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4.6 out of 5 stars
Fight Club
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2009
I would venture to say that years from now critics and everyone else will place Chuck Palahniuk along with other greats. He's really come up with a new genre, and one that is far edgier than anything that has come before. While he probably owes a debt of gratitude to William Burroughs, Hunter Thompson, and even Vonnegut, he's really in a class by himself.

A few things make this book like no other: First, it is extremely violent (think CLOCKWORK ORANGE) only with more focus and drive. Also a different type of violence. Second, it has one heck of a plot--something a lot of "new age" books don't, or even classics for that matter. The idea for the novel is mind-bending on so many levels that there's simply not enough space to go into it here. Suffice it to say that if you read if for the surface story you won't be disappointed, but if you want to dig more and really get into the psychological implications that this book proposes, subtly, then you have quite a lot to ponder.

Our protagonist in this first-rate book is named Jack and he's a sort of everyman, though with a new twist. He hates his job (who doesn't?) and is one messed up guy. Jack meets Tyler (Durden), who makes soap and a lot more, if you know what I mean. Between these two guys, they develop a "fight club" so that other frustrated men can be the heck out of each other, releasing their tensions, macho-bonding, and just about everything else you could throw into the mix. The novel develops a little slowly at first, but by two thirds of the way into it, you'll be hooked and wanting to know what happens to the characters. The ending is like no other and no spoilers will be placed here--you'll just have to read it.

One other notable point is that the movie follows the book pretty much on cue. The book does illuminate side stories and makes clear some of the things the movie left murky. It's a rare thing for a movie to respect a book to this extent, but obviously the film makers really liked the work and wanted to preserve it in its purest form. They did a heck of a job, but even if you've seen the film, you should read the book.

Weird and fast-paced,I was reminded of either "Slaughterhouse Five" or "Clockwork Orange" in places with their twisted plots and characterizations. All of Palahniuk's books are great, but this is his best by far. Also try "Invisible Monsters" and "Lullaby" for another trip entirely.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2011
Strangely enough I have never watched the movie, but thought that I should check out what all the fuss was about by reading the book. It is not possible to stress I LOVED IT strongly enough! It was hard to believe that such a relatively short and fast paced book could turn into such a fulfilling powerful experience.
The best for me is that this book has something for everyone; interesting characters, powerful good writing, amazing plot, strong images and great depth. You are taken on a journey with this book and it is your choice whether you wish to be liberated through the core violence or carried away in the underlying existential sentiment.
It is one of those books that demand a second reading together with a pen and notebook.

"One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection."

