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 laughed out loud, over and over. Such consistently convoluted logic, I can't imagine anyone in the US military approved of this book when it was released, but I'll bet they all read it. This is one of the finest examples of genuine written dialogue I've seen, and we learn far more about these savvy, hapless characters by what they say than what they do.
I listen to this book with no preconceptions and was not prepared for the absurdity of the writer. I became just as frustrated reading the book as the characters must have felt in their circumstance.
Yes, Heller purposely made the story line confusing. The reader hop-scotches from one event to another and sometimes from another character's point of view. This sounds confusing and it is, but it all comes together to make an amazing story. Each character has their unique voice which makes the listening experience absolutely great. The lessons and symbolism in this story make it something I certainly will revisit.
"Doc Daneeka was up there too"
"I'm right here"
"Why won't he jump out?
"I'm right here"
"Doc Daneeka is dead"
"Now I'm dead"
This part of the book illustrates one of the major themes of Catch-22, the futility of language. People in the book are often ignored or are responded to for what they should have said rather than what they said or meant.
Yossarian and Black
Every character has their voice which was great!! I think there were about 30?? I'm not sure, but Jay O. Sanders was great.
"It was easy to read the message written in his entrails..."
The day Yossarian decided he didn't want to fly anymore missions. Why is what made it memorable. Yossarian abides to a few simple logical virtues.
I won't say more
A must read for the simple reason that "Catch-22" has made it into our language as a saying that stands for absurdity of logic.
The catch itself, Catch-22 is a circular argument. A circular argument is self referential, catch-22 is the rule because catch-22.
In the 1st half I was literally laughing out loud and so hard that I had to stop my vehicle and wipe my eyes, I could not see to drive. I thought someone would come out and ask if I was all right or why I was crying. I found so much in the 1st half that was hilarious.
I really enjoyed the military bureaucracy idiots and paranoia and backstabbing etc. and the just plain absurdity at times. & it was neat to see how tidbits and seeds planted from opening pages filter through or even come back on someone later with a vengeance. 2nd half gets progressively more serious and whole novel deals with several big issues. Late in novel there is Chapter 39: The Eternal City, that devolves into a Heironymus Boschian nightmarish/hellish landscape. Yossarian is/becomes the conscience of the novel.
Parts of C22 make me think of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5 & Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. & Milo Minderbinder's Syndicate seems a precursor to Haliburton and modern war profiteering. Also wondering if Pynchon's Yoyodyne from V and GR is in anyway a nod to Yossarian's nickname Yoyo. He is yoyo-ing back and forth and not getting anywhere due to C22.
I feel the overlap/repetitious nature of some of the chapters lends a spiral structure, but I don’t know what you could cut out without a complete rewrite and removal of characters as so many stories interlace and so many characters interact. I felt an affinity with Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude regarding this wherein the cyclic/spiral nature of the story that slowly moves forward but retraces elements reflects the trapped nature of the characters.
I agree that military double talk and cross-talk is a bit repetitive it was still at least amusing in 2nd half. But for some this stuff may get to be too much of a good thing.
There is more to it than just the absurdity too as there are many bits regarding life and death and ruminations and questioning of religion etc by the chaplain that are rather existential and I liked that. Some nature of reality stuff too maybe regarding his deja vu ponderings.
The 1st half had all the real gut busting hilarious stuff for me but there are 2nd half moments where I still chuckled. I enjoyed the absurd landscape Heller created even more than first time I listened several years ago.
The incisive irony.
Yossarian, of course. He's human, humane, patriotic, realistic and hilarious
Superlative reading of a classic. I had to check back to see if Sanders was the only reader, there was so much individuation of characters.
Very elaborate performance crafting every character. I enjoyed listening, although someone who prefers a more neutral delivery might not.
Most definitely not. In fact this is probably the book that took me the longest to read/listen to. Started a few years ago, left it alone, then came back to it a number of times. The book is like the story itself — I had contradictory feelings both struggling through it and enjoying it.
Second time this happened to me — the end came sooner than expected. Last chapter was the additional reading by Heller. A welcome addition, but I wish Audible named the chapters accordingly, so that it's clear where are the chapters, and where's additional material.
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