|Review by Elizabeth Weitz|
Fight Club has always been a manifesto for the shriveled soul, the consumer whore who buys, buys, buys to fill up the emptiness inside of themselves, or the quiet revolutionary who dreams of tearing down the world.
Re-reading it is like a salve to all the brokenness in the world and in yourself and for almost 20 years, it’s all that we (and I count myself among those jagged people) had.
The sequel is here, but not in the form that you would think.
Not as a book where the pictures come together like your own personal movie.
No, author Chuck Palahniuk doesn’t want that, he wants you to “see” his vision, warts and all, and chose the comic medium to deliver his message.
And it’s perfect…but I had to read it twice before I got to that point (and I’ll tell you why in a moment)
Tyler/The Narrator (now called Sebastian) is a suburban husband celebrating nine years of marriage to Marla (who birthed a son, equally as weird) and is feeling that pull of anarchy, despite being on fistfuls of psychotropic drugs. His life is falling apart all around him. The whole American dream, that one we’ve been told will fulfill us, isn’t doing it for him anymore and Marla, who longs for the crazed, emotionally abusive/sexual deviant Tyler isn’t helping matters.
Things are about to erupt…in a big way.
Like I said, I had to read it twice before I got it. I’m so used to everything being spelled out, easy-peasy…moron-proof, that I forgot how delicious it is to struggle to understand something. Palahnuik, didn’t make it surface ready. Words and actions are hidden behind larger-than-life pills and flower petals. There is subtext, time/action jumps, a progeria support group (?) and a lot of violence all jumbled together to make a nitroglycerin mash that takes time to blow. It sweats (which makes it dangerous) and after a second read I understood…it’s not meant to rush through.
I read it again (yes, a third and fourth and how many times can that be said of the medium anymore?) and it is brilliant, the most perfect genre choice to tell a continuing saga of a man whose time has come around again.
Palahnuik, and let’s be honest here, has always had his finger on the pulse of a generation, a sort of sixth sense about what’s brewing underneath the surface. 20 years ago the latch-key generation was bitten by apathy and disillusionment with the consumerism that our parents had bought into so readily. Fight Club spoke to that, our need to feel something deeper than bargain values at IKEA and it resonated with us on an almost spiritual level.
A couple of decades later and that generation is still suffering, only we feel a bit too paralyzed to do anything about it.
So, Palahnuik brings back the spirit animal of Durden to rile us up and make us feel again.
And he does it in a way that gives rise to our inner anarchist…comics.
I don’t know if everyone is going to approve of his genre choice, but that doesn’t matter. Literary snobs (and I am one as well) need to be punched in the face every now and then and be reminded that good stories sometimes work better in another format.
This is that format.
We all needed this right hook to the noggin, and I for one am happy for the concussion…can’t wait for the next issue.