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Catch-22

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The novel is set during World War II, from 1942 to 1944. It mainly follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in th The novel is set during World War II, from 1942 to 1944. It mainly follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp, who attempt to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they may return home.


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The novel is set during World War II, from 1942 to 1944. It mainly follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in th The novel is set during World War II, from 1942 to 1944. It mainly follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp, who attempt to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they may return home.

30 review for Catch-22

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I have attempted to read this book on two separate occasions and I couldn't get beyond 100 pages either time. I do believe that this has more to do with me than the book and I plan on making a third attempt at some point in the future. Currently it sits on my bookshelf and sometimes (when I have a few too many beers) we have a talk. Me: Hi. Catch-22: Oh, hi. Me: How are you feeling? Catch-22: I've been better. Me: Don't be upset. It's not you. It's me. Catch-22: I know that. Me: My friends tell me I'm I have attempted to read this book on two separate occasions and I couldn't get beyond 100 pages either time. I do believe that this has more to do with me than the book and I plan on making a third attempt at some point in the future. Currently it sits on my bookshelf and sometimes (when I have a few too many beers) we have a talk. Me: Hi. Catch-22: Oh, hi. Me: How are you feeling? Catch-22: I've been better. Me: Don't be upset. It's not you. It's me. Catch-22: I know that. Me: My friends tell me I'm an idiot for ending our relationship. Catch-22: I agree. Me: I'm sure the reason I don't laugh or enjoy myself when I'm with you has more to do with my own flaws than with yours. Catch-22: Of course. I'm flawless. Me: I don't know if I would go that far. Catch-22: Well, you've already admitted that it's your fault so I don't know if you're the best person to be judging whether or not I'm flawed. Me: Hey, now! I didn't laugh once when I was with you. Catch-22: I've been forced to sit on this bookshelf for years while you plop in front of the TV to laugh at Will Ferrell movies. I'll give you Anchorman but Step Brothers? Don't talk to me about what is or isn't funny. Me: The sleepwalking scene in that movie is pure genius! Catch-22: I rest my case. Me: Ok, ok. You're right. I promise you that one day I'll be mature and enlightened enough to appreciate you and when that day comes, you and I will have some fun together. Catch-22: I won't hold my breath.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”You mean there’s a catch?” “Sure there’s a catch, “ Doc Daneeka replied. “Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn’t really crazy.” There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be ”You mean there’s a catch?” “Sure there’s a catch, “ Doc Daneeka replied. “Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn’t really crazy.” There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. “That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” He observed. “It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed. Originally Catch-22 was Catch-18, but because Leon Uris was publishing a novel called Mila-18 that same year Joseph Heller’s agent decided the title needed to be changed so as to not confuse the book buying public. Also given that 22 is a double 11 they liked the way it represented the many déjà vu moments that occur in the book. The East Coast publishing intelligentsia really embraced the book even though there were doubts if it would ever gain traction with the American public. It did. I understand the frustration that publishers feel with the American book buying public. They have all been scorched by a book they felt should have sold by the wheelbarrow only to have it crash and burn with the majority of the first printing sold off to a remainder company. Sometimes a book needs a lightning strike in the form of Oprah or a school banning the book (thank-you Strongsville, OH), but for Heller all he needed was the 1960s. The book is set during WWII, the last good war according to everyone from Tom Brokaw to the school janitor at Phillipsburg High School. Fat novels glorifying the war, some extraordinarily good, were hitting bookstores at a fast clip from the late 1940s on. By the time Catch-22 came out in 1961 the world had changed. So those people who bought this book who thought they were in for another “weren’t we great” novel about World War Two were in for a shock. A typical reaction was: WTF???? Some thought it was irreverent, but there were a growing group of people who thought it was among the best American novels they had ever read. Both reactions helped juice the novel and sales began to climb. Joseph Heller in uniform. At the tender age of 19 in 1942 Joseph Heller joined the U.S. Army Air Corp. By 1944 he found himself on the Italian Front as a B-25 Bombardier. He flew 60 missions most of which he categorized as milk runs; these were flight missions that encounter no or very little anti-aircraft artillery or enemy fighters. Heller admits that his disillusionment with the war in Korea colored the novel. It gives me the shakes to think how different the novel would be if he had published the book in 1951 instead of 1961. Little did he know how prophetic his novel would be regarding the Vietnam War. Yossarian has reached the end of his rope. He has flown the required number of combat missions several times, but each time Colonel Cathcart keeps raising the number of missions required to go home. A similar circumstance plagued Hawkeye Pierce and his fellow doctors in the Korean War based TV series M*A*S*H. The pressure of thousands of people he doesn’t even know and hundreds he does know trying to kill him is just too much for him to bear. As he becomes more and more insane(sane) he becomes more and more qualified to fly combat missions as far as the military is concerned. He comes up with various ailments to keep him in the hospital. He shows up to receive his war medal naked except for a pair of moccasins. He finally refuses to fly any more missions and begins parading around the camp walking backwards. This does start to foment rebellion among his fellow flyers and drives Colonel Cathcart to distraction. ”Morale was deteriorating and it was all Yossarian’s fault. The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.” Heller surrounds Yossarian with a wonderful cast of detailed characters of which I will only be able to mention a few. Lieutenant Nately is one of Yossarian’s best friends, a trust fund baby with red, white, and blue blood running through his veins. He is a good looking kid and could have any woman he wanted, but he falls in love with an Italian prostitute who begrudgingly sleeps with him when he pays for sex with her, but would rather he just disappeared. He has this great discussion with her “107” year old pimp. ”Italy is one of the least prosperous nations on earth. And the Italian fighting man is probably second to all. And that’s exactly why my country is doing so well in this war while your country is doing so poorly.” Nately guffawed with surprise...”But Italy was occupied by the Germans and is now being occupied by us. You don’t call that doing very well, do you?” “But of course I do.” exclaimed the old man cheerfully. “The Germans are being driven out, and we are still here. In a few years you will be gone, too, and we will still be here. You see, Italy is really a very poor and weak country, and that’s what makes us so strong. Italian soldiers are not dying any more. But American and German soldiers are. I call that doing extremely well.” Nately continues to be the straight man for the old man as they discuss the absurdity of risking one’s life for their country. ”There is nothing so absurd about risking your life for your country.” he (Nately) declared. “Isn’t there?”asked the old man. “What is a country? A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural. Englishmen are dying for England, Americans are dying for America, Germans are dying for Germany, Russians are dying for Russia. There are now fifty or sixty countries fighting in this war. Surely so many countries can’t all be worth dying for.” “Anything worth living for,” said Nately, “is worth dying for.” “And anything worth dying for,” answered the sacrilegious old man. “is certainly worth living for.” Milo Minderbinder is in charge of the mess at the U.S. Army Corps base. As he learns more and more about how goods are moved around the globe he begins a business of supply and demand (war profiteering). He becomes the ultimate capitalist with no allegiance to any country. He trades with the enemy and as part of contract negotiations he also warns the Germans once of an impending attack even to the point of guiding anti-artillery against American planes and in another case bombs his own base to fulfill another contract. The absurdity of his position is that he is too important to the American high command to get in trouble for any of these acts of treason. He tries to explain one of his more successful schemes to Yossarian. ”I don’t understand why you buy eggs for seven cents apiece in Malta and sell them for five cents.” “I do it to make a profit.” “But how can you make a profit? You lose two cents an egg.” “But I make a profit of three and a quarter cents an egg by selling them for four and a quarter cents an egg to the people in Malta I buy them from for seven cents an egg. Of course, I don’t make the profit. the syndicate makes the profit. And everybody has a share.” Yossarian felt he was beginning to understand. “And the people you sell the eggs to at four anda quarter cents a piece make a profit of two and three quarter cents apiece when they sell them back to you at seven cents apiece. Is that right? Why don’t you sell the eggs directly to you and eliminate the people you buy them from?” “Because I’m the people I buy them from.” Milo explained. “I make a profit of three and a quarter cents apiece when I sell them to me and a profit of two and three quarter cents apiece when I buy them back from me. That’s a total profit of six cents and egg. I lose only two cents an egg when I sell them to the mess halls at five cents apiece, and that’s how I can make a profit buying eggs for seven cents apiece and selling them for five cents apiece. Hungry Joe keeps meeting the flight standards time and time again only to have his paperwork take too long to process before the flight standards have been raised again. He packs and then he unpacks. He is a fat, pervert who convinces women to take their clothes off to be photographed by telling them that he works for Life Magazine and will put them on the cover. Unfortunately the photographs never turn out. Ironically he did work as a photographer for Life Magazine before the war. Women do play a role in this book mostly as objects of lust. Heller has these wonderful, creative descriptions of them. ”She would have been perfect for Yossarian, a debauched, coarse, vulgar, amoral, appetizing slattern whom he had longed for and idolized for months. She was a real find. She paid for her own drinks, and she had an automobile, an apartment and a salmon-colored cameo ring that drove Hungry Joe clean out of his senses with its exquisitely carved figures of a naked boy and girl on a rock.” And then there is a nurse that brings Yossarian nearly to his knees with desire. ”Yossarian was sick with lust and mesmerized with regret. General Dreedle’s nurse was only a little chubby, and his senses were stuffed to congestion with the yellow radiance of her hair and the unfelt pressure of her soft short fingers, with the rounded untasted wealth of her nubile breast in her Army-pink shirt that was opened wide at the the throat and with the rolling, ripened triangular confluences of her belly and thighs in her tight, slick forest-green garbardine officer’s pants. He drank her in insatiably from head to painted toenail. He never wanted to lose her. ‘Ooooooooooooh,’ he moaned again, and this time the whole room rippled at his quavering, drown-out cry.”. You will probably need to google the next one. ”He enjoyed Nurse Sue Ann Druckett’s long white legs and supple, callipygous ass.” Paradoxes abound even when Heller describes a character he will have countering characteristics like she was plain, but pretty or he was handsome, but ugly. Aren’t we all a sum of those characteristics anyway? Joseph Heller looking handsome and ugly. This book is hilarious, (I laughed out loud at several points.)but wrapped with increasingly more tragic circumstances. As Yossarian’s friends die or disappear his desperation increases. His behavior becomes more and more erratic. The absurd traps him time and time again. There are a whole host of reasons why everyone should read this novel. I’m not saying that everyone will like it as much as I did, but it is IMHO one of the top five most important American novels ever written. It impacted our culture, added words to our language, and gave voice to a generation of people dissatisfied with the war aims of this country. More importantly don’t be the one person in the middle of a Catch-22 discussion who hasn’t read the book. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at: https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I suffered through about 60 pages, and finally put it down. I very rarely ever leave a book unfinished. The author narrates and introduces us to Yossarian, who does not want to fly in the war. I get that. I get the whole catch 22 scenerio... You have to be insane to fly the plane. If you can get a dr to say you are insane, you wont have to fly. But in order to tell a dr that you are insane, this actually means you are sane. So you must continue to fly... which makes you insane. blah blah blah. Wh I suffered through about 60 pages, and finally put it down. I very rarely ever leave a book unfinished. The author narrates and introduces us to Yossarian, who does not want to fly in the war. I get that. I get the whole catch 22 scenerio... You have to be insane to fly the plane. If you can get a dr to say you are insane, you wont have to fly. But in order to tell a dr that you are insane, this actually means you are sane. So you must continue to fly... which makes you insane. blah blah blah. What I couldnt get past was the author's constant bouts of Attention Deficet Disorder.... He went off on tangents, introducing a new character seemingly every paragraph, and seemed to lose his train of thought only to regain it 2 pages later. I couldnt take all the jumping around, and was completely lost the whole time... at times rereading the prior page thinking I missed some important tie-in somewhere.... Am I the only one on this planet who is asking myself what heck everyone was smoking when they read this book and actually enjoyed it?