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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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