One comes across a title, assuming nothing but what is told: a club, full of people fighting, with bloody knuckles and bruised faces. There is more to this book than what meets the eye, but that doesn’t make it better.
I don’t want Marla, and Tyler doesn’t want me around, not anymore. This isn’t about love as in caring. This is about property as in ownership.
Although not my kind of novel—the concept of a fight club, rather than violence itself—those doubts were silenced by the elements of other things. ‘Fight Club’ is as it is presented; a man, the nameless narrator, dealing with his insomnia-burdened life through a club where men fight, and meeting two people, Tyler and Marla, along the way. A mixed bag of emotions, fluctuating between confusion and loss of interest, to temporary shock, to eh.
What is unusual from the start is the narrator’s coping mechanism for his insomnia, which is cancer support groups. He does not have cancer, which I couldn’t tell if it was simply an embodiment of his character, or a way for him to meet supporting, Marla. Which, like with this hard-to-place event, absence of clarity is a constant factor. Along with the vague, over-the-top trying to be clever prose, Palahniuk’s style prevents the facts. Introductions of plot feels messy, interrupted by hazy narrative.
Which asks the question if purposeful when revealed that Tyler, ‘friend’ of the narrator, and ‘creator’ of Fight Club, is actually a disassociated personality of the narrator, a twist I surprisingly didn’t expect. I could see that the unclear and no sense of transition can be a reflection of how the narrator operates, but without clarification I couldn’t be sure.
What is even more unfortunate is how all the characters seem bland, only made interesting by these later events and their morbid thinking of how life works. It doesn’t make the story any more readable, skim-reading the final chapters.
The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.
And, as the end draws to a close, with the narrator attempting suicide, aiming to kill the personality of Tyler, whether or not he died is something I’m still trying to figure out. An issue again due to the vagueness of style. Understandably, some authors take serious topics of mental illness or death, and write it in ways that are easier to digest, without removing the severity of said topics; which, as someone who has suffered with anxiety for seven years, was something I appreciated in works, and try to do in my own.
However, the fact there is a huge jump from finding out Tyler is not real to pointing a gun at himself, excluding the idea of acknowledging he is not well, and the aftermath especially, makes it come off rushed and off-hand. In some instances ambiguity does not prove the best way.
A somewhat raw, confusing read, ‘Fight Club’ may speak on different levels to some, but didn’t exactly resonate with me.