This is the tale of the dangerously sane Captain Yossarian, who spends his time in Italy plotting to survive. Yossarian is a bombardier in the 256th Squadron of the US Army Air Forces during World War II, stationed on Pianosa, a fictionalised island in the Mediterranean between mainland Italy and Corsica. The squadron's assignment is to bomb enemy positions in Italy and eastern France. Yossarian's mission is simply to stay alive.
©1961 Joseph Heller; (P)2008 Hachette Audio
"The greatest satirical work in the English language since Erewhon. (Observer)
"Wildly original, and brutally gruesome, a dazzling performance that will outrage as many readers as it delights. Vulgarly, bitterly, savagely funny, it will not be forgotten by those who can take it." (The New York Times)
"An apocalyptic masterpiece." (Chicago Times)
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When I was a child in school, my teacher told me to read Catch-22 because I'm just like that. Was I always trying to get out of everything, to find a way not to have to do things? So eventually, I have listened to Catch-22. 30 years later. The bureaucratic nature of the military is perfectly profiled in this book. And so also is the humdrum and irritation of living in close quarters with a group of other people who are slowly losing their minds. I am glad that I have listened to it so that I can tick off that box but be prepared to share in the monotony.
I've only been using Audible for a year, and I've listened to this twice so far. Truly a brilliant novel.
"A modern classic"
A book which impressively manages to be extremely humorous yet deeply philosophical. Well read with good timing and vivid characterisation.
loved the story when I read it!!! loved it even more when I got it on audible...Trevor White brings the story got life...a fantastic listen
"Great craic altogether. Really enjoyed it."
Loved the messing about with the structure of every argument to tie everyone up in knots. Great read. Thank You.
Always wanted to read this book and I suspect that hearing it added to the experience. Very witty, once you get into the author's humour.
"All the Madness You Could Ever Want"
The reading of Catch 22 gives you the energy that comes from reading the book off the page. There's a sense that the narrator Yossarian is figuring out events as they occur in the story: so the 'discovery' tone of the reading is what is needed for the audio version. The conundrums of the novel, facts being known, facts being startling, things never getting any better, life being more comic as each tragedy takes place is well served by the reading.
Given its comic tone, the scope of its characters, the complexity of its telling, its hard to find a book that acts as a comparison to Catch 22. Classic literature gives you long social novels, but they don't necessarily offer you such profound comedy, and in Catch 22 each sentence is carefully crafted. Oddly, perhaps only a novelist of social insight, comedy and irony such as Jane Austin comes to mind as a comparison in terms of concentrated observational style. The American novel has its austere social authors, such as John Steinbeck, and its ironists, like Tom Wolfe or Brett Easton Ellis, but I would set Catch 22 apart as one of the 'big American novels'. Perhaps John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany is the only book I know that has the length and laugh out loud joy, frustration and despair of Catch 22.
The reading shows the enjoyment that the written book offers. The tone of the reading matches the persona of the narrator Yossarian. In this sense the reading adds to the book. Trevor White embodies the character of Yossarian very well.
I would never want to read this book in one sitting. It's an immense work, with so many characters, so many funny events. Returning to this book through the audio is the enjoyment of it. I sometimes start at the beginning of the book, but then often just listen to a chapter by dipping in. The book is told with overlapping stories, and with so many different characters. Its a book for a lifetime: rereading is better each time.
I wonder if it might be quite hard to listen to the audio version of Catch 22 without prior reading of the full novel or a detailed synopsis to hand. In this respect going to a list of the characters to be sure who is who, or having to go back and re-read or listen to the book should not be seen as a problem with the story. The interlocking, repeating, developing stories are part of the experience. The book is so precise and so quick that it requires familiarity for enjoyment of it or concentrated listening. This might make the audio book seem like a challenge. It is more demanding than a linear story where if you have a sense of the plot you can move forward even if you miss something. This is not the case with Catch 22. There's also a sense that Catch 22 has been copied in its style by other more recent war novels. Catch 22 can be understood to stem from the comic picaresque novel of Don Quixote, but what Catch 22 has is tragic depth, which is not always the case with pallid imitators. Catch 22 offers the reader or the listener more each time they return to it. There's nothing superficial about Catch 22.
"Who's on first?"
I have persevered and finished this book out of respect to readers that have loved it. Time can render a book or film into a cliche of it self through no fault of its own, a great example is The Matrix, so visually fresh when it was first presented and now it feels almost like a parody of itself; I think this book suffers the same problem. I would not call it a novel because to me it is a very long squetch that grows tire very soon; at one point I felt I was trapped in an Abbott and Costello sketch (who’s on first?) for a very long time. The theme is the absurdity of war, but it felt like a boot kicking me on the face for ever and ever. If you read this book it is proof that you are crazy but if you do not read this book it proves you must be crazy, who said I was crazy, not me but if you do not you must be. Bee I am allergic to bees! what bee? not b, bee…. for 499 pages, I dare you.
I think it was a brilliant book and now that I know where it was going I would like to go back and hear it again.
It felt like he got right inside each character and communicated each personality brilliantly.
"I can see why it's a classic!"
Yes, I would. The narration was a joy to listen to, and I miss the characters already!
There's lots of moments that you return to multiple times throughout the book, so it's actually hard to pick just one. However, the dialogue (and characterization of the narrator) was so good, any scene with hilarious back and forth exchanges stick in my memory.
I haven't heard any of his other performances, but I would definitely check them out on the strength of this book.
Not really something I do, as I listen on my commute.
The performance by Trevor White was SO GOOD, for the longest time I was convinced I was enjoying his narration more than the story. As other reviewers have mentioned, there is a lot of dialogue in the book and the voices he lends the characters are brilliant, and his performance often hilarious. By the time the book finished, I realised that I did love the story too, so it was a win win! One of my favourite audiobook experiences so far. Definitely recommended!
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