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Sunday, January 18th, 2009 | Author:

“All a gun does is focus an explosion in one direction. You have a class of young strong men and women and they want to give their lives to something. Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don’t need. Generations have been working in Jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they really don’t need.

“We don’t have a great war in our generation, or a great depression, but we do, we have a great war of spirit. We have a great revolution against the culture. The great depression is our lives. We have a spiritual depression.’

Above is an excerpt from a novel I recently finished reading, ‘Fight Club’ by Chuck Palahniuk. I knew about the movie that was based on the book, starring Brad Pit and Edward Nortan, however I had not thought about reading it until a friend highly recommended it. It was in my ‘To read’ list for a long time, I guess almost two years, but It was not available in stores, finally found it in Reliance books and music store in Ambiance mall, Gurgaon.

On a side note – I always wonder how they estimate selling price of books? ‘Fight club’ a small novel around 270 pages is priced at Rs. 450. On the other hand J.K. Rowlings latest book ‘Tales of Beedle the Bard’ is merely a 100 page book is also priced at Rs. 495. Some big novels like Shantaram, Atlas shrugged and all are almost 1000 pagers and are available for Rs 300-400. Movie tickets are always priced same, regardless of who is starring in it, what the budget of the movie is etc, why are books priced differently? It is definitely not based on effort like we do in software, otherwise bigger books would  be priced more than smaller ones. It will be intresting to know, how they decide that this particular Novel will be sold at a certain price, Rs 495 to be precise, not 500, not 480 but Rs 495?

Coming back to Fight club – The protagonist in this books is anonymous. He hates his job, his life and has a severe case of insomnia. His doctor suggests that his insomnia problem is not a big deal and there could be worse things in life than insomnia, to prove this point his doctor advises the protagonist to attend a support group of people suffering with testicular cancer. He soon becomes addicted to attending such support groups of people who have terminal illness. In one such support group he meets another faker (not dying of any ailment and attends these groups for amusement) like himself, a woman by the name of Marla Singer.

Other than the protagonist and Marla the third and most important character in the novel is Tyler Durden. Shortly after meeting Marla, while vacationing on the Beach he meets Tyler Durden. He soon gets influenced by Tyler and his philosophy which is anti consumerism, anti establishment can be explained in his own words..

“Tyler says – Getting God’s attention for being bad was better than getting no attention at all.
Maybe because God’s hate is better than His indifference.
If you could be either God’s worst enemy or nothing, which would you choose?”

At one other instance he says

“We are the middle children of history, raised by television to believe that some day we will be millionaires and movie stars and rock stars, but we won’t. And we are just learning that fact. So don’t fuck with us.”

A wired sequence of events starts after he meets Tyler. Someone blows up his apartment with almost clinical precision, He has no place to stay so he requests Tyler if he could move into Tyler’s apartment. Tyler’s condition for allowing him to move into his apartment is that the protagonist needs to hit Tyler on his face, bare knuckled. Tyler hits him back. This is how the first Fight club starts. Fight club gets established with following rules.
1. You do not talk about fight club.
2. You DO NOT talk about fight club.
3. When someone says stop, goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over.
4. Only two guys to a fight.
5. One fight at a time.
6. No shirts or shoes.
7. Fights will go on as long as they have to.
8. If this is your first night at fight club, you have to fight.

Memberships of fight clubs starts growing exponentially and soon there are fight clubs all over America all operating under the same rules set by Tyler. Tyler later on take devoted volunteers from Fight club and start ‘Project Mayhem’. Members of Project Mayhem are involved in more destructive activities. Project Mayhem becomes a cult that is against modern civilization, they would rather have jungle everywhere, no roads, no electricity, no government, no laws. Laws of Project Mayhem are simple..
1. You do not ask questions.
2. You do not ask questions.
3. No excuses.
4. No lies.
5. You have to trust Tyler.

DON’T Read this para if you plan to read the book – Narrator becomes disillusioned with Fight club and Project Mayhem because of the destruction and the growing attacks on corporate establishments. Narrator wants to stop it but soon realizes that it cannot be stopped without killing Tyler. Tyler cannot be killed because Tyler is not a different person but his own different personality i.e. Him and Tyler share the same Body. While the Narrator is sleeping Tyler is awake and using hid body to grow Fight club and Project Mayhem.

Beyond the basic plot, which is quite thrilling, Fight Club is full of Anti Consumerism sentiment. For example at one point narrator says. “You Buy furniture. You tell yourself this is the last Sofa I will ever need in my life. Buye the sofa, then for couple of years you are satisfiedthat no matter what goes wrong, at least you got the sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. The perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you are trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.

One take away from this book is – At fight club they don’t fight for money, they don’t fight each other, they fight everything they hate in life.

Category: Quotations, Reviews  | Tags: , ,  | 2 Comments