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    A shiny new batch of awesome for my "all time favorite" shelf. It has been awhile since I’ve so throughly enjoyed reading a novel that has, at the same time, left me as intellectually awestruck as Joseph Heller’s classic sermon on the insanity of war. What a sublime, literary feast. To prepare: 1. Start with a surrealistic, Kafkaesque worldview basted in chaos; 2. Knead in a plot reminiscent of Pynchon, taking particular care that the bizarre, placidly disjointed surface fully camouflages the po A shiny new batch of awesome for my "all time favorite" shelf. It has been awhile since I’ve so throughly enjoyed reading a novel that has, at the same time, left me as intellectually awestruck as Joseph Heller’s classic sermon on the insanity of war. What a sublime, literary feast. To prepare: 1. Start with a surrealistic, Kafkaesque worldview basted in chaos; 2. Knead in a plot reminiscent of Pynchon, taking particular care that the bizarre, placidly disjointed surface fully camouflages the powerfully nuanced, and deceptively focused central message; 3. Marinate the whole thing in a dark, hilarious satire that would have made Vonnegut beam like a proud papa. 4. Bake at 350, season with zesty prose, and serve. Voila...a singular, absurdilarious serving of inspired genius that I can not recommend more highly. This novel was so much more than I was expecting. Despite its pervasive, laugh out loud humor, Heller’s story is the most horrifyingly effective depiction of the insanity of war that I’ve ever read**. I’m not referring to the evil and vile atrocities perpetrated in war that have been so extensively catalogued throughout the annals of literature. Rather, Heller's insight is geared to showing us the illogic of war, the out-of-control nihilism, and the chaotic, existential absurdity of it. **Note: this observation is coming from someone who’s never been closer to war than the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, so season the above with grains of salt as necessary. It's brilliant. PLOT SUMMARY: I think any attempt at a plot summary is doomed to inadequacy, so let me just briefly frame the story. The novel follows the exploits of the fictional 256th fighter squadron, stationed on the fictional island of Pianosa, during the height of WWII. With a large cast of characters and a non-chronological narrative that switches viewpoints constantly, Heller creates a delicious cauldron of madness and bureaucratic ineptitude that is just heaven to follow. Our chief tour guide through the nuthouse is Captain John Yossarian, bomber pilot, whose main ambition in life is to “live forever or die in the attempt”. Yossarian’s life wish is so strong that he doesn’t even distinguish between the “enemy” and his superiors. As far as he's concerned, the enemy “is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on.” To avoid the final finality of death, Yossarian concocts a series of ingenious (and hysterical) methods for staying alive, including poisoning his own squadron and redrawing a the combat map during the “Great Big Siege of Bologna” so as to alter the bombing target. Despite his often less than moral shenanigans, Yossarian acts as the conscience of the story and helps to keep the rampant lunacy and chaos in context. His is the voice of indignity and righteous anger against the war and the cold, faceless bureaucracy that perpetrates it. Even against the God that allows it such horrors to exist in the first place. ‘Don't tell me God works in mysterious ways,’ Yossarian continued, hurtling on over her objection. ‘There's nothing so mysterious about it. He's not working at all. He's playing. Or else He's forgotten all about us. That's the kind of God you people talk about - a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did He ever create pain?’ ‘Pain?’ Lieutenant Scheisskopf's wife pounced upon the word victoriously. ‘Pain is a useful symptom. Pain is a warning to us of bodily dangers.’ ‘And who created the dangers?’ Yossarian demanded ... ‘Why couldn't He have used a doorbell instead to notify us?’ THOUGHTS: Loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it…and loved it. The writing is brilliant, the characters are unique, engaging and memorable, and the story will scar you with wonder and awe. I can’t believe I hesitated so long to read this, and I intend to sit down with this many times in the years to come. For those that have experienced this before, and for those who just want a stroll down memory lane, here are a few pearls that showcase this novel’s rather large package of absurd, satircal win. **“Fortunately, just when things were blackest, the war broke out.” **"I'll tell you what justice is. Justice is a knee in the gut from the floor on the chin at night sneaky with a knife brought up down on the magazine of a battleship sandbagged underhanded in the dark without a word of warning." **“Colonel Cargill could be relied on to run the most prosperous enterprise into the ground. He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.” **“Colonel Cathcart was indefatigable that way, an industrious, intense, dedicated military tactician who calculated day and night in the service of himself. And a personal favorite (all leading up to the very last line): The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization, and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character. Finally, I wanted to share one last piece of awesome with you. The following is the contents of the letter sent by the base commander to the wife of one of the main characters. Dear Mrs., Mr., Miss, or Mr. And Mrs. [no spoiler]: Words cannot express the deep personal grief I experienced when your husband, son, father, or brother was killed, wounded, or reported missing in action. Priceless…and what’s even funnier is that the set up of the joke occurs about 200 pages before. Masterful. 6.0 stars. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    Hmm, where to start with a book like this one. A book that is a third Kafka, a third Vonnegut, a third Pynchon and completely insane? For the first 200 or 250 pages, it is like a broken record or a movie loop with Sisyphus rolling that boulder up a hill in American WWII battle fatigues (and a flight suit and a Mae West life preserver sans the inflation module thanks the M&M Enterprises). Then, when the flak starts flying and the blood is splattered everywhere it is intense right up until the Hmm, where to start with a book like this one. A book that is a third Kafka, a third Vonnegut, a third Pynchon and completely insane? For the first 200 or 250 pages, it is like a broken record or a movie loop with Sisyphus rolling that boulder up a hill in American WWII battle fatigues (and a flight suit and a Mae West life preserver sans the inflation module thanks the M&M Enterprises). Then, when the flak starts flying and the blood is splattered everywhere it is intense right up until the end. It features Chaucerian cast of characters that would not be out of place in the German chaos of Gravity's Rainbow or The Tin Drum. A few examples: Major Major Major Major: "He was a proud and independent man who was opposed to unemployment insurance and never hesitated to whine, whimper, wheedle, and extort for as much as he could get from whoever he could. He was a devout man whose pulpit was everywhere." But if you want a meeting with him, you'll have to wait until he has climbed out the window of his office and run down the gully. Colonel Cathart: "a slick, successful, slipshod, unhappy man of thirty-six who lumbered while we walked and wanted to be a general...[he was] impervious to absolutes. He could measure his own progress only in relationship to others, and his idea of excellence was to do something at least as well as all the men his same age who were doing the same thing even better." Even if (or especially if) that meant raising the number of combat missions from 50 to 80 to impress General Peckham or General Dreedle or (gasp) General Scheisskopf (!!) whose wife was well, just a little promiscuous. Then there is the Anabaptist chaplain who started to wonder about whether God exists and is tortured by his assistant, the sadistic Colonel Whitcomb and spends a lot of time wondering whether everything he sees is déjà vu, presque vu or jamais vu. Also, the ill-fated young Nately and the equally ill-fated old man debating whether America was winning the war or whether Italy was since Italy has already survived more than two millennia more than the US even existed: "This sordid, vulturous, diabolical old man reminded [him] of his father because the two were nothing at all alike." And then there is Yossarian, the protagonist. Perhaps the insane Captain (decorated for making a second bombing pass that killed Kraft) being the sanest person on the island of Pianosa despite being haunted by Snowden, the soldier in white, the dead man in his tent, persecuted and nearly killed by Nately's whore and all the death and absurdity around him. Yossarian is an everyman who is justifiably paranoid, but just a cog in the system and the only person that retains a sense of outrage at the senseless violence all around him. This is the most anti-war book I believe I have ever read. It makes M*A*S*H look like a US Army recruiting poster in comparison. I was horrified by one-man syndicate M&M Enterprises of Milo Minderbender the cynic who deals with total impunity openly with both sides - even manning the anti-aircraft flak machines on the Italian coast shooting down US bombers and bombing his own squadron with loads of casualties. (This of course scarily parallels the Trump links with Putin and Russia and the massive amounts of money that Trump stands to make as POTUS.) Kid Simpson's slaughter was perhaps the most gruesome of them all, but the the scenes of terror and anarchy that Yossarian sees in Rome before being arrested for being there without a pass (leaving the murderous Aarfy smiling and careless as always) were chilling. Do not come here seeking logic or sanity because in war, neither has any place - not in Catch-22 and I suppose in real life either. It reminded me of a cab driver I had once in New Orleans (true story) who was bragging to me about burying Iraquis in their trenches by rolling over them with tanks and bulldozers during the first Gulf War. When I mentioned that it was against the Geneva Convention to bury men alive, he shrugged in the rearview mirror and said "They told us that those rules didn't apply to us since this was just a conflict and not a war and besides, we were the US Army and not bound by some stupid European rules." If, as I did, you struggle through the first 200 pages, the pace picks up - as does the violence - and you will find yourself cheering for Yossarian and racing to the end (if not, as Yossarian, to Sweden.) I would give it 5 stars, but the first 200 pages are really torture to get through, so for lack of being able to give a 4.5, I rounded down to 4 stars. Regardless, I can clearly see, however, why this classic is held in such high esteem. May we never go through another war like this again. I can also see some of the inspiration for Alan Alda for creating M*A*S*H in the 70s and, reading Fire In the Lake about Vietnam, we learned absolutely nothing from the errors that Heller describes. Reading the second Rick Atkinson book of The Liberation Trilogy about the Allied campaign in Italy. Every bit as brutal and chaotic as Heller portrayed it - particularly the brutal inch-by-inch campaign up from Salerno to Rome! Anzio was particularly horrendous. Curious fact: Roger Waters' father (the one he eulogizes in The Wall) died at Anzio. Highly recommended as a piece of essential anti-war black humor.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The following is an example of how many conversations in this book took place. Jen: I didn't like this book. Nigel: Why didn't you like the book? Jen: I did like the book. Nigel: You just said you didn't like the book. Jen: No I didn't. Nigel: You're lying. Jen: I don't believe in lying. Nigel: So you never lie? Jen: Oh yes, I lie all the time. Nigel: You just said you don't believe in it. Jen: I don't believe in it, Jen said as she ate a chocolate covered cotton ball. Nigel: Well I liked the book. Jen: Fabu The following is an example of how many conversations in this book took place. Jen: I didn't like this book. Nigel: Why didn't you like the book? Jen: I did like the book. Nigel: You just said you didn't like the book. Jen: No I didn't. Nigel: You're lying. Jen: I don't believe in lying. Nigel: So you never lie? Jen: Oh yes, I lie all the time. Nigel: You just said you don't believe in it. Jen: I don't believe in it, Jen said as she ate a chocolate covered cotton ball. Nigel: Well I liked the book. Jen: Fabulous! I liked it too! Nigel: What did you like about it? Jen: Oh, I hated it. I think Heller was showing how war is chaotic by not writing in a chronological order. You really have no idea in what order events are taking place. I think he was showing how war is ridiculous by writing conversations like the one above. I'm not sure if any of his goals were to annoy the living hell out of his readers, but he annoyed me. 460 pages of absurdness is too much for me. Most of the characters were very one-dimensional. I could only distinguish between people by their names. Most of the good guys all had the same personalities and the bad guys all had the same personalities except one character ate peanut brittle and another put crab apples in his cheeks. Other than that - same personalities. Maybe his goal was only to distinguish between the good, everyday guys and the evil, power-hungry men in charge. If so, he succeeded. I just wasn't thrilled after page 150 or so. There is some funny stuff in there. The chocolate-covered cotton balls will crack me up for life. There's some really sad stuff too. It's weird because every time someone died, I cared, even though I knew nothing about them, except what they ate or who their favorite whore was. I'm not sure how Heller pulled that off. Anyway, I would recommend it. It's just that the ridiculousness of it gets to the point where it's just, well, ridiculous, and beyond my personal tolerance level. I still appreciated it though.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barry Pierce

