The Narrator and Tyler Durden are standing on top of the Parker-Morris building, which is rigged with explosives. Tyler is holding a gun in the Narrator’s mouth. The Narrator takes us back in time to how he ended up at this point.
The Narrator is a bored, aimless office worker whose life has become a meaningless cycle. He works as a recall campaign coordinator. He participates in the consumer-driven goals of his culture. He lives in a nice condominium apartment filled with hip, clever designer furniture. He spends his time wondering about what kind of lamps and chairs will define him as a person.
Because of the unhappiness in his life, the Narrator develops insomnia. He goes to work in a daze and after a few weeks is desperate for sleep. He goes to see a doctor. The doctor dismisses his issues and tells him that if he wanted to see real pain he should see some of the people in support groups with real problems.
The Narrator takes his advice and begins visiting support groups. He becomes addicted to them. He pretends to be afflicted with various medical issues and diseases so that he can attend meetings. Here he meets Big Bob, an ex-body builder and steroid abuser whose testicles had to be removed. During an embrace with Bob, the Narrator cries and lets go of his hope. That night, he can finally sleep. He continues to go to the groups every night so that he can cry and be comforted.
One night he notices that a woman has also been attending all the same groups. She too is obviously faking her conditions and pretending to be sick and dying. Her name is Marla Singer. With her at the groups, he can no longer cry, and so he can no longer sleep either. He fantasizes about confronting her and getting her thrown out. Instead they decide not to attend the same meetings.
The Narrator flies around the country visiting car accident sites. His company is a car manufacturer and his job is to determine if the cars they make have defects that might have contributed to an...