Here is a book that catches your attention, contains some legitimately funny parts, and really lays the smack down on beaurocracy and the realities of war. If you want an uplifting book, this isn't it. But if you hate war and desire to fight the power, this will catch your interest. You must concentrate while listening- there's quite a bit of stream-of-consciousness stuff.
I'm a frequent reader / infrequent writer of reviews. Generally, I find the reviews on Audible to be helpful. I decided to write this one because I just couldn't believe how much I *disliked* this book, considering all the high ratings and positive reviews. In a word, after enduring most of the first part of this book, I found it extremely "tedious". I am probably missing the point somehow, but the writer clearly thinks the book is quite funny. In fact, as a previous reviewer pointed out, it is funny the same way ~15 hours of an Abbott and Costello "who's on first?" skit would be funny. In the end, I just didn't have the stamina, or the time to waste.
It seems like people either love or hate this book. I tried hard, but could not get past the first two hours of the book. Many like this kind of sardonic humor, but this book's endless, circular self-absorbed logic with no hint of a plot left me cold. I wanted to engage in a classic, but after two hours, refused to waste the time. It is my first real disappointment with an Audible selection.
For the first time ever, I could not finish a book. I can not tell you if the book is good or not, but I can tell you that it is impossible to listen to. The narrator seems good, but I hate HATE that he goes from soft to loud. I can not hear the narrating unless I turn up the volume, then, when he reads a part of the character it is like someone blasting out my eardrums. I listen to the books in the car and I can not constantly adjust the volume. I hated this. Total waste of money.
I read all the glowing reviews, and was so determined that this classic would be one of my best reads ever, but I was disappointed. The best I could do was try to appreciate the comedic effort, and it just plain fell way short. Yes, there were some funny moments that amounted to about 15% of the book, but the majority of the humor was repetitive and nonsensical, like listening to 20 hours of who's on first. I also didn't find the portrayal of most Military personnel as stumbling buffoons very amusing, it ended up just seeming stupid. The bright spot was the excellent narration.Sorry though, can't recommend it.
Well read, but horrible story.
Horrible story, not funny, did not go anywhere.
This was a tedious and repetitive novel that I brought me great joy to finish only because I had been tortured by its monotony for 42 agonizing chapters. The author attempts to lampoon the idiocy of war by constructing an environment were every character is unrealistically moronic. It has the depth of plot of "I Love Lucy", and the dialog of "Gomer Pile". Wading through the chapters of dialog between intellectually challenged characters was like watching Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" 42 times in a row. I can't understand why this book has been praised by critics, but than again, I am not a sophomoric pseudo intellectual with unrealized aspirations and authority issues, otherwise reading such a book might make me feel better about myself.
The problem with absurdist fiction is that it feels disingenuous, as if the author forced his characters to behave absurdly simply to amuse himself, not because it added to the story. As a result, Catch-22 is mediocre at best.
At first, the story's chronology was difficult to follow. One moment Yossarian is dreading an upcoming mission to Bologne. The next moment -- and I mean literally the next sentence -- he isn't even at Pianosa yet. The next, he is in Rome on leave, which may or may not be the present, and then we find out the mission is over. I was exhausted by constantly trying to figure out where I was in the story. And there were huge chunks of the story that were frivolous, like the many pointless chapters we spent with the prostitutes in Rome.
Catch-22 has a cast of brilliantly zany and memorable characters. Unfortunately, many are too stupid to be believable. I assume Heller was trying to highlight the incompetence of people in positions of power -- particularly when those people are sending others off to die -- but their stupidity was so overwhelming that they became caricatures. I'm sure Heller got a kick out of writing these characters, but I didn't enjoy reading about them. I couldn't laugh because I knew they couldn't be real. Even the wildest of fantasy novels have to stay within defined limits to maintain credibility with the reader, but Catch-22 does no such thing. The world of Catch-22 is completely illogical.
Despite its shortcomings, Catch-22 shines in some of the strangest places and some its scenes, absurd or not, have been memorable enough to embed themselves within our culture and our literary history. At times I was laughing out loud, and then there were other times, such as when Yossarian administered first aid to Snowden, that left me feeling like a ghost.
Jay O. Sander's narration is brilliant. His cadence is perfect, his accents realstic, and his reading of Orr's dialogue was hilarious. Sanders is one of the best.
With all of the circular logic this book is somewhat difficult to follow. I thought that all of the characters were idiots and there was no point to the story. However, if you enjoy movies and books with surprise endings, this is the book for you. Just make sure you're paying attention!
When I read this book I was rolling with laughter at the sardonic wit that infused it. Yossarian as Everyman, struggling to define himself and to get by and get over at the same time. This audiobook production somehow never grabbed me. I found myself drifting every time I tried to listen. Was it me? Was it the intervening years? I don't know. I do know that this is a great piece of 20th Century literature that somehow is not done justice in this version.