    I have had Catch-22 on my bookshelf for years. It was one of those novels that I've said, "oh I'll get around to that in 2012". It didn't happen. "Maybe 2013". Nope. And so on until just a couple of days ago. I've got to stop putting books off. Rarely has a piece of literature ticked so many of my boxes. Satire, farce, gallows humour, irreverence, it's as if this book were written entirely for me. I loved every word on every page of this book. I cannot find a single miniscule fault anywhere with I have had Catch-22 on my bookshelf for years. It was one of those novels that I've said, "oh I'll get around to that in 2012". It didn't happen. "Maybe 2013". Nope. And so on until just a couple of days ago. I've got to stop putting books off. Rarely has a piece of literature ticked so many of my boxes. Satire, farce, gallows humour, irreverence, it's as if this book were written entirely for me. I loved every word on every page of this book. I cannot find a single miniscule fault anywhere within the narrative or the prose or the characterisation or the flow or the humour. I can say without any hesitation that Catch-22 is a perfect novel. It was love at first sight.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Catch-22, Joseph Heller Catch-22 is a satirical novel by American author Joseph Heller. He began writing it in 1953; the novel was first published in 1961. Often cited as one of the most significant novels of the twentieth century, it uses a distinctive non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, describing events from the points of view of different characters. The separate storylines are out of sequence so the timeline develops along with the plot. عنوانها: کلک مرغابی؛ تبصره 22؛ نویسنده Catch-22, Joseph Heller Catch-22 is a satirical novel by American author Joseph Heller. He began writing it in 1953; the novel was first published in 1961. Often cited as one of the most significant novels of the twentieth century, it uses a distinctive non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, describing events from the points of view of different characters. The separate storylines are out of sequence so the timeline develops along with the plot. عنوانها: کلک مرغابی؛ تبصره 22؛ نویسنده: جوزف هلر؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سیزدهم ماه آگوست سال 2001 میلادی عنوان: کلک مرغابی؛ نویسنده: جوزف هلر؛ مترجم: کامبیز پاک فر؛ تهران، مرجان، 1378؛ دو جلد در یک مجلد؛ در 806 ص؛ شابک: 9649049304؛ موضوع: جنگ جهانی دوم قرن 20 م عنوان: تبصره 22؛ نویسنده: جوزف هلر؛ مترجم: حسن افشار؛ تهران، ماهی، 1393؛ در 552 ص؛ شابک: 9789642092000؛ عنوان: تبصره 22؛ نویسنده: جوزف هلر؛ مترجم: احسان نوروزی؛ تهران، چشمه، 1394؛ در 518 ص؛ شابک: 9786002295613؛ اونا می‌خوان منو بکشن.؛ هیچ‌کس نمی‌خواد تو رو بکشه.؛ پس چرا به طرفم تیراندازی می‌کنن؟ اونا می‌خوان همه رو بکشن.؛ خب چه فرقی می‌کنه؟ پیدا کردن تکه ای که بتواند گوشه‌ ای از منطق رمان «تبصره 22» باشد، کار ناممکن یا دشواری ست، شاید گفتگوی بالا نزدیک‌ترین بخش داستان به این انتظار باشد. «یوسارین»، افسر نیروی هوایی آمریکا، تصمیم گرفته، دیگر جانش را به خطر نیندازد، و پرواز نکند، چون احساس می‌کند ضدهوایی‌های دشمن قصد دارند او را بکشند. اما همکارش اینگونه نمی‌اندیشد، چون باور دارد سربازان دشمن قصد دارند همه را بکشند. این درست همان‌جایی است، که کشمکش اصلی داستان «تبصره 22» شکل می‌گیرد. «یوسارین» دیگر به جنگ، به چشم یک رخداد اجتماعی نگاه نمی‌کند، بلکه جنگ برای او مسئله‌ ای کاملا فردی است.؛ طبعا اگر همه آدم‌های متخاصم در دو طرف یک جنگ، می‌توانستند مثل «یوسارین» جنگ را فردی ببینند، هیچ جنگی آن‌قدرها پا نمی‌گرفت؛ و به کشتار نمیانجامید. ذات جنگ، اساسا بر ایده ی گذشتن از فرد، و قرار گرفتن در خدمت یک اجتماع، یا یک ایده و باور، استوار است. ترفند اصلی «جوزف هلر»، نگارنده، برای زیر پرسش بردن برهان جنگ، همان بازگشت به فردیت کسانی است، که قرار است سربازان جنگ باشند. مسئله باورهای فردی، در برابر اجتماع جنگ‌جو، نقطه مرکزی رمان «هلر» است، که در همه جای رمان جاری شده، و به فرم آن نیز نشت کرده است. فرمی که منتقدان بسیاری، این نگارش را نپسندیده اند. اما این نیز هست که رمان «تبصره‌‌ ی 22» اثر «جوزف هلر» را، به همراه «برهنه‌ ها و مرده‌ ها» اثر: «نورمن میلر»، و «سلاخ‌ خانه‌ ی شماره پنج» اثر: «کورت ونه‌ گات»؛ یکی از سه اثر ادبیات ضدجنگ آمریکا بنوشته اند. نویسندگان هر سه رمان، به نوعی در رخدادهای جنگ جهانگیر دوم، شرکت داشته‌، و جنگ را از نزدیک تجربه کرده‌ اند. «جوزف هِلـِر» که فرزند خانواده‌ ای مهاجر، از یهودیان روس‌ تبار بودند، در سال 1942 میلادی در سن نوزده سالگی، به ارتش آمریکا پیوستند، و در سال‌های پایانی جنگ، به عنوان بمب‌ انداز هواپیماهای بی‌.52 در شصت ماموریت جنگی شرکت کردند (در هواپیماهای آن دوره: خلبانی، ناوبری و مسیریابی، و هدف‌یابی برای انداختن بمب؛ هر یک مسئول جداگانه‌ داشت)؛ ا. شربیانی

