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)
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!
I enjoyed this story because of the fact it was all over the place. Once you think you understand what's going on, there's a plot twist. The characters are so mysterious and fully developed.
I appreciated the different character voices that the narrator was about to do, making the story really come alive.
Catch -22 is like no other book I have ever read... It is reality, or at least my opinion, that is a book with many other literary tales brilliantly interwoven through out.
It is at times laugh out loud funny and at some points tears at your heart!
The characters are rich and the story in wonderful told!
Narration is good truly on of the most obscure yet beautiful tales of war and survival
The story itself is funny, interesting, and engaging. The characters are great and some of the situations are hilarious. Even if you don't listen to this book--read it! That being said, the narrator nailed it. I've listened to a lot of books with good, bad, great, and amazing narrators, but this was the best so far. I never thought I would find someone that nailed a book more than Christian Baskous nailed the Bukowski books, but I did. This is it. If you listen on public transport, be ready to get weird looks when you start laughing out loud.
I'm a teacher in Florida who loves to listen to books whenever possible! I enjoy listening to classics in audiobook format. Happy reading!
I would listen to my favorite parts of it again. The book is hilarious in parts and poignant in others.
I loved how Heller could have the reader/listener rolling in the aisles one second and then on a dime remind us just how scary war really is. This book was a roller coaster.
It's a tie between Ore, the chaplain, and Major Major. For this question, though, I think Sanders's performance as Ore really brought out the essence of the character.
"That men must die is an inevitability. Which men must die is a matter of circumstance."
Sanders's performance really brings this book to life. Heller reads selections at the end, but his readings just feel so drab in comparison.
I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.
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.
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.
Okay, I have to admit I didn't know much about Catch-22 before adding it to my library. I had heard the phrase and knew in general what it implied, but knew very little about the origin of it. So, I decided to take a listen.
The book seemed to be more of a series of character studies within a war-time setting rather than a straight-forward plot line using characters as tools to bring the reader neathly along the path. The plot interweaved and folded back on itself from various perspectives, making it the type of book to be examined and studied.
It was difficult to do that in an audio format, especially when driving, cleaning, or multi-tasking. However, if you've read it in school or have any familiarity with the story or characters, you should enjoy it.
One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope
“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you”
Perhaps this book is so funny is because it's comic relief from the absurdities and horrors of death and war.
I really liked this book, but it's much akin to a rich dessert, to be read in moderation. It becomes clownish or buffoonish at times. But, it's the only true novel in the reading of which I often laughed out loud.
I mean, the book starts out with the primary character in a hospital assigned to censor letters home from patients, inventing games like "death to all modifiers" and out came all adjectives and adverbs on every letter.
If you haven't read this, it's a nice departure from the serious and sad of many so-called classics.
Jay Sanders does an excellent job. Though, I will warn you, you may become annoyed at the SHOUTING that unexpectedly leaps from the audio from time to time, scaring the heck out of you or someone else nearby.
The problem with the order of chapters has now been fixed, and the book is presented in its entirety and the proper order.
The book (and this audio presentation of it) is brilliant. Get it. You'd be hard pressed to find a better way to spend 20 hours.
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