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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 (1956 )
5 star
 (833)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.0 (1040 )
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Story
4.2 (1027 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    T. C. Pile Millwood, NY 12-07-08
    T. C. Pile Millwood, NY 12-07-08 Member Since 2004

    audiobookaholic

    HELPFUL VOTES
    218
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    163
    52
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    14
    1
    Overall
    "Didn't do it justice"

    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.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Galbo Bronx, NY 06-10-13
    L. Galbo Bronx, NY 06-10-13 Member Since 2012

    not enough time

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing"
    What disappointed you about Catch-22?

    I enjoy the decriptive writing and the reading is top shelf, but the charaters are just too bizarre. I've tried going back to it several times, but just can't care enough about what will happen to endure anymore of it. I'm bailing out at the end of part 1.


    What could Joseph Heller have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Let the story tell me about the characters, the early dissection turned me off.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    wouldn't be fair of me to say because I'm not finishing the book


    What character would you cut from Catch-22?

    wouldn't be fair of me to say because I'm not finishing the book


    Any additional comments?

    no

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Parker, CO, United States 06-04-13
    John Parker, CO, United States 06-04-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
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    698
    32
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    "Sophomoric"

    I guess that's why I, like everyone I knew at the time, LOVED this book when I was a college sophomore in the late '60s. Yosarian was us. We were the only ones who saw through all the phoniness of the culture our parents had created. We were the only ones who realized that war is a bad thing. Everyone in any position of authority was a mindless buffoon, perfectly caricatured by Heller and his buddy, Kurt Vonnegut. We can now look around and see what my generation of know-it-alls baby-boomers has done to the world. Unfortunately, from the many rave reviews, there seem to still be a lot of that mind-set around.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Cox San Diego, CA USA 09-13-12
    Michael Cox San Diego, CA USA 09-13-12 Member Since 2005

    Audiophile

    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
    ratings
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    39
    24
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    FOLLOWING
    3
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    "Loved the movie, hated the book"

    I'm not going to waste any more time on this book, except to say I agree with all the single star reviews.

    It was simply incongruous and absurd; like walking into an alternate universe where up was down and down was left and right was in…. None of it made sense.

    What's perplexing is that so many people gave so many stars. Makes me think I'm in an alternate universe, where down is up and ...

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Simms Indiana 12-23-07
    B. Simms Indiana 12-23-07 Member Since 2007

    Bevpianolady

    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
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    10
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    "Hated it!"

    I decided to read this book because it is a classic of 20th century literature, and because my English-professor husband recommended it. However, I had to stop listening after a couple of hours. I found the writing disjointed and choppy (perhaps the author's intention), and the characters unsympathetic. The book reminded me of the TV show, MASH, which I also hated. Although I do enjoy some kinds of black humor, I guess I am offended when it is applied to war. If you have similar feelings, con't waste your time on this cynical book.

    3 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 06-06-10
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 06-06-10 Member Since 2008

    I Like scifi-fantasy, non-fiction, historical fiction genres. Liked Wot, Got, Pillars of Earth, Century trilogy. Last read: Maritan. luvd it

    HELPFUL VOTES
    143
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    "OK book but goofy characters & goofier plot"

    The first 10 hours of this book was definitely an ordeal to listen to. The narrator goes low and suddenly jumps to high volume which can be very annoying and painful to the ears (especially when you are driving). The author doesn't do well either in that initial building up characters stage. You feel nothing for these goofy characters (by goofy I mean dumb and not funny AT ALL). Half way through the book you do realize the purpose of this book but I never got the reason for its nonsensical plot and characters. I would highly recommend ABRIDGED version for this one. The author keeps on and on with its cyclic catch 22 scenarios literally for 15-20 minutes sometimes which seems so not-required.
    You do feel for the soldiers and their real life issues with military bureaucracy but the sardonic version in this book does not lead anywhere. I never leave a book half read so I stuck to it. The last few hours in the book finally kept me hooked. I hate to buy ABRIDGED versions of any book but this one leaves no other option.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
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