisible Monsters) ... the last surviving member of a death cult (Survivor) ... a sex addict who resorts to a bizarre restaurant scam to pay the bills (Choke) ... a lethal African nursery rhyme (Lullaby) ... and so the list continues.

Although Palahniuk makes occasional forays into nonfiction, (e.g., Fugitives and Refugees and Stranger than Fiction), it is his novels that generate the most buzz. His outré plots and jump-cut storytelling are definitely not for everyone—some have likened them to the horrible accident you can't tear your eyes away from—but even critics can't help but be impressed by his flair for language, his talent for satire, and his sheer originality. Newsday wrote, "Palahniuk is one of the freshest, most intriguing voices to appear in a long time. He rearranges Vonnegut's sly humor, DeLillo's mordant social analysis, and Pynchon's antic surrealism (or is it R. Crumb's?) into a gleaming puzzle palace all his own."

Palahniuk has said that he has heard a lot from readers who were never readers before they saw his books, from boys in schools where his books are banned. This might be the best evidence that Palahniuk is a writer for a new age, introducing a (mostly male) audience to worlds on the page that usually only exist in technicolor nightmares.

Good To Know

Palahniuk (pronounced paul-a-nik) worked as a diesel mechanic for a trucking company before he became an author, jotting story notes for The Fight Club under trucks he was supposed to be working on.

Palahniuk's family has had a sad history of violence: His grandfather killed his grandmother and then committed suicide; later in life, his divorced father was murdered in 1999 by a girlfriend's ex-husband. The killer was convicted and sentenced to death in October, 2001. Palahniuk's book, Choke, was driven by an attempt to look at how sexual compulsion can destroy (see essay below for more).

When not working on his novels, Palahniuk has written features for Gear magazine, through which he befriended shock rocker Marilyn Manson; and is reportedly working on a script of the Katie Arnoldi novel Chemical Pink for Fight Club director David Fincher.

While writing, Palahniuk has said he listens to Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Radiohead.

To a reader who asked in a Barnes & Noble.com chat why the novel Invisible Monsters was not released in hardcover, Palahniuk responded: "My original request was not to have any of my books released as hardcovers b/c I felt guilty asking for over $20 for anything I had done. With Invisible Monsters I finally got my way."

Invisible Monsters was inspired by fashion magazines Palahniuk was reading at his laundromat, according to an interview with The Village Voice. "I love the language of fashion magazines. Eighteen adjectives and you find the word sweater at the end. 'Ethereal. Sacred.' I thought, Wouldn't it be fun to write a novel in this fashion magazine language, so packed with hyperbole?"

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    1. Also Known As:
      Charles M. Palahniuk
    2. Hometown:
      Portland, Oregon
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 21, 1962
    2. Place of Birth:
      Pasco, Washington
    1. Education:
      B.A. in journalism, University of Oregon, 1986
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 889 )
Rating Distribution

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(632)

4 Star

(176)

3 Star

(59)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 893 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    Sorry, there's nothing to talk about.

    What Fight Club?

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I'am Jack's Smirking Revenge...

    Outstanding book! <BR/><BR/>Power animals, split personality disorders, soap, fighting, mayhem, support groups, tainted food, castration, the book has a little bit of everything......... <BR/><BR/>I unfortunately saw the movie, at least 5 times before getting around to reading this book. If you haven't seen the movie yet, STOP, read the book first! <BR/><BR/>I've read two other books by Chuck Palahniuk, this one is the best so far! <BR/><BR/>"Fight Club" is excellent, the characters, the dialogue. It's all amazing! <BR/><BR/>There are so many good lines in this book, its hard to describe, but here are my favorites- <BR/><BR/>"If your a male, and you're Christian and living in America, your father is your model for God. And sometimes you find your father in your career." <BR/><BR/>"Tyler Durden the great, who was perfect for one moment, and who said that a moment is the most you could ever expect from perfection." <BR/><BR/>"How everything you ever love will reject you or die. Everything you ever create will be thrown away. Everything you're proud of will end up as trash. I am Ozymandias, king of kings." <BR/><BR/>There are 8 simple rules for "Fight Club"= <BR/><BR/>1.You don't talk about fight club. <BR/>2.You don't talk about fight club. <BR/>3.When someone says stop, or goes limp, even if he's just faking it, the fight is over. <BR/>4.Only two guys to a fight. <BR/>5.One fight at a time. <BR/>6.They fight without shirts or shoes. <BR/>7.The fights go on as long as they have to. <BR/>8.If this is your first night at fight club, you have to fight. <BR/><BR/>The movie adaption of this book, follows the novel pretty close! Ed Norton and Brad Pitt could'nt have done a better job! <BR/><BR/>Highly recommended to everyone and especially Palahniuk fans that may never have read (Chuck's 1st book)!

