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Palahniuk, Chuck (b. 1962)  
 
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That novel became Fight Club. "I thought, Well, they wouldn't buy it, but at least they wouldn't forget it," Palahniuk says. "And it turns out, boom—they loved it."

Fight Club

Told in the first person by an unnamed narrator, Fight Club is about a bored, and insomniac, office worker who first finds solace in attending a series of support-group meetings for illnesses he does not have before becoming involved with the mysterious, and charismatic Tyler Durden and organizing an underground society—bloody, brutal, bare-knuckle fight clubs—to help men express deep-rooted, primal aggression.

Sponsor Message.

In an interview, Palahniuk explains that the novel began with "the idea that I wish there had been a structured, consensual way of exploring my ability to experience assault and to assault another person. That I could have trusted somebody enough to say, 'I've never been hit really hard and don't want to die not knowing what that's like, so would you hit me and I'll hit you?'"

Upon its publication in 1996, Booklist called Fight Club a "powerful, and possibly brilliant, first novel," while Publishers Weekly found it "caustic, outrageous, bleakly funny, violent and always unsettling . . . [an] utterly original creation [that] will make even the most jaded reader sit up and take notice."

The novel won the 1997 Oregon Book Award for Best Novel and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award.

A visually stylish and obsessively scrutinized film version of Fight Club was released in 1999, directed by David Fincher, with a screenplay written by Jim Uhls. Brad Pitt played the iconic role of Tyler Durden, with Edward Norton as the unnamed narrator, and Helena Bonham Carter as Marla Singer, the love interest shared by the two men.

Similar to Palahniuk's novel, Fincher's film received polarizing critical response upon its initial release, but has since gained a passionate cult following.

Even before Palahniuk came out publicly as a gay man, several film critics perceived undertones in the interactions between the two male characters. For example, David Denby, in his review of the film for The New Yorker, called it a "grunge rhapsody on fascist, sadomasochistic, and homoerotic themes," while Robert Alan Brook and Robert Westerfelhaus, writing in Critical Studies in Media Communications, titled their essay "Hiding Homoeroticism in Plan View: The Fight Club DVD as Digital Closet."

Other Works by Palahniuk

Palahniuk followed up the success of Fight Club with the novel Survivor (1999), which concerns Tender Branson, the last remaining member of a mass-suicide cult, who dictates his life story into the black box recorder of an airplane he has hijacked.

His fourth novel Choke (2001) focuses on Victor Mancini, a theme park attendant and recovering sex addict (Palahniuk fills the novel with graphic, highly detailed, and increasingly bizarre sex scenes that the author says he gathered by interviewing members of his local gym), who, as a means to make extra income to help pay his mother's expensive medical bills, pretends to choke in restaurants in order to scam money through emotional blackmail from anyone who attempts to save him.

A film version of Choke was released in 2008, written and directed by Clark Gregg, and starring Sam Rockwell as Victor Mancini. Stephen Holden, writing for the New York Times, observes that the film "revolves around two of Mr. Palahniuk's favorite intertwined themes: a lost young man's search for a father figure, and the atavistic male need, stymied by modern civilization, to vent antisocial aggression and to conquer simply for the visceral thrill of it."

Palahniuk is a very prolific writer, publishing a new book nearly once a year. His other novels include Lullaby (2002), Diary (2003), Haunted: A Novel of Stories (2005), Rant: An Oral History of Buster Casey (2007), Snuff (2008), Pygmy (2009), Tell-All (2010), and Damned (2011).

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