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Catch-22 01 Edition, Kindle Edition
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'It is the Rock and Roll of novels' Norman Mailer
Discover Joseph Heller's hilarious and tragic satire on military madness, and the tale of one man's efforts to survive it.
It's the closing months of World War II and Yossarian has never been closer to death. Stationed in an American bomber squadron off the coast of Italy, each flight mission introduces him to thousands of people determined to kill him.
But the enemy above is not Yossarian's problem - it is his own army intent on keeping him airborne, and the maddening 'Catch-22' that allows for no possibility of escape.
'The greatest satirical work in the English language' Observer
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Yossarian looked at him soberly and tried another approach. 'Is Orr crazy?'
'He sure is,' Doc Daneeka said.
'Can you ground him?'
'I sure can. But first he has to ask me to. That's part of the rule.'
'Then why doesn't he ask you to?'
'Because he's crazy,' Doc Daneeka said. 'He has to be crazy to keep flying combat missions after all the close calls he's had. Sure I can ground Orr. But first he has to ask me to.'
'That's all he has to do to be grounded?'
'That's all. Let him ask me.'
'And then you can ground him?' Yossarian asked.
'No, then I can't ground him.'
'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.'--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From the Back Cover
"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.
"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B0050OMJIW
- Publisher : Vintage Digital; 1st edition (8 June 2011)
- Language : English
- File size : 2897 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 519 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0099552183
- Best Sellers Rank: 8,150 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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But it also had a huge impact on the world.
If you were to join the absurdist comedy dots between Spike Milligan and Monty Python, the major dot you’d pass through would be Catch 22.
As satire it was ground-breaking in its juxtaposition of blandness and shock. Eg the playing on the raft leading to the McWatt/Kid Sampson incident. MASH, the Sopranos, and Breaking Bad were all influenced by this device, just to name a few.
It also broke ground with its elliptical story-lines, each circling in deeper and darker as they randomly re-cross the reader’s line of sight. The final visit to the Snowden storyline almost sparks guilt in the reader, from having found humour in early passes.
Also original was Heller’s love of circular paradoxical logic. Milo Minderbinder bought tomatoes for 7 cents so he could sell them for 5 cents and everyone profits - foreseeing Amazon who deliberately made a loss for 20 years so they could become the biggest company in the world.
It was also prescient in it’s suggestion that business over-rides war (MM Enterprises bombing allied airfields to make a profit). Now we have countries declaring not war on other nations but business. China with its “belts and roads” policies, and its Wahwei 5G internet control are examples of such.
Throw in Major Major Major Major who will only see visitors when he’s not there, and even Luciana the prostitute who only sleeps with Yossarian because he doesn’t want to.
But back to Orr/Yossarian.
Yossarian represents the sane everyman who is trying to resolve a seemingly resolveable problem through correct channels, only to continually be frustrated by a definitive lack of procedural sanity.
Orr realises that no battle is won on the arena of consciousness in which it is being fought and that individual responsibility for one’s salvation is the only answer. So he rehearses crashing his plane until he perfects the skill then crash/manages his way to neutral Sweden - after earlier paying a prostitute to hit him in the head so he could maximise his time in the hospital tent.
Orr and Yossarian share ownership of a common problem, but Orr’s ownership empowers him, eliminates bitterness, and enables happiness (cheerfully fishing while in the rescue rafts), while Yossarian frets, fumes and becomes pathologically frustrated.
But Orr also realises his truths can’t be taught. The student needs to be ready to learn. So he teases Yossarian with riddles. Why crabapples? Better than horse chestnuts. Why anything? Not anything, crabapples. Etc etc.
In the final line Yossarian does finally learn. The penny drops and this grimly hilarious book ends on an up-tick as Yossarian becomes optimistic for the first and only time - even avoiding a final murder attempt by Nately’s whore.
To confirm Orr’s central importance in the novel, Heller chooses Orr to be the singular character nominated by Doc Daneeka to explain the meaning of Catch 22. Orr is mad enough to be excused from service but his craziness precludes him from requesting it.
But Orr is not crazy. He’s the opposite. And that is Catch-22’s greatest paradox in a book overflowing with them.
Orr is the only one sane enough to know that the key to life is self-reliance, and not impotent expectation that definitively flawed systems and disinterested other parties are motivated and invested enough to rescue you.
Catch 22 happens to us daily basis. It is like a core part of our lives.
I recommend the novel. I know some won't really like it. But for those who will. They will love it so much
Top reviews from other countries
Other than the chapters, Major Major and Mrs Daneeka, the book is a disjointed and rambling and at times it just poorly written, not making any sense. I found the Characters two-dimensional stereotypes and all the Women are portrayed as Whores. Please don’t get me started on the historical inaccuracies. I know it isn’t a factual book, and when it was written in the late fifties and published in early sixties it was a ground-breaking work, especially so soon after WWII. I also understand that this most likely inspiration for the likes of M*A*S*H and Dr Strangelove with their own take on the ridiculousness of War.
The biggest thing is the lack of humour, on so many occasions the not funny joke was repeated again and again just ensure it was never funny in the first place. Maybe it is just a book of it’s time… but that time has passed.
If the story has a lead character as such, then here this is Yossarian who along with the rest of his squadron are based on the island of Pianosa. Please be aware that those who may want to visit the island will get a surprise, as in this book it appears much larger than in reality it is. With a whole host of unforgettable characters such as Major Major, Chief White Halfoat, Milo, and numerous others, including one name which translated from the German isn’t very flattering, the names themselves can be humorous. All based on this small Italian island between 1942-1944 so the bomber crews keep finding that their mission runs keep being increased, despite the fact that they had been originally promised after a certain number they would be sent back to the US.
For the likes of Yossarian, he has had enough and keeps going in and out of the base hospital, whilst someone like Milo who has really grasped the black market and capitalism, sees the war as something to make him lots of money, even if that means contracting himself out to the enemy for missions. Along with his transporting of goods, so he is welcome anywhere, even if it means the Luftwaffe flying goods onto the island.
Full of incident so this is really a book made up of short showpieces and in some ways can be looked at as a series of sketches with continuation provided to make this into a novel. On original publication this was blasted by many critics, but at least when it came out in paperback it started selling really well, so much so that of course catch 22 is a phrase that most of us have used on occasion, and even those who have never read the book know what it means. With literary allusions and references to the likes of Dostoevsky, Dickens and Kafka for a start, this is not only just a satire, but a great comedy, albeit quite dark in places. Taking in the horrors of war along with the absurdisms in life that we all experience, especially when it comes to bureaucracy and rules and regulations, so this has a resonance with us all and will remain unforgettable and a must read for future generations.