You have to trust Tyler; ‘Fight Club’ by Chuck Palahniuk

A night of uninterrupted sleep is a beautiful thing, and what I can only assume is due to my fear, worry and guilt, means it is a rare and beautiful experience for me. I miss childhood, when the only worry was if someone decided to dislike you or your mum denied you the high heeled shoes you wanted for school; those where the days of sleep. Now sleep is interrupted by worries, noise, temperature and an almost violent need to pee; I have not been this familiar with 7am since I was five.

There is no way to desist sleep deprivation; I have tried many methods. Not drinking after 6pm is impossible; my unnatural thirst will not have it. I have tried calming music, but there are only so many waves you can hear before you need a toilet break. Pills work, however, a steady reliance on medication is not an avenue I would like to wander down. With this ailment you can see how Fight Club caused me to concern for my health. I have had insomnia before, and I am telling you now I do not need to meet my own Tyler Durden; no one wants to be known for being more pro-active in their sleep than they are awake.

The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.

Every weekend, in the basements and parking lots of bars across the country, young men with white-collar jobs and failed lives take off their shoes and shirts and fight each other barehanded just as long as they have to. Then they go back to those jobs with blackened eyes and loosened teeth and the sense that they can handle anything. Fight club is the invention of Tyler Durden, projectionist, waiter, and dark, anarchic genius, and it’s only the beginning of his plans for violent revenge on an empty consumer-culture world.Synopsis from Goodreads

Palahniuk achieved the shock factor, I never want insomnia again, however, that was probably the only part of the book where I felt anything other than contentment with the book. It was like looking at a rare flower; while you know it is apparently, according to experts, aesthetically beautiful you just do not feel that rush of enjoyment. I equate this to my already having watched the film, which again I liked but was not amazed. The story felt padded, even as a short piece of fiction I wanted Palahniuk to get to the point.

Our unnamed narrator is interesting and layered; however, I felt I should have been given a more substantial reason for Tyler Durden’s appearance. I can see that this lack of reasons adds to the shock of it; arriving as if from nowhere to combat our Narrators repressed distaste for his normal-ism, assisted by the narrators stress and insomnia. Unable to release this subconscious hatred for his Ikea lifestyle Tyler is born to do it for him; going out of his way to destroy not only our narrators consumer driven life, but that of the world.I did however enjoy the closeness of Durden to burden; Tyler definitely is one. I have no idea if this intentional or not, but it is very clever either way.

I would have found more interest had Tyler also narrated. I believe Palahniuk could have still disguised that our narrator and Tyler are one; the addition of Tyler’s voice would not have deflected from the mystery. Discovering a combination of characters in this format may arguably have been more shocking. However, I question if the revelation of the narrator and Tyler is meant to be the real shock, as Palahniuk alludes on many occasions that the narrator and Tyler are one, for example, in the narrator questioning Tyler’s existence and questioning Marla Singer and Tyler never being in a room at the same room. This revelation plays second to what I found more disturbing, the spread and infiltration of Fight Club and Project Mayhem. What begins as a ‘harmless’ gathering is harnessed by Tyler into an almost military operation to destroy Capitalism. On discovering Tyler’s/his plans our narrator goes to find help, but is constantly faced with club members. It is frightening to realise no one is on your side, that you are the King among your insane citizens; are they mad, or are you? For the life of me I cannot remember where I heard this tale, in a film, book or philosophy class. If you know please tell me so I can reference it.

I think Fight Club is a must read, but I will not be re-reading it any time soon. An interesting book to discuss; but not to read.

Edit: Due to me rather cleverly spelling the authors name wrong.

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5 Comments on "You have to trust Tyler; ‘Fight Club’ by Chuck Palahniuk"

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Krissy
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I was in the same boat – I saw the movie (actually a few years) before reading the book, so it definitely lost a bit of the shock factor that Palahniuk was going for knowing the narrator & Tyler were one in the same. That’s such a driving force behind the final part of the book that without it, it really losses the impact. Still an enjoyable read for me though. I used to be a rabid Palahniuk fan reading everything I could get my hands on, though I haven’t read any of his recent stuff in the last couple… Read more »