Fight Club: the novel

For all the times that I’ve seen the movie Fight Club, I’ve never actually read the book, although I’ve always meant to. But then I’ve always meant to read a lot of books.

Still, Chuck Palahniuk is a GenX writer and Fight Club is a very GenX book, a male-centered one to be sure but no less GenX for that.

Anyway, I managed to nab a copy, so at least if the impulse hits me I won’t have to hope that the library has it on the shelf.

Question: Did they ever market Fight Club soap?

Of course, first I need to finish the Philip Roth novel, The Plot Against America, that I’ve been meaning to read for years. I’ve even started it a few times but just couldn’t get into it. Not sure why. It’s a great bit of writing, but then it’s Philip Roth so of course it would be. But this one now probably ranks as one my favorite Roth novels.

The story is alternate history, supposing what would it have been like had Charles Lindbergh become POTUS, defeating FDR in the 1939 election. Apparently Lindbergh was something of anti-semit e as well as isolationist, or so posits the novel, and as such strikes and agreement with Hitler to keep America out of WWII. But that’s not the worst of it. Gradually the US become or less and less hospitable place for Jews. The events unfold through the eyes of a nine-year-old boy named Philip Roth, and how it effects his family living in Newark, New Jersey.

Finally getting into it, I’ve hardly been able to put it down.

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Slate.com obit for David Foster Wallace

I thought this was a really good obit/essay on DFW. It praises without being fawning, which I think probably happens too often with Wallace.

David Foster Wallace began his review of John Updike’s Toward the End of Time by classing Updike, along with Philip Roth and Norman Mailer, as “the Great Male Narcissists who’ve dominated postwar American fiction.” The word narcissist isn’t strictly disapproving there. One reason that the piece, 10 years after its publication, remains more memorable than its ostensible object is that Wallace offhandedly engaged the “radical self-absorption” of this Greatest Generation of Quality Lit—”probably the single most self-absorbed generation since Louis XIV”—in a complicated way. He saw that narcissism as the force both animating moving prose and repelling younger readers in its involute explorations. He imagined—in a gorgeous little gesture of telescoped perspective—how things might appear to the GMNs, “in their senescence”: “It must seem to them no coincidence that the prospect of their own deaths appears backlit by the approaching millennium and online predictions of the death of the novel as we know it. When a solipsist dies, after all, everything goes with him.”

Read full article.