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    "Insanity is contagious." Like so many other works of originally absurd or dystopian character, this classic catches up with reality faster than I can process. When I first shared Yossarian's frustration over the perfect catch, I did so in a quite abstract way, enjoying the intellectual game the novel kept me engaged in. Now I find myself frequently thinking of his pain as something I experience myself, every day, reading news and listening to the authorities that are in charge to rule the world "Insanity is contagious." Like so many other works of originally absurd or dystopian character, this classic catches up with reality faster than I can process. When I first shared Yossarian's frustration over the perfect catch, I did so in a quite abstract way, enjoying the intellectual game the novel kept me engaged in. Now I find myself frequently thinking of his pain as something I experience myself, every day, reading news and listening to the authorities that are in charge to rule the world. If you want to succeed against the insanity of populist ruthlessness and to restore liberal values and democratic processes, you have to adopt the insane leaders' weapons, and turn yourself into a demagogue playing to the stupidity and insanity of the indoctrinated, thoughtless masses. But then, of course, you do not represent liberal values and democratic processes anymore, you turn into the monster you fight. When Yossarian realised that he could only escape the threat to his life (the active participation in the war) if he was declared insane, and that expressing the wish to escape the threat to his life showed he was in fact sane, he knew he was in the clutches of insane authorities (which ironically therefore were safe from dying in the war for which they were responsible!). They were keeping their numbing power over him as long as he was sane enough to resist, and human enough to have a character: "It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character." As a novel showing the absurdity of war and of nationalism on an individual level, while keeping a (bittersweet) sense of humour, this labyrinth of a tale has no peer: "The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them." So here is my catch, let's call it the catch 42 - the catch that kicks in whenever we try to find the Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything. If all insane leaders of the world read this book, they would understand the meaninglessness of their destructive power play, and they would change their ways and the world would finally be a safe place. The catch is that they have to be sane to read it. So, read it if you are sane enough to understand it. It will drive you crazy though.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    I originally read this about 15 years ago. When I joined Goodreads and added the books I had previously read I remembered it as a 3 star book. I am not sure if it is being 15 years older or the fact that I did the audiobook this time, but it was easily 5 stars now! The first thing that came to mind after I was a few chapters into this was the show “Seinfeld”. Always touted as a show about nothing, this book was kind of about nothing. It is series of smaller anecdotes, usually somewhat silly, that I originally read this about 15 years ago. When I joined Goodreads and added the books I had previously read I remembered it as a 3 star book. I am not sure if it is being 15 years older or the fact that I did the audiobook this time, but it was easily 5 stars now! The first thing that came to mind after I was a few chapters into this was the show “Seinfeld”. Always touted as a show about nothing, this book was kind of about nothing. It is series of smaller anecdotes, usually somewhat silly, that really don’t have a specific function in moving the plot. It is a satire about war, red tape, chain of command, etc. and the inherent futility involved. While war and the tragedy that goes with it are usually not considered amusing, this feels like a therapeutic, tongue-in-cheek poke that needed to be made to maintain sanity. There are a plethora of characters – some of which are more caricatures – that may get your head spinning at first. Luckily, Heller gives them all memorable names which helps keep them organized easily. Maybe that was not his intention, but when you need to remember if it was Milo Minderbender or Major Major Major Major (yes, that is his name – my spell check did not like me repeating a word four times!) who did something, the reader is definitely given naming tools to keep them connected! I mentioned that there is not necessarily an overall story, but there are definitely themes. One is doing what is best for you no matter who gets stepped on in the process. Another is twisting the facts to make sure the ultimate outcome is what works best for you. And, of course, the BIG idea that has become a common colloquialism (I know I use it just about every day) is the situation of Catch-22. Early in the book, the first example of Catch-22 is that if you say you want to fly bombing missions, you must be crazy so they will take you off the missions – only someone crazy would want to fly missions. But, if you are not on the missions, your sanity is no longer in question so they will make you fly them. If you say you don’t want to fly them, you are sane so you will have to fly them. Basically, no matter how you feel about flying missions, you will end up flying them anyway! Situations like this are repeated throughout the book where there is no good answer to the situation at hand – often with hilarious and frustrating results. Now, I mention that the book is humorous satire, but it does have many dark moments as well. This kind of goes back to my mention of the discourse within the novel being therapeutic. War is crazy and what can happen is brutal. Oddly enough, a Jimmy Buffett quote from Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes comes to mind: “If we weren't all crazy we would go insane.” That pretty much sums up the book in a nutshell! So, should you read this book? Well, I think that question is a Catch-22 in itself. I think about 50% of the people who try this will hate it or dnf it. I think the other 50% of the people who read it will love it, quote it, put it on their favorites list. Where the Catch-22 is that I think any person has the capability to be in either category depending on where their mindset is right now. If I recommend it to you now you may hate me, or you may thank me profusely. In 10 years is would be visa versa! I do think the audiobook helped me appreciate it more and it is now in my favorites. Will that happen for you? I definitely cannot be the one to decide that!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    I’m not sure if it’s a talent or an affliction, but I’ve been blessed or cursed with a penchant for taking someone else’s creative work and extrapolating it to skewed extremes. That explains my yet-to-be-published collection of fan fiction, unauthorized sequels, and twists in perspective. I first discovered this talent/affliction as a boy when I imagined a fourth little pig who leveraged himself to the hilt, built a luxury skyscraper, and, with YUGE block letters at its base, labelled it Pig Tow I’m not sure if it’s a talent or an affliction, but I’ve been blessed or cursed with a penchant for taking someone else’s creative work and extrapolating it to skewed extremes. That explains my yet-to-be-published collection of fan fiction, unauthorized sequels, and twists in perspective. I first discovered this talent/affliction as a boy when I imagined a fourth little pig who leveraged himself to the hilt, built a luxury skyscraper, and, with YUGE block letters at its base, labelled it Pig Tower. The Big Bad Wolf, as a professional courtesy (and quite possibly with the promise of kickbacks), agreed to a huff and puff waiver. As a teen I wrote a follow-up to Kurt Vonnegut’s classic that I called Slaughterhouse-Six. It was set in a mirror image world where war was devastating the planet Tralfamadore. Fortunately, the protagonist, Libby Mirglip, survived the bombs and lived a varied if not full life after the conflict. She was aided by alien visitors from planet Earth who showed her, through their own less enlightened example, what not to do. I’d prefer not to go into the details of one my more recent works, Fifty-two Shades of Grey. If it’s ever published, it’ll be under an assumed name, or maybe names – I’m toying with the idea of S. and M. John. BTW, I saw that some other joker stole my basic idea and technically beat me to the preferred number fifty-one. This brings us to my latest, Catch-23. Since I’ve already done an absurdist post-war account of tragedy/comedy with Slaughterhouse-Six, I wanted to steer clear of such a heavy/humorous theme this time. Instead, Catch-23 is the story of a local seafood restaurant on 23 S. Washington St. in Naperton, Illinois. They became famous for their Shrimp Yossarian. Then a new executive chef upped the number of times customers would fly through the doors by offering Skate Wing Schnitzel a la Scheisskopf, Major Major Mahi Mahi, and Stuffed Oysters Orr-style. Naperton’s whore gave the story some much needed spice. (As with any fan fiction, references will only be appreciated by those who know the original.) Oh, and hey, there is a catch here. Against your better judgment, you continued reading each ridiculous example in this exercise of “one more." Making it this far means you’ve read “one more” paragraph all the way to the end. The catch is that you must be crazy enough to perceive this as a payoff.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Life would be beautiful if it wasn't for the war; Captain John Yossarian is not happy, flying in an U.S. Army B-25 plane as a bombardier during WW2 ... continuous take- offs and landings on the small Italian island of Pianosa near the west coast of Italy is no real fun ( the isle in reality was too small for runways). Flak may seem pretty in the sky, from below, however above...but to Yo Yo his nickname, the anti- aircraft fire will pulverize you into tiny bits of unrecognizable debris... Though Life would be beautiful if it wasn't for the war; Captain John Yossarian is not happy, flying in an U.S. Army B-25 plane as a bombardier during WW2 ... continuous take- offs and landings on the small Italian island of Pianosa near the west coast of Italy is no real fun ( the isle in reality was too small for runways). Flak may seem pretty in the sky, from below, however above...but to Yo Yo his nickname, the anti- aircraft fire will pulverize you into tiny bits of unrecognizable debris... Thought he was a loyal American until ambitious Colonel Cathcart raises combat missions from 25 to 30 ... 35... 40..50..55..60...70...maybe soon 80 ? The cold Colonel Korn his second in command urges more missions if his boss desires to become a general, a sacrifice they are willing to take for their men, after all both stay on terra firma .... A man could be killed around here thinks Mr. Yossarian and not thrilled about such a prospect.That occurs to him when he notices most of his friends are dying in the strife and not eager to join the unliving, can he just go home? The nervous warrior invariably seeks admittance to the hospital, a frequent visitor to get out of flying other times has real wounds not always from the enemy, now needs to escape from the island yet the people he meets there, doctors, nurses and especially patients are more unhinged than he... The strange one is covered from head to foot in bandages or plaster, creeps the others out with just a minuscule entrance to breath, like a whale's blowhole, alive maybe..that's highly debatable. Nevertheless a certain nurse attracts him, there is joy in the most unpromising situations and nurse Duckett is attractive ...And swimming in the sea and laying on the beach with her has its compensations... Be understanding some advise this , ( there are shortages of qualified airmen for combat duty ) including Chaplain Tappman, a man not sure of his own duty; war or peace... like everyone else he desires to get back to America.. Milo Minderbinde , Captain Yossarian mysterious pal emerges from the mess hall to stardom as the always conniving entrepreneur doing deals, doesn't matter if they are enemies, business is business and the object is to make money. Spain, Egypt, Turkey, Portugal, Sicily anywhere where there is a buck to make and planes can reach, he thrives in the madness. Still while the airmen live, Yossarian and friends travel to Rome for relaxation and the best way is...finding loose women those not too particular about looks or manners or clean rooms and wild ways , will tolerate much for gratuities... Everybody calls everyone crazy in the book which is quite accurate, war is insane but never unfashionable, some believe this will happen on Earth for perpetuity ... Joseph Heller's anti- war black comedy classic has given the world the phrase catch-22 meaning a dilemma, whatever you choose you lose. This novel though not for all, is a magnificent trip into the horrors of brutal mindless discord you have to laugh, in order to survive..

