Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Revisiting Fight Club

After listening to the interview with Chuck Palahniuk (reshared November 18, 2023), I reread
 Fight Club.  If you haven’t listened to this interview, it’s worth it.  He’s fascinating. 

I recall reading Fight Club 20 years ago and thinking that, aside from the ending (which was actually better than the movie), most of the book was similar to the movie.  Strange, but the movie adapted the book well with the voice-over narration and the unreliable narrator.  It worked well.


On my most recent reading of Fight Club, however, I focused on Palahniuk’s use of rhetoric and rhythm. 


Bob’s big arms were closed around to hold me inside, and I was squeezed in the dark between Bob’s new sweating tits that hang enormous, the way we think of God’s as big.  Going around the church basement full of men, each night we met: this is Art, this is Paul, this is Bob; Bob’s big shoulders made me think of the horizon….

Bob’s shoulders inhale themselves up in a long draw, then drop, drop, drop in jerking sobs.  Draw themselves up.  Drop, drop, drop.

I’ve been coming here every week for two years, and every week Bob wraps his arms around me, and I cry.

Fight Club, 16-17


Bob, Chloe, the nameless boss, Marla.  Yes, the movie gave them mass exposure, but the book describes them with metaphors, rhetorical repetition, and yes, a bit of music. 

Add in violence and the lost generation and a crazy narrator, and no wonder this book is such a crazy success.  Funny, when I first read this, I knew the writing was smooth and easy, but I’m developing a deeper appreciation his the complexity of his style.


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