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    !!!!!!!!!

    there aren't good enough words for this book except

    READ IT!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I'm Talking About Fight Club

    Fight club is a great book. It is a unique adventure that really makes you think. It blends humor, action, and psychological-thriller style genres. All of the characters are presented as very real people. You get to know them and you have a real interest in them. The twists and turns are incredibly clever. It's a very short book, 218 pages, and is worth the time.
    Even if you have seen the movie I think you would get a lot out of this book. While the movie and book are very much alike, they have differences that make them unique from one another. You connect better with the book, and it is still wildly entertaining.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 26, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    there is a you before fight club and a you after fight club. they are different people.

    i wish i could just erase my memory and read this book over and over again. i have read a lot of books since i read this one but none have been able to compare. this is my favorite book of all time. there is really nothing else i can say...read it. you just have to. and be prepared to change. there is a you before fight club and a you after fight club. it is life changing. i LOVE chuck palahniuk. anything he writes deserves a prize

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Modern fiction at its finest

    This is a narrative unlike any other. Palahniuk's quick, sharp voice gets the reader's attention and then holds them captive until the end of the book, at which point the reader will want to get pulled right back into Palahniuk's twisted world for another adventure. Filled with dark humor and hard-hitting satire, this is a novel that cannot be missed.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2008

    Absolutely Amazing.

    My favorite book of all time, 'Fight Club' is absolutely amazing with every page. Everything about this novel is so unique and captivating that only Chuck Palahnuick could come up with it. Don't expect to find anything like this! Written brilliantly and artfully, Palanuhnick's 'Fight Club' has been made into a cult classic for a reason.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    The absolute brilliance of Palahniuk's writing is best shown in

    The absolute brilliance of Palahniuk's writing is best shown in this novel. Fight Club is a gritty and witty punch to the gut. The level of details given really put the reader into these settings with the characters, whether the reader wants to be there or not.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2011

    Better than the movie!!

    The movie Fight Club has been my favorite for many years and I just barely got the chance to read the actual book. In my opinion the book is on another whole level compared to the movie. I love the way the characters are presented more and I feel like some of the back story Palahniuk gives you that is not in the movie makes the story move along much better. Based on the style of writing Palahniuk uses in this book, I think I'll be buying more books he has written. If as an individual you are easily offended you should probably not read this book because it can be quite vulgar at times. I laughed off a majority of the vulgarity but that may not be a possibility for everyone. This book has now become one of my favorites just like the movie and I think anyone like me that really enjoys the movie would feel the same if they read this book. I definitely recommend it but again warn that it may not be for everyone.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    Invigorating

    I watched the movie many years ago, long before I was able to comprehend. I found myself longing to watch the movie again but instead decided to read the book.
    I devoured it in one sitting and almost wish I had taken longer, if only to draw out the pleasure that was my first book by Chuck.
    This brilliant story makes you question nearly everything you think you know about your life; it is at once philosophical, tragic, invigorating, disturbing, and romantic. I was completely consumed by the characters and their lives and was dying to find out what happens next.
    The book came full circle and the ending was gratifying.
    I would recommend Fight Club to anyone who believes they can stomach it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2013

    The story begins with this man, the narrator. He hates his job.


    The story begins with this man, the narrator. He hates his job. He works as a recall manager for a car company. He does not sleep; he has insomnia. He hates his furniture, his possessions, himself. Everything in his life is distant and remote, and nothing matters to this man. He hates his life. For relief of all this, he attends support groups for people with testicular cancer, blood parasites, tumors, and blood diseases; he pretends to be one of them. This helps him cry, which helps him sleep.

