Thursday, September 30, 2010

100 Days of Fantasy: Day 52

This is an ongoing series looking at books that have influenced me as a fantasy author.

Fight Club
by Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club: A NovelIf you're only familiar with Fight Club as a movie starring Brad Pitt, you're missing out on a great read.

Yes, the basic plot is pretty much the same as the movie, though the ending is quite a bit different. And the movie version does contain a fair amount of the wittier lines from the novel.

But you're still missing out if you've not read the book.

It's not just the story and the characters, though those are great. The prose, the writing, of Fight Club is what makes it awesome literature. In my opinion, Chuck Palahniuk is one of (if not the) greatest literary authors of modern times.

His style of writing in Fight Club is somewhat conversational, but it would be a conversation with someone who isn't quite right in the head and who is more than likely heavily medicated. But it would also be a conversation with someone who has a touch of the genius, who can see the world without the blinders most of us seem to wear most of the time.

Palahniuk continued this writing style through several of his other novels, though in more recent years he has opted for more straight-forward prose. Why? Likely because of criticisms that all his early novels sounded the same, as if they were being told by the same protagonist, and there is some truth to this. But still, it's a great writing style.

For me, Fight Club the novel was kind of an awakening. The book came out while I was in my mid-to-late 20s, and it reminded me of things I truly felt were important, things that couldn't be bought in catalogs, things that couldn't be collected or sold away or even given away.

Some have dubbed Fight Club an anti-capitalism novel, and though there's a touch of truth in that assessment, anyone who believes only such is missing the trees for the forest (yes, not the other way around). At its core, this novel is about how men connect with one another in the modern world, in a time when masculinity is often frowned upon, and it's not always a pretty picture.

If you are up for expanding your boundaries, Fight Club could be the novel for you. But even all you do is see the movie, that's okay, too, because it's a kick-ass movie.

Up next: Zodiac

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I liked the movie quite a lot and saw it first, then had to read the book, which was even better.