Sunday, March 27, 2005

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (book review)

Never saw the movie, but heard the title mentioned over and over again in magazines and websites to the point that Fight Club has become a cult pop icon. When I saw a copy being sold at the local bookstore, I bought myself a copy.

Fight Club can be deceiving. It was a short novel at barely more than 200 pages and the text wasn’t overwhelming. But never confuse thickness and complexity for quality for Fight Club certainly had the latter in spades. While some readers might perceive the novel to be nihilistic and violent in nature, Fight Club is actually cathartic and gives the reader much room for interpretation. Palahniuk successfully writers a modern novel for a modern audience.

The book focuses on two characters, the narrator and the enigmatic persona known as Tyler Durden. Whereas other writers might have focused on the setting and description, Pahalniuk gives us a first-person perspective of things and the way he executes his narration through placement of words and sentences is simply amazing. Language is another of Palahniuk’s strong suits as the two main characters speak frankly and directly, two distinct characters with different perspectives and speech patterns. While Fight Club doesn’t have a huge cast, Palahniuk focuses on the central characters in the novel.

One can never get enough of the human condition and that’s essentially what this book explores. There’s a big twist in the end, but I think readers are prepared for that. Fight Club was never about fighting, but rather the realization of the human soul.

I enjoyed the read, brief as it was, but Palahniuk shows that a lot can be accomplished through simplicity and imagination. There’s a lot of things that is appealing in the book, and you don’t really have to be a fan of fiction or suspense to thoroughly enjoy this piece. It’s short, simple, and brief, so it should retain your attention long enough to get by.

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