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6 Books like Fight Club: All Is Not What It Seems

Andrew Wilmot itcherChuck Palahniuk’s ‘Fight Club’, and the 1999 film adaption by David Fincher, is an undisputed classic, with a cult following and incredible pop culture permeation due to its counterculture themes and mind blowing twist. If you want more books like ‘Fight Club’, reach for ‘Fight Club 2’, ‘American Psycho’, ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘V for Vendetta’, ‘Filth’ and ‘A Clockwork Orange’. ~ Andrew Wilmot

Anti-Consumerist Mayhem

The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club… – Tyler Durden

Even if you have never read ‘Fight Club’ or seen the film, there’s a good chance that you know what the second rule of Fight Club is. ‘Fight Club’ details the life of an unnamed narrator struggling with insomnia and a generally meaningless existence. That is, until a mysterious man named ‘Tyler Durden’ draws him into creating an underground fighting club.


Books Similar to ‘Fight Club’…

‘Fight Club 2’ (Chuck Palahniuk, 2015)

Image Source: CBRD

I am Jack’s Belated Sequel… – IGN, 7.1/10

I’ve got to be open and honest, I had no idea there was a sequel to ‘Fight Club’, and so a lot of this is 2nd hand information. ‘Fight Club 2’ is a series of comic books that are still being released set 10 years after the events of ‘Fight Club’, detailing Sebastian’s (the narrator’s) struggle against Tyler, who’s planning a systematic overthrow of all the world’s government.

Similarity Match: 90%
Whilst it may be a sequel with the same characters and themes, ‘Fight Club 2’ lacks the subtle hints at the shock plot twist that the first one was so famous for.

‘American Psycho’ (Bret Easton Ellis, 1991)

Image Source: Rivers Edge Journal

I have to return some video tapes…

‘American Psycho’, and its film adaption also became cult classics almost immediately on release. It shows the life of an incredibly successful, young, and charming investment banker, Patrick Bateman, narrating his stream of consciousness. Starting off relatively mundane (for an investment banker), with Bateman snorting cocaine and criticising his colleagues, he goes on to commit a series of increasingly sadistic and complex murders.

‘Fight Club’ was the first on my list of books like ‘American Psycho’ with unreliable narrators, and with good reason.

Similarity Match: 90%
Both books have unreliable narrators with violent tendencies, and have been cult hits since release. If you’ve been inspired to search for more books like ‘Fight Club’, this is an absolute must read.

‘The Great Gatsby’ (F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925)

Image Source: Rap Genius

Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had…

There’s a good chance you read this whilst at school, and if you were anything like me, you hated it at the time. If that’s the case then I urge you to pick it back up again – ‘The Great Gatsby’ is a timeless classic detailing the lives of a colourful cast of characters living an enviable life in the summer of 1922. Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire, descends into debauchery and instability through his obsession for the married debutante Daisy Buchanan.

Similarity Match: 85%
It may not seem it at first glance, but ‘The Great Gatsby’ has been listed as a major influence on ‘Fight Club’ by Chuck Palahniuk. In his own words, it was ‘apostolic’ fiction, where a surviving apostle tells the story of his hero, two men and a woman, with the hero being shot to death. Sound familiar?

‘V for Vendetta’ (Alan Moore, 1989)

Image Source: Wikimedia

Ideas are bulletproof…

Okay, like ‘Fight Club 2’ this is a graphic novel which might put some of you off, but hear me out. Again, it’s a counter culture cult classic, with the Guy Fawkes masks becoming damn near ubiquitous and inseparable from protests in the Western World.

In a dystopian and post-apocalyptic near future version of the UK, the fascist Norsefire party rules with an iron fist. There is one hope for the country left, the titular protagonist ‘V’, an anarchist dressed in a Guy Fawkes mask, who sets out to murder his former captors and bring down the government.

Similarity Match: 80%
Endless comparisons can be drawn between the anarchistic charaters ‘V’ and ‘Tyler Durden’, but where they differ is that ‘V’ seeks to bring down is visible fascistic, whilst the world ‘Tyler Durden’ fights against is the world as it is now.


If You Like ‘Fight Club’, You Will Like…

Whilst all the above broadly share the same characteristics – anti-establishment antiheroes who’s mental state gradually gets worse, there are options that aren’t quite as focused on a charismatic hero.  Check out these other books like ‘Fight Club’!

‘Filth’ (Irvine Welsh, 1998)

Image Source: Goodreads

The games are always, repeat always, being played. But nobody plays the games like me… – Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson is a misanthropic, Machiavellian, cocaine and alcohol abusing, psychopath obsessed with what he calls “the games” – his plots against his workmates. Beautifully dark and full of twists, ‘Filth’ is the ultimate British book like ‘Fight Club’, utilising a complex set of literary techniques (including narrating from the point of view of a Bruce’s tapeworm!)

Bruce Robertson is almost like Tyler Durden without politics. Rather than trying to bring down the system, he sets out to abuse it.

‘A Clockwork Orange’ (Anthony Burgess, 1962)

Image Source: Rhymes with Nerdy

You’re probably familiar with the Kubrick film adaption, but the book itself is well worth a look. Set in a near future English society with a problem with extreme youth violence, Alex narrates his experiences to those who wish to reform him. Leading a group of other violent drug taking youths called the ‘Droogs’, Alex and his group goes on a violent binge.


Fans of books like ‘Fight Club’ should find a lot of similarities between the ‘Droogs’ and ‘Project Mayhem’, although the former is not politically motivated.


Counterculture Bibles

Did you enjoy the books above? They’re all, to some degree, presenting and promoting a form of counterculture that goes back to Hermann Hesse’s classic ‘Steppenwolf’, the originator of all books like ‘Fight Club’. Other than that, Chuck Palahniuk’s other works ‘Lullaby’, ‘Snuff’ and ‘Invisible Monsters’ are all solid reads,  sharing a similar style of writing as ‘Fight Club’, as is Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’.
Is there any book that’s inspired you to turn away from the mainstream and forge your own path?
Let us know in the comments below!
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