by Chuck Palahniuk
(1996 W.W. Norton & Co.)
Have you ever wondered whether you have more than one personality? Does a different you emerge in your sleep, perhaps tormenting you for sleeping and inducing insomnia?
If there were another personality within you, how would you deal with your other self?
In reading Fight Club, which is a classic, I wondered about these questions. My own thought is that life with my other self would be surreal, as if I had an internal conflict that would make my thoughts seem strange to someone looking into me (or, perhaps, trying to deal with me).
This reflects my thought in reading this very interesting, and thought-provoking novel of many years ago. Tyler Durden lives such a life, including with Marla, the lover of his other self. In one life, Tyler has a job and works away. In the other, he becomes the guru of secret fighting clubs, in which two participants fight without protection until one quits. It is said to be a cleansing process.
The essence of the story is captured in this thought-provoking passage:
“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 don’t really need.”
The story begins on top of a building about to be blown-up, with the Tylers standing and watching the destruction. The story itself is a few light years beyond any reality that you or I know, but that is probably reality for multiple-personality people.
In any event, I was circumspect when Fight Club was the assignment for our book club. I was intrigued and it produced a lively discussion. You will think about Tyler and compare him to your own life, or perhaps Tyler’s lover trying to deal with him.
This is an excellent read, certainly worthy of the acclaim it has attracted across the board.