    He is what is considered a consumer like everyone else. The things he owns end up owning him. His life is static, pathetic; he is trapped. When this man’s condo is set on fire and blown to pieces he ends up living with Tyler Durden. Spontaneous, quick witted, charming, and self-destructive, enlightened; this is Tyler. This man sets our main character free. He’s the relief this man needs. Tyler helps him reach rock bottom, let go, be free of worldly possessions and consumerism. They find a new way to achieve relief, fighting. This idea spreads to other men. Tyler becomes the method of madness. This book is about the evolution of this and is a center of self destruction. How things can escalate to total anarchy and organized chaos.

    This book will twist your mind and fill it with thoughts you never knew you would have. Fight Club is dark, brutally honest, violent, and one hundred percent true. This is Chuck Palahniuk’s best work. The philosophical views on enlightenment and society are backwards to what is considered normal, but, who knows, maybe self-improvement isn’t the answer. Maybe you need to let go of everything before you can be free. All men and women need a way out, a way to let go of the consuming lifestyle, a way to devolve from what everyone and everything else has made you. This book is the desire to burn something for the sake of adding it to the fire.


    This isn’t a seminar.

    “If you lose your nerve before you hit bottom,” Tyler says, “you’ll never really succeed.”

    Only after disaster can we be resurrected.

    “It’s only after you’ve lost everything,” Tyler says, “that you’re free to do anything.

    What I’m feeling is premature enlightenment.



    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An appetizer to try more Palahniuk

    Having seen and loved the movie when it came out, I have had this book on my list for a while. Just as this was Palahniuk's first novel, this my first Palahniuk novel.
    In the beginning, I was somewhat, unfairly disappointed in the book, and more impressed with the movie. The movie had done such a good job of adapting the book that the book offered little, if anything new to the reader. However, as the narrator starts to transform, the book gets stronger and the writing is impressive. Like Plath's "The Bell Jar" and Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," this is an excellent trip into a mind losing its grip on sanity.
    The main character(s) is/are strongly written, but the ancillary characters are much thinner. It is obvious that this was a short story - a fantastic Chapter 6 with incredible images and hints of the inner turmoil revealed throughout the tale - fleshed out into a what is better described as a novella due to its length and singular focus on a single character. In some ways it reminded me of an excellent etude by Chopin, displaying a great deal of talent, but without the complexity of the intermingling instruments of a full orchestra.
    In the end, it was a quick, satisfying read - an appetizer resulting in a desire to read more of Palahniuk.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2010

    Surprising and interesting!

    This book is one of the most entertaining, books I have read recently that was well-written. Many authors have a good, or just interesting idea, but do not have the skills to convey them on paper, Chuck Palahnuik is not one of those people, his creative story design and compelling narrative make the story interesting and beautiful. The book takes you deep inside the head of our tormented, but nameless character. It throws you around through through the thoughts of this person as he participates in launching a club that evolves into a terrorism/myaterdom project. This is one of my all time favorite books. Read the book before seeing the movie (which is also excellent)

    Dmitri G (for Mrs. Castle 5A class)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    You wake up and you read this.

    You'll be caught right away by Palahniuk's sweeping aphorisms and fresh writing style. Likely, you've heard of the film or have even seen it before you even knew there was a novel. Read it anyway. It's for people who crave twisted psychological tones, fans of drama or Chuck Palahniuk in general, and heck, even chemists. This book is a special snowflake.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Before You Die

    This is one of those books that you just have to read before you die. It has many plot twists and is one of my favorite novels. If you haven't read anything by Chuck Palahniuk, this is where you should start.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2014

    Justin

    Shoots his head with a colt 45

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2014

    Vampire

    Sets u down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2014

    You broke the first rule of fight club

    How dare you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    Fight Club is one of my favorite books of all time, and I have r

    Fight Club is one of my favorite books of all time, and I have read very many books. This book is hard to get into at first, it is confusing and boring. But trust me, once you keep reading, you wont be able to put it down. Chuck Palahniuk is a great author and this book truly shows that. I would recommend to anyone over the age of 14.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Am m AMAZING

    Amazing book, one of the best I've read in months.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 893 Customer Reviews

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