Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk is a story told by the unnamed Narrator. Our protagonist works as a Product Recall Specialist for an unnamed - but major...moreFight Club by Chuck Palahniuk is a story told by the unnamed Narrator. Our protagonist works as a Product Recall Specialist for an unnamed - but major - car company. What he actually does is decide if the recall of a defect car model is cost-worthy. If the cost of the recall is greater than the loss, they don’t do one. Sometimes saving lives costs more than letting go of a few more.
The stress of his job combined with all the travelling has put him in a constant state of jet-lag.
You wake up at Seatac. You wake up at LAX. You wake up at O'Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, BWI. You wake up at Air Harbor International.
If I could wake up in a different place, at a different time, could I wake up as a different person?
Insomnia is not suffering, as his doctor so eloquently puts it. Testicular cancer, parasites, sitting in a support group waiting to die; that’s suffering. At these support groups the Narrator finds peace. He let’s go, cries with his face smothered in a man named Bob’s “bitch tits”, and then sleeps like a baby.
After a while he starts noticing the same woman at all the different meetings. Marla Singer. Marla is a faker. She doesn’t have parasites, and she sure as hell doesn’t have testicular cancer. She’s just there for entertainment and free coffee. Marla is a fucking faker, and by just being there she ruins it for the narrator, and he is soon back to watching late night TV again, not sleeping.
Lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
But not for long. Tyler Durden, whom the narrator encounters on a nude beach, won’t let him. He won’t let him loose himself in his world of neatness and momentary perfection where the sofa has to be perfect, the rug has to match the carpet, and the IKEA catalogue is flipped through furiously in the bathroom like a porn magazine.
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.
Tyler Durden’s philosophy is simple. Destruction before creation. Material possession is useless. The things you own always end up owning you. Fight Club... now there’s an idea worth fighting for.
There is a lot of violence in Fight Club, but then again, that is to be expected. The blood and destruction is not pointless, as it easily can be. It’s the point. The basic idea put forth in Fight Club is that we, as a society, have become too attached to things and it is destroying us. It turns us into drones that do nothing else but work and collect and collect and collect. We have lost the plot, and to gain it again we have to get rid of all the crap and focus on what really matters.
"It's only after you've lost everything," Tyler says, "that you're free to do anything."
When I saw the film back in 1999 I was blown away. I turned 13 that year, and I had never seen anything so cool, so raw, and still so thought through in my entire life. Years later - when I had finally realized that reading was fun - I read the novel. It gave me the exact same thing as the film; dirty angry perfection. I love the film, and I love the book. That has never happened to me before. They are both equally great, and I know for a fact that if you enjoyed one you will enjoy the other.
Fight Club gives you a different look on things. It holds a strange, but still intriguing, way of looking at the world. I know there are people who could even learn from this book, and become better people in the process. You know the ones I talk about. We have all met them. There is at least one person I know you’d love to walk up to and say “you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.”