Perfection achieved
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2003
Like many, I had heard of the book "Fight Club" after seeing the movie. As soon as I found out that it was based on a novel, I remember thinking to myself;
How could this be a book?
Is that even possible?
The movie alone was so unbelievable that if it were done wrong, it would've been a horrible mess. But it was done just right, and the results were amazing.
One of my friends had read the book and told me on many occasions, "You've got to read the book." I told him that I've already seen the movie, and again, he says to me, "You've got to read the book. It's great, and it's actually different from the movie in a lot of parts."
That worried me, because I absolutely LOVED the movie. It's one of my favorites. I remember trying to read a book that another one of my favourite movies, "The Fan," was based on, and it was not an enjoyable experience. The book was COMPLETELY different from the movie, and not in a good way. I ended up never finishing it.
So, I was hesitant at first, but about a year or two ago I decided to give it a shot. And am I ever glad that I did. "Fight Club" is an outstanding novel. The writing is so refreshing and shows us the mind of a promising new author, Chuck Palahniuk. This was his very first novel, and I found that so amazing. Because this was one incredible debut. I have read plenty of novels all from different kinds of authors, but I have NEVER read a debut as incredible or impressive as this.
To give you a brief idea of what the book is about without giving away too much is it revolves around the narrator, an insomniac who can't get a grip on his life. With insomnia everything is a distraction. He can't focus on his job, he can't focus on people, and most of all, he can't focus on his life. Soon enough, he meets a slippery soap salesman, Tyler Durden, who is about to show our narrator a new outlook on life. And this is where they invent "Fight Club." It doesn't take long before everything starts to get out of control....WAY out of control, to one shocking climax and finale. (Don't think you have the answers because you've seen the movie. TRUST me on this one.)
This is a humorous novel with some darkness to it. It is both funny and thrilling at the same time. The book is filled with some of the most memorable lines; some that were used in the movie, others that were not. This is dark satire at its finest.
Know this; reading the book and watching the movie are two different experiences. Yes, there are similarities and there are differences. The only thing is that unlike "The Fan," the differences in the novel "Fight Club" really work and doesn't take away anything from anyone who was a fan of the film. It still stays true to the idea and story. Chances are you will enjoy the differences. That alone gives you a reason for reading, since you know it's going to be a different ride.
After reading "Fight Club," I knew that Chuck Palahniuk had a unique voice and talent. And I have found myself to be right from reading some of his other novels. (So far I have read this, "Choke," and "Lullaby.") This is a very easy book to read. Not for people who get grossed out easily, though. If you have seen the movie, read the book. If not, still read the book. I can't really say which is better, the movie or the book. To me, they were both different experiences, and I found them both just as enjoyable. But one thing for sure, all the credit should be given to Palahniuk. After all, "Fight Club" came from his mind. A terrific read and one of my favourites.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2007
A fist full of teeth and bleedoing gums all set in a literary backdrop that will make you squirm as you read it. Get a copy of this better than the film, and I thought the film was fantastic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2001
If you are one of the unfortunate people who avoided the film or book because of the "action-movie" sounding title, or uproar over the violence, look closer. What you will find is a towering new talent, a deeply thought out philosophy of the wrongs of modern consumerism. If you enjoyed the films' style, there's lots more of the same in here, and it even makes the film more enjoyable to watch afterwards. A must have
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 October 1999
No one truly cares whether you live or die, but to truly live, one must first die. That is the philosophy of the disenfranchised younger generation. Violence and alienation is acceptable social behavior by the Gen Xers.
Into this mix steps forward Tyler Durden. He harnesses the growing frustration of his generation towards the materialism of the boomers. He creates the FIGHT CLUB where young males can batter each other in basements across the country. Every morning, the warriors return to their daily drudge of minimal employment. However, the world has yet to learn what Tyler's true agenda is, an announcement that will be announced to the world from one of its "highest peaks".
FIGHT CLUB is a taut thriller that centers on a humanized form of chaos theory. Each generation wrecks havoc on the thoughts and ambitions of their parent generation, leaving their elders to wonder if that is all there is? The narrator is an interesting character whose conclusions of life are frightening but thought provoking. In some ways, the novel is a darker version of Hair as people remain heartless and ignore their friends and loved ones except when they are dying. Chuck Palahniuk writes the first superb alienation satire that places the sixties radicals in the positions once held for their parents.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2014
Having watched the David Fincher movie some years ago I decided to read Chuck Palahniuk’s debut novel. Although I was already familiar with the basic plot twists as represented within the movie I still found that the novel follows a fairly baffling narrative trajectory. It is dark, bitter and impossibly twisted.

Palahniuk’s style is minimalist in his approach. By his own admission he prefers verbs to adjectives. He reads like Charles Bukowski on speed. At times it felt as though he had possibly written a conventional first draft and then edited it with a chainsaw, paring it back to the barest minimum of words that would still convey the essence of the piece. For me this works in parts, but it does not make for a comfortable read. I felt that I needed all my concentration just to stay with it.

The novel is written as a succession of random scenes from a violent nightmare world which spirals inexorably towards an almost apocalyptic conclusion. I found Palahniuk’s fascination with the macabre and repulsive to be in turn both relentless and deeply unsettling.

Is it absorbing? Yes.

Is it disturbing? Yes.

Is it enjoyable? For me, no; not in any sense. It simply grips you by the throat and demands that you keep reading until you reach the end.

Can I sleep now?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2012
The cult classic movie Fight Club, based on Palahnuik's novel, is one of my favorite movies. Now, after reading the novel years after seeing the film, Palahnuik's Fight Club is now my favorite book. Perfectly written, it is a book which I found I could not put down. Every chapter brought more and more thrill. I would especially recommend Fight Club to young adult males who wish to re-new their interest in reading.Go on read it , it might just change the way you look at your life and whats truly important , I found it empowering and very astute.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2006
It has a lot to live up to, what with the weight of the phenomenal film on its shoulders. I read the book after watching the film (and have gone on to read and watch both countless times again) and not only does it meet expectations but it also develops a further understanding of the film.

Jack (our narrator), bored with his mundane job, his sleepless nights and his interior decorating fetish, meets Marla- a ghostly cigarette of a woman- and an unconventional relationship ensues.

He then meets Tyler Durden, a maker of soap. Tyler, however, is the catalyst for Jack to eschew ennui for enlightenment- through arranging underground clubs for blue-collar workers to beat the anxieties out of one another. This soon spirals into something much more dangerous; for Marla, Jack and America.

This is (unsurprisingly) a violent book, but it is lifted by its fast-paced, nihilistic tone and mock-philosophical musings.

Palahniuk seems to refuse to be pigeon-holed. Read this and you'll see why.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2002
This book is simply incredible. It takes 2 readings (like the film takes 2 viewings) minimum. However it is so worth it. The ideoligies presented in the book by Tyler and and the dark humour and carying relationships he has with Jack and Marla just make this book so interesting and different it is imspossible to stop thinking about it. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
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