One of the worst stories I've heard. It couldn't end soon enough. Maybe an abridged version would be tolerable.
I read this book in its paper form some years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt this version would be good for the car and it would be fun to read it again. This rendition is absolutely worthwhile - the story is still excellent and fresh but the reader is so good it would be worth listening just for his range. Not to be missed!
I almost gave up on this book before finishing Part 1 of 3, but I'm glad that I stuck it out to finish the entire thing. The first part was very confusing to me because of all the different characters that were introduced. It was nearly impossible to keep them all straight. I also started to get annoyed at the circular-logic humor (hence "Catch-22") that seemed like a constant Abbott and Costello "Who's on First" routine. What kept me going was the narrator. He was absolutely fantastic with all the different voices he was able to portray. It really helped me to catch on to the different characters and get deeply involved with the book. You really come to appreciate the narrator when you listen to the final chapter in the audiobook, which are excerpts from "Catch-22" read by the original author, Joseph Heller. While he was able to write a classic book, he was absolutely boring to listen to.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
Catch-22 is an absurdist look at military thinking set in WWII with a constant dark backdrop of fear and death. This book is a must read not for the characters or story (which are subordinate to the absurdity of the vignettes) but for the numerous truly classic dialogs. The narration of this version was excellent with great funny character voices and clear delivery of the sometimes complicated dialog.
It is a bit odd that this work is set in WWII but does not feel like WWII in many ways. The mood and characters seem set in the 1950’s with loyalty oaths and constipated conservative military thinking of the Korean conflict.
I had read Catch-22 many years ago, and remembered it fondly, on this reading many of the bits were still really funny, but some were less impactful the second time around. Yet this was totally worth it for the wild iconic dialog.
If you are old enough to remember the movie "M*A*S*H", then you will recognize that "M*A*S*H" was obviously based on this book. A "Catch 22" is a conundrum, a problem that when solved creates another problem that when solved takes you back to the first problem. There is no way out of it. This book is full of Catch 22s. It is very funny, but also very crude in many places. If you remember "MASH," that fact doesn't need to be explained. I think basically what it's all about is poking fun at the seriousness of war and of the military, things that aren't inherently funny, but that sometimes need to be made fun of so that those intimately involved with it can survive . . . or try to survive. That is the basis of this book.
I remember way back in the '70s when "MASH" was on TV as a series. A neighbor came over and asked my husband if he had been in the service. Because of a high school injury, my husband's draft status was the coveted 4F - undraftable, but we had seen every episode of "MASH" at least once. So our neighbor went on to tell us that being in the army was just like "MASH." He laughed so hard at it - even harder than we did, and we thought it was pretty funny. Of course, this book has its serious moments and its moral lesson to draw, and those are really what make it worth reading. This book is not for the faint of heart, and because of that I can't recommend it to everyone. Read the reviews and the summary. You'll know if it is for you.
Jay O. Sanders does an outstanding job of narrating this book. He sounds a whole lot like Peter Schikele, though, and I almost expected him to start talking about PDQ Bach. hahaha Just a little musical observation.
The book is great, and is duly recognized as such. What I need to write about is the narrator: he does such an excellent job with the fast paced and hilarious conversation, with the voices and personalities of the characters, and with voice emphasis on various aspects of the text, that hearing him is such a thrilling experience. This is not an easy book to act out, but this narrator has managed it superbly.
It is rare that you hear an actor perform a well written story, not because of the shortage of actors, but because of the shortage of good stories. This is one instance where the novel met its match!
Okay, I have to admit I didn't know much about Catch-22 before adding it to my library. I had heard the phrase and knew in general what it implied, but knew very little about the origin of it. So, I decided to take a listen.
The book seemed to be more of a series of character studies within a war-time setting rather than a straight-forward plot line using characters as tools to bring the reader neathly along the path. The plot interweaved and folded back on itself from various perspectives, making it the type of book to be examined and studied.
It was difficult to do that in an audio format, especially when driving, cleaning, or multi-tasking. However, if you've read it in school or have any familiarity with the story or characters, you should enjoy it.
Jay Sanders reads this with force and clarity - deftly characterizing dozens of personalities. The power of the book comes through loud and clear.
The problem with the order of chapters has now been fixed, and the book is presented in its entirety and the proper order.
The book (and this audio presentation of it) is brilliant. Get it. You'd be hard pressed to find a better way to spend 20 hours.