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Catch-22 reminds me a lot of those comedy/tragedy masks—you know the ones that are supposed to represent like, fine theater or something? Not that I’m comparing Catch-22 to some great Italian opera. All I’m saying is that the book oscillates cleverly between the absurdly humorous and the grievingly tragic. So it starts off on the hilarious side. Here’s a bit that had me giggling aloud (rather embarrassingly, I might add, as I was surrounded by other people at the time): The colonel dwelt in a vor Catch-22 reminds me a lot of those comedy/tragedy masks—you know the ones that are supposed to represent like, fine theater or something? Not that I’m comparing Catch-22 to some great Italian opera. All I’m saying is that the book oscillates cleverly between the absurdly humorous and the grievingly tragic. So it starts off on the hilarious side. Here’s a bit that had me giggling aloud (rather embarrassingly, I might add, as I was surrounded by other people at the time): The colonel dwelt in a vortex of specialists who were still specializing in trying to determine what was troubling him. They hurled lights in his eyes to see if he could see, rammed needles into nerves to hear if he could feel. Ha! That one still gets me. Unfortunately, the laugh-out-loudness has caused some people to think I’m crazy, but I suppose that’s the price one must pay for decent literature. And then, like great Italian opera (really, I hadn’t meant to expound the parallel this far, but look—its happening!), you start itching for the intermission because your legs are falling asleep and you really need to take a leak. This is the point at which the humor starts to wear thin and seemingly unrelated events are haphazardly thrown around and you’re wondering if it’s going anywhere or if it’s just one absurd situation after another. But finally, you settle in for Act III and discover that the seemingly unrelated events are actually part of an ingenious narrative structure that Heller has planned out from the beginning. Jokes that were set up earlier finally deliver their punch lines. Only it turns out the jokes aren’t funny anymore. In many ways, Heller’s writing is like that of Kurt Vonnegut, with similar subject matter wrapped up in threads of absurdity. But while Vonnegut speaks of the horrors of war, Heller’s issues are more with the horrors of the War Department: it is the red tape of bureaucracy that gets his goat. Well, and war, too, but mostly it’s the bureaucracy. Anyway, this book is smart and well written. It would be difficult for me to come up with the name of another author who could write such perfectly contradictory sentences while still making so much sense.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shayantani Das

