Book: Fight Club

Biblical scripture. Enlightenment.
209 pages, ★ 

Fight Club has already been the subject of extensive philosophical, cultural, psychological and literary analysis, because it carries enough metaphors to allow readers to see entirely what they want to see. It’s convenient that the protagonist has no name, because for most readers, it’s actually a prophecy about some repressed part of the reader. We step into the protagonist’s shoes. I therefore saw this book as an introverted salaryman’s enlightenment because, secretly, that’s what I needed in my life.

For years before reading this, I craved the boring office-job of the protagonist. Long hours, photocopiers, fax machines, coffee, suits with cornflower-blue ties and a £24,000 pay-check were the natural fate of Cambridge graduates (in Deloitte or Accenture… does anyone know what those companies actually do?)

Fight Club was, in part, the encouragement I needed to throw that away without knowing what would replace it. And it paid off in every respect: I work less, earn more, am happier and healthier than the corporate monkeys that walked out of Cambridge with good grades. I got the worst grades in my class, but, one year later, am without doubt earning more than all of them, dollar-for-dollar. I feel liberated.

Remember that this is half a book. The whole point is that it ends at a nadir, from which point on (presuming you’ve been acting out Project Mayhem in your own life), it’s up to you to steer your newly-worthless life in a direction of your choosing. It would be against the book’s revolutionary nature to impose a “happy ending”, or vision of what success looks like for the protagonist. All Fight Club does is demonstrate how to destroy what you’ve got, leaving you with, “a white canvas upon which the most beautiful words can be written”, as Chairman Mao once said. It’s a scary ride, but I recommend this book (and its associated lifestyle) for anyone who’s considering a career in a suit.

Fight Club is so pumped full of quotable lines (or “Tweets”) that it was almost designed to be made into a film. Of course, perfectly, it was.  

7 thoughts on “Book: Fight Club

    1. I’ve never met a woman who was willing to read Fight Club! They assume that it’s about mindless thuggery, or (excusably, from the title) about fighting, then they don’t read it. I absolutely loved Fight Club too. I’m also happy to have discovered your blog. It is indeed very intelligent…

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