An underground classic since its first publication in 1996, Fight Club
is now recognized as one of the most original and provocative novels published in this decade. Chuck Palahniuk's darkly funny first novel tells the story of a godforsaken young man who discovers that his rage at living in a world filled with failure and lies cannot be pacified by an empty consumer culture.
Relief for him and his disenfranchised peers comes in the form of secret after-hours boxing matches held in the basements of bars. Fight Club
is the brainchild of Tyler Durden, who thinks he has found a way for himself and his friends to live beyond their confining and stultifying lives. But in Tyler's world there are no rules, no limits, no brakes.
offers diabolically sharp and funny writing. -- Washington Post Book World
An astonishing debut…Fight Club
is a dark, unsettling, and nerve-chafing satire. -- Seattle Times
Caustic, outrageous, bleakly funny, violent and always unsettling…will make even the most jaded reader sit up and take notice. -- Publishers Weekly
This brilliant bit of nihilism succeeds where so many self-described transgressive novels do not: It's dangerous because it's so compelling. -- 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.
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.