    ooof exhausting story !! I will get back to it later(in 2050 perhaps). Finally finished on 4 February 2012(not 2050 :p) I did it! I finished it! I finished the book. And I am alive!!! The review This book is pure unadulterated madness. There is a harem of characters and all of them are crazy. And not just silly crazy; more like annoying crazy! Milo, Aarfy, Whitcomb, these characters will make you want to either shoot them, or shoot yourself. The missions are crazy, Doc Danneka is crazy. The plot i ooof exhausting story !! I will get back to it later(in 2050 perhaps). Finally finished on 4 February 2012(not 2050 :p) I did it! I finished it! I finished the book. And I am alive!!! The review This book is pure unadulterated madness. There is a harem of characters and all of them are crazy. And not just silly crazy; more like annoying crazy! Milo, Aarfy, Whitcomb, these characters will make you want to either shoot them, or shoot yourself. The missions are crazy, Doc Danneka is crazy. The plot is crazy. The execution of events not arranged in any chronological order is crazy. The narrative skips from scene to scene with occasional (but still confusing) mentions of before and after but with no central now to give these terms meaning. And that further makes me crazy! Everything and everyone crazy. The round, illogical, immoral reasoning is madness. The way words are twisted around and misinterpreted is crazy. Every arguments is carried out to extreme absurd conclusions and the banter between characters is full of paradoxes as impossible as Catch-22 itself. Every single character pursues irrelevant, meaninglessness, and nonsense topics, which though initially are funny, but after 300 pages just makes you want to bang your head. Milo’s syndicate is insane. It’s illogical and unjustifiable and still makes money. Doc Daneeka’s official death is insane, Chaplain’s interrogation is madness. Nately’s whore’s rage is illogical, and Appleby’s flies in the eyes theory is crazy. The way, one’s heart lurches every time one of these crazy characters die is crazy. How Yossarian’s friends’ death feels like a slap on the face, every single time, that is crazy. The novel goes from extremely funny to totally grotesque, from heart breaking to just plain old annoying, from boring to super sonic fast, and that is insane. The transformation from realistic to surreal, ironic to allegory, Charles Dickens to Dostoyevsky. It’s all madness at its peak. Heller is crazy. Yossarian is crazy. Catch 22 is crazy. But then, war is crazy! Ps: I take no responsibility for anyone tempted to read this book. Navaneeta, I will be eternally grateful to you. Nandakishore, thanks for telling me to stop looking for a plot, it helped. Another entry in my favorite book of all time, and books I never want to reread shelf.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Kadetsky

    This book was utterly misrepresented to me before I read it. For some reason I'd always thought it had been published the same year as Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow and was considered as representing the other fork of post World War II American literature apart from Pynchon's--this the conventional, plot-driven one catering to stupid people. Some professor or some didact must have told me that, enrroenously as it turns out, once. Catch 22 predates the Pynchon masterpeice by 15 years, and is in sty This book was utterly misrepresented to me before I read it. For some reason I'd always thought it had been published the same year as Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow and was considered as representing the other fork of post World War II American literature apart from Pynchon's--this the conventional, plot-driven one catering to stupid people. Some professor or some didact must have told me that, enrroenously as it turns out, once. Catch 22 predates the Pynchon masterpeice by 15 years, and is in style an apt precursor. Its subject is war and its hilarity. In this it shares much with Pynchon as well as Vonnegut. Since James Heller is not as obviously over-bursting with brilliance and random facts about particle physics as Pynchon, nor is he as willing to pander to mainstream tastes (I think) as Vonnegut, Catch 22 is a tought read at the begiining. There is a lot of irony and detachment, but with not as much ease as Vonnegut and with less of the awe inspired by Pynchon. IN fact, I almost gave up, and had started this book (450 pages) several times before and actually had given up. The real story of Catch 22 doesn't start coming together well past page 200, but when it does, it really does. There is a brilliant portrait of an entrepreneurial mess chef who is the representation of evil, evil being capitalism and the lack of loyalty to any moral cause. He creates a vast international smuggling network whose intricacies are at once ridicuously amusing and yet, it seems, accurately and minutely portrayed--it's as if Heller were a partcile physicist translating science for us when he lays out how that "syndicate" works. Most importantly, the book affected me because of what it had to say about war, and then how it was able to communicate that through the heartbreaking travails of one officer--Yossarian--who is willing to act out human desires in the face of a dominant culture turned insanse and subhuman, caricatured. His wartime airforce base is a perfect illustration of RD Laing's common-sense supposition, developed not long after the period of this novel, that insanity is a sane response to an insane world. Catch 22 is clever and tight and thematic--"Catch 22" refers to how things that seem irrational can be made to seem rational through tautology. This is a cleverly embroidered theme throught the entire novel. But in the end these are not what make the book great. It's the emotion at the heart of the book, Yossarian's desire to live and be fleshly human, and his unwillingness to retreat into the bastions of irony and obtuseness so attractive to eberyone around him. This is what makes Catch 22 heartbreaking and poignant, tear0jerkin even.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    Years ago, while I was (unsuccessfully) searching for a job in the Middle East, I met a career consultant. "How do I land a job in the Middle East?" I asked. "Well, for that you need experience," he told me, scratching his chin. "But I have eighteen years of experience!" I protested. "That may be so," he said. "What I meant was - you need Gulf experience." "But I can't get that unless I get a job in the Gulf," I pointed out. "Yes, I know." He said serenely. "You see, that's the catch..."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Jusino

    "I really do admire you a bit. You're an intelligent person of great moral character who has taken a very courageous stand. I'm an intelligent person with no moral character at all, so I'm in an ideal position to appreciate it." - Colonel Korn, Catch-22 I really appreciate it when a book respects the intelligence of its readership. If a book is going to be "experimental" in any way, I love those that throw you into a world with no explanations - a literary baptism of fire (ie: Orwell's "Animal Fa "I really do admire you a bit. You're an intelligent person of great moral character who has taken a very courageous stand. I'm an intelligent person with no moral character at all, so I'm in an ideal position to appreciate it." - Colonel Korn, Catch-22 I really appreciate it when a book respects the intelligence of its readership. If a book is going to be "experimental" in any way, I love those that throw you into a world with no explanations - a literary baptism of fire (ie: Orwell's "Animal Farm"). Catch-22 is one of those books, and that's part of the reason why I thought it was so amazing! Catch-22 tells the story of a US Army squadron based in Italy during WWII, and a disenchanted pilot named Yossarian who thinks everyone is trying to kill him. (not an unreasonable assumption in a war) Except that it's not an Italy, a military story, or a world that we're meant to immediately recognize. There is a logic in the book that all the characters seem to accept, but that doesn't make sense to the reader. Or, alternately, it makes too much sense to the reader, and that's when the book hits you hard. You start falling into it. You start siding with people. Then all of a sudden, you realize that you're siding with the wrong people. You start thinking to yourself how could I be agreeing with this asshole?! How can I be laughing! My favorite books are the ones that elicit visceral reactions from me...my chest gets tight, my stomach gets tied in knots, and I can't explain why I'm reacting positively/negatively - I just know that I am. There were so many of those moments in this book, I can't even begin to describe them all... One of the things that impressed me most was the structure of the book - how all at once it seemed both haphazard, and entirely calculated. How each segment could stand alone, but that together they weaved an intricate, thought-provoking story... If you like historical novels, if you like political novels, if you like in-depth characters, if you like humor, if you like to think - I would highly recommend this book to you.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Adina

    From cleaning my TBR project. Not my type of humour, I guess. Tried to read it a few times and I think is time to let go of this classic. It is too long to battle through it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    jill

    Absurdist plays are one act for a reason. Seriously, I know there were points to make about the repetitive ridiculousness of bureaucracy/war/capitalism/life, but over 450 pages of variations on the Catch-22 joke? I did find myself more affected than I would have guessed by some of the deaths, and some of the lines were clearly awesome. Underlined bits: In a world in which success was the only virtue, he had resigned himself to failure.(277, about the Chaplain) Because he needed a friend so desperat Absurdist plays are one act for a reason. Seriously, I know there were points to make about the repetitive ridiculousness of bureaucracy/war/capitalism/life, but over 450 pages of variations on the Catch-22 joke? I did find myself more affected than I would have guessed by some of the deaths, and some of the lines were clearly awesome. Underlined bits: In a world in which success was the only virtue, he had resigned himself to failure.(277, about the Chaplain) Because he needed a friend so desperately, he never found one. (95, about Major Major) Since he had nothing better to do well in, he did well in school. (95, about same) Clevinger was one of those people with lots of intelligence and no brains, and everyone knew it except those who soon found it out. (77) Kraft was a skinny, harmless kid from Pennsylvania who wanted only to be liked, and was destined to be disappointed in even so humble and degrading an ambition. (64) it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything(44) In an airplane there was absolutely no place in the world to go except to another part of the airplane. (42) Actually, there were many officer's clubs that Yossarian had not helped build, but he was proudest of the one on Pianosa. It was a sturdy and complex monument to his powers of determination. Yossarian never went there to help until it was finished; then he went there often, so pleased was he with the large, fine, rambling shingled building. It was truly a splendid structure, and Yossarian throbbed with a mighty sense of accomplishment each time he gazed at it and reflected that none of the work that had gone into it was his. (27) There were terrifying, sudden moments when objects, concepts and even people that the chaplain had lived with almost all his life inexplicably took on an unfamiliar and irregular aspect that he had never seen before and which made them seem totally strange: jamais vu. (214) "You put so much stock in winning wars," the grubby, iniquitous old man scoffed. "The real trick lies in losing wars, in knowing which wars can be lost. Italy has been losing wars for centuries, and just see how splendidly we've done nonetheless."(255) Lots of repetitiveness, even in that short list. Reminds me of Confederacy of Dunces. I feel I was bored and frustrated in a similar way, but probably won't reread either to search for actual parallels beyond obvious "supposedly hilarious classics I outright hated" classification.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brian Yahn

