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
"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)
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.
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.
Retired teacher of literature with an interest in religion and in science and in history. I have loved reading for 50 years.
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....
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!
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
Years ago I read this book. Then years ago (1970?) I saw the movie. And now I just listened to this terrific reading. It is a great rendition and I'm glad I did. Funny, poignant, and very well-enacted. Brings me back to a lot of "truths" I never want to forget.
I'm certainly no literary critic, and I didn't see the elements that made people claim this to be one of the greatest works of the 20th century. I found the non chronological storyline to be a bit confusing. Many of the characters are pretty absurd, but I get the political commentary and references. That being said, there are some powerful lines and scenes that I can appreciate. I especially enjoyed the reading of a few key passages by Heller himself at the end- it gave me good reflection of some of the key story lines.
I enjoyed this read; the performance was outstanding. The story is another story. I am a big fan of Vonnegut, and I appreciate his disparate story lines that he weaves together as he goes along. I appreciate his satire, sarcasm, and twisted bending of reality which keeps his writings close to home but out there at the same time.
Heller pays homage to Vonnegut directly and indirectly throughout. I love his language and cadence; consistent, effective, and romantic. But I found much of the story goalless, tedious, and whosonfirstish. I know the military is full of hypocrisy, futility, and just downright idiocracy. But I felt like reaching the end was starting again. If that was his goal...mission accomplished (either that or I'm a complete idiot)
Wow! This is an impressive piece of literature. What a superb mastery of the English language and an intelligent sense of humour. All of that is seasoned with fascinating descriptions of people, landscapes, thoughts and sometimes grotesque situations in an unpredictable way that keeps you in constant suspense until the last page.
For the audio version, I give five stars out of five to the narrator (Jay O. Sanders) for presenting this masterpiece with all the respect it deserves. He maintains the auditor's attention all the way by vivid variations speed, pronunciation and energy. At no point in time you feel that it's either a monotonous robot reading or some overdone theatrical performance. Actually, in this audio version Sanders reads the novel better than Joseph Heller himself.
Long story short: do yourself a favour and read this book.
This book has a free form that is rare in books. It is its own thing. It makes no excuses for itself and what is truly great is that it is not 'in your face humor'. None of the characters are trying to be funny, but are in spite of themselves by just being themselves. There is no hand-holding and events described earlier in the book come back later for some sort of explanation, but often as life itself, you might or might not find that satisfying. I do. It is brilliantly funny. Heller has been a real student of humanity and has captured many people who sadly, perhaps, are real enough around us if we care to look. It is a very personal work, no doubt, but one many can nod in recognition to and laugh at the strangeness, hopelessness and wonder of life.
As for the narrator, Jay O. Sanders, then he does a great job with conveying the sarcasm with a straight face, which for sure is how the humor is intended, and his voices are excellent.
Top marks all around!
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