Review: Fight Club

Fight Club
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Read this book for a second time after giving the movie a rest for a few years. The book reads like a fever dream of underground boxing and how-to recipes for making explosives out of soap, sprinkled with just enough self-empowerment rhetoric to give it some philosophical heft. I don’t picture Ed Norton when I read this story of a man who creates an anarchic club that spirals wildly out of his control, but I do appreciate the way the film translated this story into something a bit more streamlined and concrete. I like the first half of the book better than the second, although sometimes Palahniuk’s style reads more like summary than story. The themes are all there; I’m not so sure about the scenes and the drama, which often seem more like incident than meaningful steps along a path. There’s a murder at the end of the book that, in particular, seems to come out of nowhere. And, like any Chuck Palahniuk book, the motifs are repeated a bit too much (if Chuck P. were a band, all his songs would have the same beat). Even so, it’s a fun book, visceral and thought-provoking.

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