    Hands down, this is the funniest book I've ever read. Some of Heller's sentences are so witty and hilarious that I had to not only laugh out loud, but set the book down after trying to continue on--and laugh out loud some more to fully appreciate all the wit. That being said, the style of humor gets old. After a while, it feels like reading Seinfeld screenplays for hours on end. The crazy ironic predicaments Yosarian, the focal character, finds himself in are pure genius. And some of the subplots Hands down, this is the funniest book I've ever read. Some of Heller's sentences are so witty and hilarious that I had to not only laugh out loud, but set the book down after trying to continue on--and laugh out loud some more to fully appreciate all the wit. That being said, the style of humor gets old. After a while, it feels like reading Seinfeld screenplays for hours on end. The crazy ironic predicaments Yosarian, the focal character, finds himself in are pure genius. And some of the subplots in this novel are better than classics in and of themselves. But, even with that in mind, Catch-22 is incredibly complex. The chapters can at times feel like puzzle pieces that don't connect to anything else. The beginning, although entertaining as hell, is particularly convoluted. For the first ten chapters or so, it feels like character introduction after character introduction--like there's no plot until about 30% of the way through the book... Partly because of that, the story loses it's impact, but more so because it's so damn funny it's hard to take serious. Even though the characters will stay in your mind forever, it's hard to care about them because they're SUCH characters to a point they feel unreal. Am I saying this isn't a masterpiece? No. It's more confusing than a riddle at times, and I'm sure I missed some important things. But even still, there's only maybe two other books I'd rather have read than this.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Juliet

    Maybe there's a reason this book is usually required high school reading; it reads like it was written by a 17-year old. Someone who clearly finds himself to be hilarious, and no one ever had the heart to tell him differently. I never felt for any of the characters, I never laughed, I never cried. In fact, half way through the book I couldn't take it anymore, so I skipped ahead to the last chapter and yet it still made sense. I'm sorry, but if nothing happens in the second half of a book to impac Maybe there's a reason this book is usually required high school reading; it reads like it was written by a 17-year old. Someone who clearly finds himself to be hilarious, and no one ever had the heart to tell him differently. I never felt for any of the characters, I never laughed, I never cried. In fact, half way through the book I couldn't take it anymore, so I skipped ahead to the last chapter and yet it still made sense. I'm sorry, but if nothing happens in the second half of a book to impact the ending, then something is very wrong. I know there are a lot of people out there who think this is one of the classics and that everyone should read it, but it just doesn't hold up to any of the classics I've read thus far. Hell, it doesn't even hold up to Sheep in a Jeep.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    Is it tragic, absurd, or funny? WHO CARES! This beats out almost every book that purports to be funny and I'm not particularly unfamiliar with funny books. Catch-22 grabs you by the skinny hairs and shocks you into the most wonderful and horrible bureaucratic nightmare ever devised. It's not even the clarity that strikes you. It's not the convoluted insanity of a huge cast of truly unforgettable and brilliant characters as they stumble from one mismatched contradiction after another or as they gam Is it tragic, absurd, or funny? WHO CARES! This beats out almost every book that purports to be funny and I'm not particularly unfamiliar with funny books. Catch-22 grabs you by the skinny hairs and shocks you into the most wonderful and horrible bureaucratic nightmare ever devised. It's not even the clarity that strikes you. It's not the convoluted insanity of a huge cast of truly unforgettable and brilliant characters as they stumble from one mismatched contradiction after another or as they game the system to truly amazing proportions. (Milo.) :) It's the timing, the clever buildups, the sheer insanity of one damnable event after another and the realization that the only clear solution, the only way out of this trap, is... No. Wait. That IS the realization. There is no way out. We can put the book down, but the absurdities live on. Not just the absurdities inside the book, but in our own lives as we deal with one more piece of nonsense after another. There is no escape. None. And yet, I kept laughing throughout this novel. This brilliant, brilliant novel. I'm going out on a limb here to say it's in the upper 20 books of all time. Maybe higher. There's absolutely nothing about this book I didn't love. I'm gonna have to read this 4-5 times just for the sheer perverse pleasure of it. Sure, some Italian whore might come at me with a steak knife or other piece of cutlery, but that's the cost of doing business with the military. Totally amazing.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Jones

    A word of warning - the following has more to do with my life than it has to do with the novel Catch-22. If you don't give a fig about me then just skip this. As I mentioned in my note about War with the Newts, 1985 was the worst year of my life. I was a deeply depressed eighteen year old. My parents tried their best to help me. For my mom this meant finding me the best counselling possible, and for my dad this meant showing me that the world itself was crazy and I was quite right to feel aliena A word of warning - the following has more to do with my life than it has to do with the novel Catch-22. If you don't give a fig about me then just skip this. As I mentioned in my note about War with the Newts, 1985 was the worst year of my life. I was a deeply depressed eighteen year old. My parents tried their best to help me. For my mom this meant finding me the best counselling possible, and for my dad this meant showing me that the world itself was crazy and I was quite right to feel alienated from it. He opened up to me in a way he never had before or since. He confided to being depressed himself in his youth, and even having to be hospitalized for his depression. One of the things I remember vividly is my father telling me how when he was my age he read the novel Catch-22, and that it deeply affected him. He talked about how it showed how absurd the world was and how one need to see the humour in things to survive. The truth be told, I can't remember my dad ever mentioning having read another novel. As far as I know, Catch-22 might be the only novel he ever read - or maybe it was the only novel he needed to read. So I read it, and it said everything I needed to hear. It said "you're not crazy, they are". It said "don't buy in to what you are told is right without thinking it through." It said "you are not alone." Catch-22 was one of the books that got me through that terrible year. It convinced me that fiction itself was important, and was a big reason why I changed from a chemistry major to an English major. Thanks dad.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    Catch 22- If you are crazy, insane, then you are grounded from flying anymore combat missions. However, if you apply for this status, then you are deemed to be too rational to be insane, so you are denied the request. That's the gist of the idea, and it is so applicable to so many situations in life that the term has been added into our everyday language. Catch 22 is a satire, but not just any satire; it is the mother of all satires. And it doesn't just poke at the US military, it pokes at every Catch 22- If you are crazy, insane, then you are grounded from flying anymore combat missions. However, if you apply for this status, then you are deemed to be too rational to be insane, so you are denied the request. That's the gist of the idea, and it is so applicable to so many situations in life that the term has been added into our everyday language. Catch 22 is a satire, but not just any satire; it is the mother of all satires. And it doesn't just poke at the US military, it pokes at everyone, everywhere, everyday, at the way we accept the status quo, not questioning the absurdity of some of the rules of society. Capt. John Yossarin takes the moral high ground in his view of life, except maybe for sex; he is somewhat morally deficient when it comes to sex. But he understands the absurdity of Catch22, he just can't convince anyone else. This novel is pure genius, that's not to say perfect. It's a bit too long, and it's overly repetitive in some scenes, but that was Heller's intent, his way of driving home his points. I give it 4.5 stars, 9/10. Almost perfect, just not quite.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” Set during World War II, Catch-22 details the experiences of Captain Yossarian and the other airmen in his camp as they try to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they can return home. I did it! I conquered the book I was dreading most and I made it all the way to the end..... and it actually surprised me? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not head over heels for it, but I took a lot from this one and I’ “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” Set during World War II, Catch-22 details the experiences of Captain Yossarian and the other airmen in his camp as they try to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they can return home. I did it! I conquered the book I was dreading most and I made it all the way to the end..... and it actually surprised me? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not head over heels for it, but I took a lot from this one and I’m very much glad I read it. Catch-22 is often hilarious at times, but beneath all the satire and humour, there is a very bleak and harrowing depiction of war. And towards the end I actually found that I was emotionally attached to some of the characters?! Completely unexpected! I really appreciated some of the techniques that Heller used, one of which was using the current number of missions the military personnel needed to complete in order to go home, as a way of marking exactly where we are in the timeline of events. Another was the use of each chapter to introduce a new character (or a place), but inevitably the story always veered back towards Yossarian and the other core characters. This book is just so CLEVER. All the little contradictions at play and the commentary on how nonsensical war can really be. I really am in awe of how well-constructed and impactful it is. Now why didn’t I give it 5 stars? The repetition, whilst effective at times, also became irritating. Some of the characters were hard to distinguish from others. And some parts just plain bored the life outta me... BUT for me, it was more good than bad and I wouldn’t put anyone off reading it. It might just surprise you too! 3 stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    chucklesthescot

