First-person narrative. The real name of the narrator, provisionally called Jack, is not mentioned in the novel.
Jack is on the roof of a New York skyscraper with a gun in his mouth. The arms handle is held by Tyler. Its real purpose is not a skyscraper, but the National Museum, to which the skyscraper must fall. Tyler yearns to destroy “all these dead people.”
It all started with Jack’s insomnia. He does not sleep for weeks and is already going crazy.
Insomnia distances you from everything around. You can not touch anything, and nothing touches you.
The attending physician tells him that he does not die from insomnia, and instead of writing a sleeping pill, he sends to look at people who are much worse. Jack begins to visit groups supporting cancer patients, parasites of the brain, etc. He participates in group therapy, and insomnia goes away. Especially Jack likes to cry on the chest of Big Bob, a former bodybuilder with testicular cancer.
It’s easy to cry in the stuffy darkness, hiding in someone, when you realize that all that you can achieve at the end will turn into garbage. Everything you are proud of will be thrown away.
Two years later Jack notices Marla Singer. She is not sick, and knows that Jack is also a “tourist”. Her presence prevents Jack from relaxing, and insomnia returns. In order not to meet, they divide the groups equally.
Jack works as a coordinator of reviews in the company
If you wake up elsewhere, at other times – can you wake up to another person?
Jack does not suspect that Tyler was there long before they met. Derden only works at night. For some time he was a projectionist and pasted pictures of porn films into cartoons and family comedies. The audience did not notice anything, but they got in a bad mood. Now he works as a waiter serving banquets. Tyler gives Jack his phone.
Jack lives in an apartment “on the fifteenth floor of a high-rise building, similar to a filing cabinet for widows and young professionals.” A cozy home is full of carefully selected items.
The things that you own begin to own you.
After returning from another business trip, Jack discovers his nest blown up. The police believe that there was an explosion of gas, and suspects Jack: he could arrange this to get insurance.
Homeless Jack has to move to Tyler. Instead of paying for the post, Tyler asks Jack to hit him with all his might. They fight every Saturday. Then people start to join them, and the first Fight Club for people with a craving for self-destruction arises.
Maybe self-destruction is the answer.
Soon the club moves to the basement of the bar. People gather on Saturday evening, after closing. Tyler enters the rules.
Now Jack sees people with disfigured faces everywhere. These are members of the Fight Club. “Most people come to fight club because of what they are too afraid to fight with.” Jack’s face is also disfigured and does not heal. Jack is proud of his scars.
Now he lives on Paper Street, in a three-story house intended for demolition, which Tyler rents. They live on money from selling toilet soap – it occasionally cooks Derden. Soon Tyler gets to know Marla. At night, she calls Jack to announce her intention to commit suicide, but Jack is asleep. Pipe takes Tyler and rushes to save her. Since then, Marla periodically sleeps in Darden’s room. Jack believes that she destroys one more part of his life, and soon he will lose his only friend. Jack never sees Marla and Tyler together. Durden always appears when Marla leaves the room. “No sound, no smell.” Tyler just appears. ” He believes that Marla is trying to reach the bottom, and Jack is still far away, he should give up self-improvement and strive for self-destruction.
Tyler leaves a moist imprint of his lips on Jack’s hand and sprinkles it with alkali. He makes Jack suffer the pain of a chemical burn, after which there remains a scar that looks like a stigma. Durden asks Jack not to talk about him.
Tyler arranges for Jack to work as a waiter in the evening banquets. While spreading exquisite food, they are rampaging: urinate in soup, let the gases on the souffle, blow their nose at the jellied.
Jack learns that Fight clubs are multiplying. In one of the clubs comes Big Bob. Marla discovers a tumor near the lymph nodes and asks Jack to examine her. Jack notices the same Tyler lips on his hand as Marla has.
Detective investigating the explosion in Jack’s apartment, reports that the home was destroyed by self-made dynamite.
The liberator who destroyed my property is fighting for my spirit. The teacher, who will sweep away the attachment from my path, will set me free.
Jack feels that the apartment did not explode, but he himself, his former life.
Tyler and Jack blackmail their bosses. Tyler threatens to tell reporters about the frames of porn films pasted into cartoons, and Jack – about defects in cars that have not been corrected and about urine in an exquisite soup. Bosses are forced to pay for silence.
I’m Jack’s Grinning Revenge.
Jack seems to have Tyler talking instead.
