Fight Club

Fight Club

4.6 868
by Chuck Palahniuk, James Colby
     
 

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Every weekend, in the basements and parking lots of bars across the country, young men with good white-collar jobs and absent fathers take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded just as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight club is the… See more details below

Overview

Every weekend, in the basements and parking lots of bars across the country, young men with good white-collar jobs and absent fathers take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded just as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight club is the invention of Tyler Durden, projectionist, waiter, and dark, anarchic genius, and it's only the beginning of his plans for revenge on a world where cancer support groups have the corner on human warmth. As the narrator of Fight Club puts it: "If people thought you were dying, they gave you their full attention." Where does Tyler Durden come from? Why do his violent schemes so capture the troubled, insomniac narrator? What events bring them to the roof of the world's tallest building, wired to explode in ten minutes? What will the end of the millennium feel like? Readers of Chuck Palahniuk's brilliantly apocalyptic and unnerving first novel are going to find out.

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Editorial Reviews

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.
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)

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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.

Robert Stone
“A powerful, dark, original novel . . . a memorable debut by an important new writer.”
Seattle Times
“An astonishing debut . . . Fight Club is a dark, unsettling, and nerve-chafing satire.”
Washington Post Book World
“Fight Club offers diabolically sharp and funny writing.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781428154650
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
05/14/2008

What People are saying about this

Thom Jones
Even I can't write this well.
Robert Stone
A powerful, dark, original novel . . . a memorable debut by an important new writer.

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