    Worst book I've ever had the misfortune to pick up. My dad warned me that this book was lower on the evolution scale than a wet turd, but I thought I'd try it anyway. I hated this with every fibre in my body and with any luck the book will just crawl away and die. The characters were obnoxious, moronic gits who I hoped would all die at the hands of Jason Vorhees very soon and there was no way I'd ever connect with that idiot who was meant to be our beloved hero. The dialogue was incomprehensible Worst book I've ever had the misfortune to pick up. My dad warned me that this book was lower on the evolution scale than a wet turd, but I thought I'd try it anyway. I hated this with every fibre in my body and with any luck the book will just crawl away and die. The characters were obnoxious, moronic gits who I hoped would all die at the hands of Jason Vorhees very soon and there was no way I'd ever connect with that idiot who was meant to be our beloved hero. The dialogue was incomprehensible crap that was pointless and baffling, and you are left wondering what the hell they are gibbering about and why each scene was even written! What the hell is the purpose in talking complete shite page after page with no meaning or sense to it??? I couldn't see the point in the story at all and it was with a sense of joy that I threw the book into the bag marked 'charity shop'-then I found myself wondering what the poor charity shop had ever done to me to deserve receiving that book...How the hell this ever became a classic is a complete mystery to me. A classic piece of excrement perhaps. I know plenty people love it and I'm happy for you, but it's just not for me I'm afraid!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lio

    Never have I been pulled through the entire spectrum of emotion quite as enjoyably as this, with Heller ingeniously switching tones on a dime with a magician's charm. One moment I was laughing like a fool, and the next I was clenching my jaw with agony at the horrors of the war; thankfully for my taste, Heller leaned more on the comedic/optimistic side. Reading Catch-22 was sort of like watching a brilliantly shining coin flipping through a majestic parabola in slow motion, with one side represe Never have I been pulled through the entire spectrum of emotion quite as enjoyably as this, with Heller ingeniously switching tones on a dime with a magician's charm. One moment I was laughing like a fool, and the next I was clenching my jaw with agony at the horrors of the war; thankfully for my taste, Heller leaned more on the comedic/optimistic side. Reading Catch-22 was sort of like watching a brilliantly shining coin flipping through a majestic parabola in slow motion, with one side representing laugh-out-loud comedy and the other an intense exploration of the terrors of war, making its way to the ground with the weight of someone's fate resting on whichever side it falls on. But this isn't just a thoughtless experiment. Both tones are equally pleasing and useful to the story. Catch-22 definitely wasn't perfect, but it's close. It reminded me of a Confederacy of Dunces because there were segments that I know a lot of people simply won't laugh at if they don't possess a certain sense of humor. And at times it can be a bit much to wrangle, but if you don't allow the insanity and chaos to consume you, you'll enjoy it thoroughly. I feel like Yossarian and Dunbar represented how my friends and I would have handled the situation--with a sane amount of insanity that'd be necessary in the face of such horror and idiocy. Yossarian has to be the best anti-hero I've come across so far, and the way Heller is able to spin illogical conversations, rules, and situations into logical nonsense and back again is fantastic. I'm rambling now, but this is truly laugh out loud great. Among too many to name, Clevinger's interrogation and the moaning at the briefing were comedic gold. But have no doubt that this is a "thinking person's" book as well. It deals with all of the Big questions of life in some manner. There's plenty of psychology to examine, be it bureaucratic, war, anxiety, etc.; and the final scene with Snowden was incredibly touching. I really cannot say enough about this beauty, so trust me and see for yourself. This was my second attempt to read it after ditching it 30 pages in a year ago. And part of that was due to my having read all of the bashing reviews and avoiding it. But like beauty, it's all in the eye of the beholder, so give it a chance. I'm glad I did. And I think Heller's prose is underrated; there were some sentences there that simply knocked me out. I will definitely read Catch-22 again and recommend to friends. This one pulled me in so well that it's one of the rare books that has genuinely made me wish characters were killed off painfully....fucking Milo.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tom Quinn

    This is the best book I've ever read. It keeps me out of trouble. I first read it in high school, senior year AP Lit. We read it alongside Kafka's The Metamorphosis and had engaging discussions about what the hell was going on (in the books and in life itself), culminating in a detailed "compare and contrast" essay. I read it again on my own the next year, my freshman year at college, just for fun. I read it a third time my junior year, and actually recited a section as a dramatic reading in my Oral This is the best book I've ever read. It keeps me out of trouble. I first read it in high school, senior year AP Lit. We read it alongside Kafka's The Metamorphosis and had engaging discussions about what the hell was going on (in the books and in life itself), culminating in a detailed "compare and contrast" essay. I read it again on my own the next year, my freshman year at college, just for fun. I read it a third time my junior year, and actually recited a section as a dramatic reading in my Oral Comm class. I read it again shortly before graduating, then again shortly after landing my first job as an English teacher, then I bought a copy for my classroom library in case some precocious student wanted to pick it up on their own. I read it twice more after moving to a new state, once cover to cover and once again in semi-random excerpts, starting with whatever page I happened to thumb to. I read it as my 52nd book of 2016, the last one to complete my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge. What can I say? More than 60 years after publication and it hasn't lost any of its charm, or its poignancy, or its power. More than any other book, this one has shaped my worldview. I love the wordplay, how perfectly beauracracy is skewered and mocked, how relentlessly logical thinking leads to illogical ends. I love how it makes you stop and think and appreciate, how it reminds us of the fleeting nature of life and of the value of living. I love how it encourages us to question everything: authority, beauracracy, faith, government, society. Just who the hell is in charge, and what the hell are they doing, and where the hell do I fit in? I love the ending, the final masterful decision Yossarian makes to stop being a pawn and make himself a king -- more than that, to leave the game and its arbitrary rules altogether. I love this book. So, I will read it again, and this review will get a little longer, and I will always affirm: This is the best book I have ever read. It keeps me out of trouble.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I realize that CATCH 22 is said to be one of the greatest literary works of the twentieth century, but it was just not my cup of tea. I found it confusing at first and when I did sort out the storyline, had to force myself to stay with the repetition of it all. (Still worth 3 Stars though for its uniqueness.)If you want to read a dark satire about the atrocities of war where a U.S. Army bombardier fights to retain his sanity in a world of contradictions, this 1961 classic is for you.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melania 🍒

    4,15/5 Catch-22 stretches some limitations that are so normative in books ,that I couldn’t help but love it for that. One of the more common critique for this book was the way the timeline was build. That wasn’t really a problem for me, finding the jumps in time relatively easy to follow .More important, I don’t believe that having a perfect time-setting for every scene was of a great importance . The humor was fantastic and my only true problem was that in the middle, the story dragged a bit ;so 4,15/5 Catch-22 stretches some limitations that are so normative in books ,that I couldn’t help but love it for that. One of the more common critique for this book was the way the timeline was build. That wasn’t really a problem for me, finding the jumps in time relatively easy to follow .More important, I don’t believe that having a perfect time-setting for every scene was of a great importance . The humor was fantastic and my only true problem was that in the middle, the story dragged a bit ;some 80 pages may be some extra weight . Other than that, I think the reader needs to dive into this leaving some pre-existing knowledge of how the world works or what’s logical and what’s not, even what’s good and evil , at the door. Working with the book’s new rules of logic , bureaucracy, levels of authority , capitalism , sexuality , will help you understand it and its characters better in what it seems to be a word of absurdity. I will re-read this soon ,since I’m certain that I’ll discover new ideas to think of, new situations to laugh at ,new tragedies to contemplate.

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