Catch-22: A Novel

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Oct 5, 1999 - Fiction - 415 pages
119 Reviews
Catch-22 is one of this century's greatest works of American literature. First published m 1961, Joseph Heller's profound and compelling novel has appeared on nearly every list of must read fiction. It is a classic in every sense of the word.

Catch-22 took the war novel genre to a new level, shocking us with its clever and disturbing style. Set in a World War II American bomber squadron off the coast of Italy, Catch-22 is the story of John Yossarian, who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. Yossarian is also trying to decode the meaning of Catch-22, a mysterious regulation that proves that insane people are really the sanest, while the supposedly sensible people are the true madmen. And this novel is full of madmen -- Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly m order to finish their tour; Milo Minderbinder, a dedicated entrepreneur who bombs his own airfield when the Germans offer him an extra 6 percent; Major Major Major, whose tragedy in life is that he resembles Henry Fonda; and Major -- de Coverley, whose face is so forbidding no one has dared ask his name.

No novel before or since has matched Catch-22's intensity and brilliance in depicting the brutal insanity of war. Heller satirizes military bureaucracy with bitter, stinging humor, all the while telling the darkly comic story of Yossarian, a bombardier who refuses to die.

Nearly forty years later, Yossarian lives.

  

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Just felt a little odious about that ending. - Goodreads
The pace is manic but also slow when it needs to be. - Goodreads
This is because very little of the novel is plot-based. - Goodreads

Review: Catch-22 (Catch-22 #1)

User Review  - Jason - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Thomas_Cannon - LibraryThing

My favorite book and author of all time. Read full review

All 11 reviews »

Selected pages

Contents

I
11
II
17
III
25
IV
31
V
40
VI
47
VII
57
VIII
65
XXIII
213
XXIV
226
XXV
236
XXVI
251
XXVII
268
XXVIII
274
XXIX
285
XXX
296

IX
72
X
85
XI
105
XII
111
XIII
117
XIV
129
XV
137
XVI
141
XVII
148
XVIII
159
XIX
169
XX
179
XXI
189
XXII
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XXXI
307
XXXII
316
XXXIII
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XXXIV
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XXXV
333
XXXVI
340
XXXVII
348
XXXVIII
360
XXXIX
362
XL
373
XLI
387
XLII
395
XLIII
405
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Joseph Heller was born on May 1, 1923, in Brooklyn, New York. He began writing during his student days at New York University and Columbia University. In 1947 and 1948, he published short stories in Esquire and The Atlantic Monthly, and then spent a year abroad as a Fulbright Scholar. When he returned, he taught composition at Pennsylvania State University, and wrote advertising and promotional copy at Time, Look, and McCall's.

At the time, Heller was also working on his first novel, Catch-18. New World Writing published the first chapter in 1955; three years later Heller had a contract to publish the novel with Simon & Schuster. To avoid confusion with Leon Uris's 1961 novel Mila 18, Catch-18 was changed to Catch-22 before its publication in the same year.

Catch-22 is the story of John Yossarian, a bombardier trying to stay alive in the face of war's hypocrisy and insanity (Heller himself was an Army Air Force bombardier during World War II). Upon publication, Catch-22, in Heller's words, "won no prizes and was not on any bestselier list." But it was a very popular novel, and the 1970 film enhanced the book's success.

In addition to stage plays, screenplays, and short stories, Heller continued to write explosive arid satiric novels, including the long-awaited Something Happened (1974), Good as Gold(1979), God Knows (1984), Picture This (1988), and Catch-22's sequel, Closing Time (1994). He also collaborated with Speed Vogel on No Laughing Matter (1986), and wrote a memoir, Now and Then (1998).

Heller's literary achievements span nearly fifty years, and Catch-22 is now considered one of the twentieth century's best novels.

He is married and lives in East Hampton, New York.