Top positive review
33 people found this 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.