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Catch-22 (Catch-22 #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  628,994 Ratings  ·  14,903 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 570 pages
Published 1994 by Vintage UK (first published 1961)
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Eanna Mcgarrigle It's brilliant. It's just so funny... bit hard to get into with the timeline all over the place, but the humour brings it through. The characters are…moreIt's brilliant. It's just so funny... bit hard to get into with the timeline all over the place, but the humour brings it through. The characters are amazing and in general, it is a fantastic book. One of my all-time favourites.(less)
Jean Cole Mundane is not a word that comes to mind. That would imply unimaginative and similar to others in its category. This book is anything but ordinary.…moreMundane is not a word that comes to mind. That would imply unimaginative and similar to others in its category. This book is anything but ordinary. I'm not finished with it so I haven't had a chance to consider my final opinion, but mundane? Absolutely not.(less)
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Chris
May 21, 2007 marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Stephen
Catch-22-cover-1 v2

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 pow
...more
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
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”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
...more
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 ...more
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
...more
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
...more
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.
...more
Steve
Jul 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jason
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-kindle, 2012, reviewed
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
...more
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
...more
Elizabeth
Jun 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Shayantani Das
Aug 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!!!

description

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
...more
Teresa Jusino
Aug 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readandreviewed
"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
...more
Nandakishore Varma
Sep 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, humour
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..."
Brian Yahn
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Orsodimondo
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
E YOSSARIAN PRESE IL FUCILE NEL MATTATOIO N° 6
Romanzo manifesto dell’antimilitarismo, col tempo è diventato l’emblema dell’assurdità e della demenza militare, e il suo titolo, che oltre al comma intende una trappola, un tranello, è diventato uno slogan.
Eccolo qui il famoso comma 22: solo chi è pazzo può chiedere di essere esentato dalle missioni di volo, ma chi chiede di essere esentato dalle missioni di volo non è pazzo.
Che magnifico paradosso! L’affermazione di un principio e l’immediata neg
...more
jill
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to be bored.
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
...more
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 alienat
...more
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
...more
Наталия Янева
„Параграф 22“ е ужасяваща амалгама, люшкаща се между трагичното и смешното, с една-единствена глава, която описва изцяло откровено отблъскващата и неподправена картина на резултатите от безумието, назовано „война“. В останалата си част книгата представлява съшита от различни гледни точки история, на моменти нестройно лъкатушеща между минало и настояще, без особено отличима граница, в която по-скоро иронично са описани стремежите, копнежите, опитите за оцеляване, прекарването на свободното време, ...more
Juliet
Aug 13, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: high schoolers
Shelves: recently-read
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
...more
Leo
Jun 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, to-re-read
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
...more
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.

chucklesthescot
Apr 19, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody on this planet even if I hate their guts
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
...more
Zinta
Oct 28, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For so many of us growing up in the USA, our high school teachers assigned us Joseph Heller's "Catch-22" as required reading, and I was among those assignees. I'm not sure why the requirement, other than perhaps some Catch-22 type of logic that everyone else was assigning it, so there, must be great, must read. I don't particularly remember liking the novel then, perhaps with no more substantial of a reason than -- just not my style. Reading the novel now, in midlife, my opinion (or my literary ...more
Agnieszka

Insanity is contagious.

O man, it’s really crazy. I doubt if I could say anything revealing about Catch 22. It’s been ages I read it for the first time and it was like a breath of fresh air in a stale room. If you grew up in an oppressive country where mediocrity was a virtue and a lot of stuff banned, where many situations felt like infamous Catch 22, when it was safer just not saying about some things reading such absurd and grotesque stories allowed you, paradoxically, keep your common sense
...more
Ray
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a re-read as part of an occasional foray back to favourites from the past.

Bought in 1981 - it predates college, career, my wife, my children. My copy is a little battered, the spine sunburnt from a vivid red to a light pink. The pages are liver spotted and the book has that musty old bookshop smell. It has followed me from my parents home, to college and on to five addresses in Cambridge. I have read this book many times, but had not touched it for several years.

Yossarian is a bombardier
...more
Annie
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is so true, it's ridiculous. This book is so false, it's maddening.
Yossarian, our unlikely hero along with his fellow bedmates in a military hospital and later with his platoon , lives amidst shelling, explosions, flying body parts and one very bonkers mess cook. He's an escapist, a realist, a leader and in cases even a pervert turned wannabe saviour. He is mad and then logical, depraved and then conscientious;but all throughout you shall love him.
Catch22 is ingenious, hilarious; e
...more
Melania 🍒
4,25/5
Catch-22 stretches some limitations that are so normative in books ,that I couldn’t help but to love it. The time frame wasn’t a real problem from my POV. I found the jumps in time relatively easy to follow and, 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, some 100 pages ,may be some extra weight .
Other than that, I think
...more
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1,600 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Joseph Heller was the son of poor Jewish parents from Russia. Even as a child, he loved to write; at the age of eleven, he wrote a story about the Russian invasion of Finland. He sent it to New York Daily News, which rejected it. After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1941, Heller spent the next ye
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More about Joseph Heller

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“He was going to live forever, or die in the attempt.” 3260 likes
“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.” 3009 likes
More quotes…