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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Reader's Diary #1350 - Chuck Palahniuk (writer), Cameron Stewart (artist): Fight Club 2

Last December I read Cameron Stewart's Batgirl of Burnside and entirely missed that Stewart is Canadian. I could have counted it toward the Canadian Book Challenge! Drat for lost opportunities. But, wow, I'm shocked at finding yet another high profile Canadian comics writer/artist. I'm starting to think that it's safer to assume they're all Canadian unless I hear otherwise. We definitely have a disproportionately large number of Canadians in the medium and, my friends, that's why Canada is the coolest.

But patriot pride aside, I wasn't overly thrilled with Fight Club 2. I will say, however, that the art wasn't the problem. And also, before getting into it, I'll say up front that I'd only seen the movie of Fight Club, I didn't read the book, and as Palahniuk goes through pains in this book to point out the differences, my expectations for this sequel may have been unfairly skewed.

In the movie, I remember Tyler Durden as being a figment of Sebastian's imagination brought on by the stress of a mundane life. It seemed to imply that this could happen to anyone. In this sequel, however, there seems to be more emphasis on chronic mental health issues. It starts to appear that Sebastian has been a long term sufferer of schizophrenia (though that word is never used) and that's it's rooted in his genes. Whichever approach you like best, I suppose, is a matter of opinion, though I enjoyed the former.

While that is the primary idea, the book itself begins to take on too many themes and has an annoying, rather silly plot involving Sebastian's wife Marla to boot. There's a meta-theme about Fight Club and the movie and Tyler Durden having taken on a legacy and life of their own, out of Palahniuk's control, but it's all rather unoriginal. Maus II did it so much better. Plus, Palahniuk's attempts to deflect the book's issues tried to head off the critics, having characters in the book accuse him of being gimmicky and of trying too hard to be clever. And it doesn't work. The Emperor may yell out to those he passes that he knows darn well that he's naked, but he's still naked.

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