People say your work always has a nihilistic undertone to everything, but I find it’s not that the characters don’t care rather that they just don’t like the world they’re in and are forced to make a choice.
There’s a quality to it I never really point out—it’s the quality of play. The idea of kind of making a game out of these things and playing them in a different way, not just accepting the game that you’re given by the culture but inventing your own. Something I always said about Fight Club: it is basically a game that people have invented and it’s fun. It’s not any kind of personal quest; it’s just a fun thing to do for a couple hours a week. Invisible Monsters was a book I had written just to have a really good time and it’s that quality of play that I always want to be present in everything I write.
I think you get a sense of that play because even in the darkest moments there’s so much comedy and humor. But it’s not in a way that’s just there to alleviate something; it’s just looking at life from a different perspective.
So often when we generate comedy, we do it by presenting something very dramatic and to have one character not react appropriately—to react in a way that obscures the drama and that creates a laugh.
Did you think that the film adaptation of Fight Club was able to convey that sense of play?
Yes, very much. The film carried that sense of play. It’s always hard in the third act to switch from that comic sense and have a character suddenly engage with the drama and be upset that the game has gone a little too far. It’s that turn that’s always the trickiest to do.