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Catch-22 | [Joseph Heller]

Catch-22

Catch-22 is set in the closing months of World War II, in an American bomber squadron on a small island off Italy. Its hero is a bombardier named Yossarian, who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he hasn't even met keep trying to kill him. (He has decided to live forever, even if he has to die in the attempt.)
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Nearly 50 years after it changed the American lexicon, Catch-22 is as biting and relevant in its satire of war and bureaucracy as when it was first published. Jay O. Sanders delivers a near-perfect performance. He uses his naturally deep, vaguely military tone to wring every bit of irony from Heller's prose, while bringing the cast of characters to life with some of the funniest performances I've heard on audio. —Ed Walloga

Publisher's Summary

Catch-22 is like no other novel we have ever read. It has its own style, its own rationale, its own extraordinary character. It moves back and forth from hilarity to horror. It is outrageously funny and strangely affecting. It is totally original.

It is set in the closing months of World War II, in an American bomber squadron on a small island off Italy. Its hero is a bombardier named Yossarian, who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he hasn't even met keep trying to kill him. (He has decided to live forever, even if he has to die in the attempt.)

Catch-22 is a microcosm of the 20th-century world as it might look to someone dangerously sane. It is a novel that lives and moves and grows with astonishing power and vitality. It is, we believe, one of the strongest creations of the mid-century.

©1955, 1961 Joseph Heller; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"An apocalyptic masterpiece." (Chicago Sun-Times)
"One of the most bitterly funny works in the language...explosive, bitter, subversive, brilliant." (The New Republic)
"A monumental artifact of contemporary American literature, almost as assured of longevity as the statues on Easter Island....Catch-22 is a novel that reminds us once again of all that we have taken for granted in our world and should not, the madness we try not to bother and notice, the deceptions and falsehoods we lack the will to try to distinguish from truth." (New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1944 )
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4.2 (1016 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Phil United States 04-11-09
    Phil United States 04-11-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Phenominal Reading - Story and Damn Funny"

    I tried reading this book a few times and each time I ran out of energy and time. The book is both hysterical and poignant and classic American literature. To put it simply, I have never laughed out loud ever while reading a book in my life.

    I couldn't finish the book due to time and kids, so I chose the audio version and will say that is was so much better than my reading, it enabled me to enjoy the book more and even listen to the author read a few of the best passages.

    If you've ever been curious about the phrase 'Catch-22', this audio book is a MUST purchase!

    Jay O. Sanders absolutely MAKES this production a MUST purchase. He understand the story, the characters and without his voice, this story doesn't have a soul or a sense of humor.
    enjoy.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ramon Oakland, CA, United States 04-15-11
    Ramon Oakland, CA, United States 04-15-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Funny, frustrating, exciting.. just plain Good"

    This book is a classic in its own right and I think many people have it in their top 10 list of all time books to read.. If you place the book in the time it was written you might be able to see its magnificence even better. The play with words is amazing and hilarious at the same time.. it flows like a great poem. But, I probably don't have to convince you of the quality of the book...The narrator is the main concern of most "audio book" readers... well he does as much justice to the book as anyone could have done and he was able to totally take me on a roller-coaster ride of the crazy insanity that war can bring. He brings every punchline exactly where it should be and he makes the story even better than it is on paper... This audiobook deserves 6 stars.
    Love love love it.

    20 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Hugo, MN, USA 03-20-08
    Jennifer Hugo, MN, USA 03-20-08
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    "Hilarious!"

    I found it easier to understand this novel by checking out some stuff about it on SparkNotes, as it was sometimes difficult to follow all the characters (one good thing about physical novels), but it was absolutely hilarious and still completely as relevant today as it was when written. And now I actually know where the phrase came from!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 07-08-10
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 07-08-10 Member Since 2008

    caffeinated

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Perfect?"

    Not only is Catch-22 one of the greatest written works of our age, Jay O. Sanders does a marvelous job of recreating Heller's nuts-o band of military misfits. A masterpiece in audio.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Costa Mesa, CA, USA 06-07-07
    Mark Costa Mesa, CA, USA 06-07-07 Member Since 2006
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    "When DIDN'T you say we couldn't punish you?"

    Anyone who has ever been at their wit's end with bureaucracy or lost on a sea of red tape will enjoy this. It's funny, it's extremely clever, and the characters are all unique, even within the context of a book built on so many quirky and bizarre personalities. As with any good read or listen, you have to catch the pace and rhythm, but once you do, you'll be screaming, "You're CRAZY!" and craving... Egyptian cotton.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 04-30-12
    Richard Delman San Francisco 04-30-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Black humor at its absolute finest."

    This is an American classic, and one of the funniest books ever written. Its satiric look at the military is relentless. Heller makes fun of just about everybody and everything. Many of us will remember the movie, which was excellent, but the book gives us many more hours of enjoyment. Jay O. Sanders is a terrific narrator. He delivers the lines with wit and insight into Heller's thinking, and is tremendously entertaining. There are so many characters in the book who are unique and memorable that it is impossible to do them justice. The protagonist, Yossarian (played to perfection in the movie by the great Alan Arkin), is a creation of the highest level of genius. Heller creates snarky fun out of situations which have made other men feel doomed. Chaplain Tapman is a gentle man who can't make heads or tails of his post. Major Major Major is unforgettable. Captain Hmm Hmm Decoverley: who else on earth could think of a name like that? The ugliness of World War II is presented from the viewpoint of the young men who fly bombers over Italy and Germany. Heller's ability to see their predicament from a kind, gentle point of view does not at all diminish the horror of bombing and its results. No one else could create humor like this. Do yourself a favor. This is a unique work of art.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Columbus, NC, United States 04-26-07
    Doug Columbus, NC, United States 04-26-07 Member Since 2004

    Retired teacher of literature with an interest in religion and in science and in history. I have loved reading for 50 years.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Funny, sarcastic, sardonic"

    At times this is a hilarious book, very well interpreted by the reader/performer. Catch-22 pokes fun at the military, at conventional wisdom, at organizational madness, and at the ultimate madness: war. The protagonist protests that he does not want to participate in war because the enemy "is trying to kill me." He is told not to take it so personally, as if his death is not a personal issue. From there, reality becomes more ludicrous.

    Prepare to be entertained, prepare to laugh, prepare to be moved....

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Audible newark, NJ, United States 02-14-12
    Audible newark, NJ, United States 02-14-12
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    "A Major Major... Good Time"

    A brilliant tale of military logic.... or rather... the complete lack thereof. Laugh out load funny and yet soul crushingly depressing at the same time.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory A. Pless San Mateo, CA USA 01-25-08
    Gregory A. Pless San Mateo, CA USA 01-25-08 Member Since 2001
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    "Here's the catch..."

    If you are bright, and you don't listen to this book, then you are not too bright. If you are dim and you listen to this book and you like it, then you are probably not that dim. If you are dim and you don't like it, then you are definitely not bright. If you are dim and you don't listen to this book, then you were likely never bright, and you shouldn't listen to this book. In fact, for you, there is no book. This never happened. Go back to sleep.

    An absolute joy to listen too! Clever to the Nth degree, and completely relevant today as it ever was.

    Note: Not for the dim and/or humorless

    29 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-09-07
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    "Great."

    The narrator is terrific [wish he'd done more stuff I want to hear] and even though I've read the book many times, llistening to it made it new for me again. Definitely worth the time,even it you know the book well.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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