Fight clubs spread throughout America. Of the best fighters, Tyler is gaining an army – the basis of the project “Mangle”. The project consists of committees on arson, violence, riots, misinformation. Each week, Tyler gives them a “homework” – to allow himself to be beaten or taken from a wallet by a passerby. Individual assignments are more difficult and more dangerous than “homework”. They play it out like a lottery. The project also has rules.
The goal of the project is “to free the world from its history” and drag it to the bottom. Tyler believes that the project “Mangle” will clean and save the planet. He does not care about people.
Now the old house on Paper Street is full of Tyler fighters, whom Jack calls “space monkeys.” He keeps his small army, making soap from human fat, pumped out with liposuction. Material is extracted from a hospital dump. Jack feels superfluous, especially after Tyler suddenly disappears. “Space monkeys” continue to work – they cook soap, grow aromatic herbs, and committees are disgracing in the city. Soon, Big Bob joins them. Jack is looking for Tyler for Fight Club and is convinced that a friend has become a legend.
One day Tyler calls Jack to work and orders to leave the office – he is waiting for a car. On the road, the driver of the Cadillac starts a risky game with cars traveling on the opposite lane. The driver asks Jack what he would like to do before his death. Jack replies: leave work.
Jack does the first “homework” – takes away a driver’s license from twelve people.
This is what Tyler told me to do. It’s Tyler’s words coming from my lips. I’m Tyler’s lips. I’m Tyler’s hands.
Jack again drives around the country, looks at the broken cars. Now Fight clubs are in every city. Jack looks for Tyler in them and gradually notices that they take him for Derden. Jack calls Marla, and that confirms – he is Tyler.
When Jack falls asleep, Tyler appears. He is angry, because Jack talked about him with other people. He informs Jack that they use one body – Derden at night, and Jack in the afternoon. This Jack rented a house on Paper Street. He never had insomnia, he just got tired after Tyler’s night work. Marla sees no difference between them, for her there is only Tyler Durden. Jack with horror understands that he has a “disassociative personality disorder of the psyche.” He hated his life and wanted to escape from the trap of things, to become something more. And then there was a pseudo-personality named Tyler – cheerful, charming, strong, independent and free, as Jack was never.
Returning, Jack tells Marla everything and asks him not to let him sleep. He is afraid of finally disappearing, turning into Tyler. Jack is going to correct what Derden does at night.
The police kill Big Bob on a “homework”, and Jack decides to take advantage of Tyler’s authority and close the Fight Club with the “Mangle” project. Club members do not obey and expel Jack. He drinks stimulant pills not to fall asleep. Jack seems to be being pursued. Around himself, he sees faces disfigured in fights.
In the morning Jack goes to work and discovers that his office was blown up, and the boss was killed. It was Tyler who poured homemade napalm into the computer monitor.
I wanted to quit my job. I gave Tyler permission. Make yourself at home. Kill my boss.
Jack understands that he is the first suspect. Jack wants to go away, gets on the bus and discovers that he is full of people from the Fight Club. They report that today’s “homework” is to castrate Tyler, and grab him. Jack tries to escape, squeezes into the bus window and loses consciousness.
Jack comes to himself unharmed in his burned apartment. His life is destroyed, he wants to commit suicide, but he remembers about Marla, who does not realize the danger looming over her and loves him. Jack meets with Marla in a group of cancer patients. At night she watched Tyler and saw him shoot a man. She called the police, but the police also go to the Fight Club. They do not come. Jack asks Marla to stay away from people with scars and goes to deal with Tyler.
Jack is given all the knowledge of Tyler. He goes to the nearest Fight Club and calls to battle all its participants.
Everyone you love will leave you or die. All that you can achieve, in the end will turn into garbage. Everything you are proud of will be thrown away.
Jack wants to die, but after fifty fights remains alive. He opens his eyes in the house on Paper Street. Next to him is Tyler, a “fair-haired angel.” He says that Jack’s death must be inspiring, joyful, significant, and leads him to the roof of the tallest skyscraper in New York. The bearing supports of the building are already mined. Tyler puts the gun in the mouth of Jack and waits for the explosion. From the side it seems that the person has put the gun in his mouth. Marla appears on the roof. She screams that she now knows the difference and loves Jack, not Tyler. Time is up, but there is no explosion – homemade explosives do not work. The barrel of the gun rests against Jack’s cheek, he shoots.
Jack believes that he woke up in Heaven, but in fact it is a clinic for the mentally ill. The medical personnel Jack takes for angels, and the doctor – for God. Marla writes letters to him. Even in Heaven, Jack meets people with disfigured faces. They are waiting for him to destroy civilization, Jack does not want to return.