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Fight Club: 04/27/16

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk ... go on. Get it out of your system. Even if you haven't read the book or seen the movie, I'm sure you know the rules. So just give into temptation and recite them.

This book has been sitting in the aisles of my to be read list for a while. Not really on the wishlist, just sort of hovering there in the same way that Tyler Durden hovers in the periphery of narrator's consciousness.

I decided to finally read the book after having seen the film with my son. I already knew the twist so I wasn't really expecting much, if you will. But there in the middle of this crazy, rude, violent, dysfunctional story was a deconstruction of many of the road trip tropes I've been tracking down.

The Narrator crunches numbers for a car manufacturer, weighing the numbers of accidents against other factors to see if there will be enough of a financial hit to warrant a recall. His job also takes across the country on a large number of red eye flights. It doesn't matter because he has insomnia (something that would make him the perfect companion for a road trip). Although he knows cars he almost never travels by them himself, save for one scene near the end where he's forced to play chicken with some of the club's more fanatical devotees.

Here's a character who works on the production of cars and travels all over the country but doesn't drive. He's interested in the destruction of cars. He's interested in accidental deaths. He even wishes for his own destruction and even witnesses the total destruction of everything he holds dear when his Ikea furnished apartment explodes.

If he were a proper road trip narrator, his story would be linear. It would start in Chicago and it would go logically along a predetermined path. The adventures would be tied to the road chosen and the members on the trip.

Here, though, we know from the very start of the book that this won't be the case. The Narrator tells of his insomnia and his numerous flights. Rather, he tells of them in terms of where he wakes up. It's a mishmash of airports that criss cross the United States until arriving in the sort of spot one would normally expect a road trip to head (the beach).

Disjointed travels. Disjointed thinking. Disjointed narrative. Disjointed Narrator. Everything laid out in one messy, vibrating f(l)ight plan.

Four stars

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