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So, are his novels any good? I went to an English department pot-luck last night and a former student was raving about Fight Club--the novel, not the movie, though he liked the movie too. He was all enthused about the philosophical depths. Of course, this is also a young man who spent his childhood sticking pins in his sister (or so he said) and whose assessment of the LotR movies is "Peter Jackson hates heroes," so I'm a bit skeptical of his perceptions.

After reading Overstreet's review of the movie, and the amazon.com review that goes beyond "omigod, this book is awesome!" ("The difficulties with FIGHT CLUB are not limited to its awkward, clumsy, lazy style, unfortunately. There is also the unavoidable problem of content. The premise of the book is as follows: fighting enhances one's feeling of virility. I do not have a problem with this premise because it is is politically reactionary (although it is) or merely bland and conventional (although it is that, as well). My problem is that this premise is absolutely illogical. Since when is getting beaten up empowering?"), I'm not too sanguine.

But maybe it's just one of those books I don't need to read? Or will I never get it until I read it? Or am I just being a girl? :?

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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I'm guessing it seems cool to anybody who just found out about Nietzsche, that's probably why students like the book so much. I read the book before I saw the movie and felt it did a pretty great job distilling the ideas of the book. I think most people miss the satire that Fight Club becomes another "group think" just like the society trying to rebell against in the first place. Kind of like punk rockers who dye their hair pink and pierce their nose think they are so out of the mainstream but within their group they are exactly alike.

Stealing! How could you? Haven't you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain whats-his-name.

- Homer

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I'm guessing it seems cool to anybody who just found out about Nietzsche, that's probably why students like the book so much. I read the book before I saw the movie and felt it did a pretty great job distilling the ideas of the book. I think most people miss the satire that Fight Club becomes another \"group think\" just like the society trying to rebell against in the first place. Kind of like punk rockers who dye their hair pink and pierce their nose think they are so out of the mainstream but within their group they are exactly alike.
'Zacly. But is it intentional irony, or inconsistancy?

Scott -- 2nd Story -- Twitter

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'Zacly. But is it intentional irony, or inconstancy?

The impression I got from the Palahniuk interview in Entertainment Weekly was that he is aware of the irony.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

Twitter.
Letterboxd.

Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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I think Palahuniuk gets it but most young readers don't (from the people I've talked to at least).

After reading my first post and noticing the spelling and grammer errors I must remind myself not to post while watching the baseball playoffs and enjoying a cold beverage or two.

Stealing! How could you? Haven't you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain whats-his-name.

- Homer

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  • 9 years later...

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I can't decide what to do with Palahniuk.  I was entranced by Fight Club, Survivor, Choke and Lullaby (especially, 2002's Lullaby, which I think may still be his best novel.)

 

I didn't mind the lines he was crossing too much in Diary and Haunted, but I was worried that the gruesomeness was becoming more of a contrived thing to sell his books.  Rant (2007) was the first one I hated.  I regreted reading it after.  Because of his track record, I kept trying with both Snuff (2008) and Pygmy (2009) but I couldn't stomach getting through either of them.  So Rant, Snuff and Pygmy all literally ended up in my garbage can.

 

It's ironic because Palahniuk used to be so good at critiquing and making fun of the narcissistism and consumerism of our culture, but now "Palahniuk" just seems like another commercial brand.  How is the point of a sequel to Fight Club, particularly in graphic novel form, anything other than a marketing money-making gimmick?

 

At the same time, to be honest, I'll admit that I can't tell if it's me or if it's Palahniuk who has changed.  Part of me wants the old Palahniuk back, the one who was a master of satire and who could look at our culture from the outside instead of the one who just now seems to revel in gruesomeness in order to sell his books.  Another part of me has to acknowledge that my personal sensibilities have changed over the years, and maybe it's not Palahniuk who has changed.

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