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Closing Time

(Catch-22 #2)

3.02  ·  Rating details ·  4,728 ratings  ·  257 reviews

A darkly comic and ambitious sequel to the American classic Catch-22.

In Closing Time, Joseph Heller returns to the characters of Catch-22, now coming to the end of their lives and the century, as is the entire generation that fought in World War II: Yossarian and Milo Minderbinder, the chaplain, and such newcomers as little Sammy Singer and giant Lew, all linked, in an

Paperback, 462 pages
Published September 15th 1995 by Simon Schuster (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,728 ratings  ·  257 reviews

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David Beavers
Jan 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Again, the rating system fails us. I decided to post a review for this after seeing I'd given it an arbitrary 3-stars, when in fact I recall being profoundly moved by this book. Isn't profound movement worth 5 stars? Whatever.

A lot of people have read Catch-22, which is deserving of most all the praise it gets. This is, spiritually and literally, the sequel to that book, which is a little weird, not the least because it was published more than 3 decades after. Appropriate to this lapse in time,
Sep 07, 2010 added it
Shelves: fiction, 2010
If you have already read Catch-22, this book will utterly disappoint you. If you haven't, it will not make the slightest bit of sense to you.

That is the closest Closing Time comes to Catch-22.
Thomas Strömquist
DNF @Page 205

With a heavy heart, I'm throwing in the towel over this book. On page 205 the 'Book 6' starts and I really can't tell you what any of the preceding 5 was about (I did have a clue on Book 1, but the subsequent ones have muddied that perception by now). I am a huge fan of Heller's (even if not of Catch-22, of that one I'm just a fan) and it is therefore I'm sad to say that he ended with this confused and inflated mess. Basically I think that all the things I didn't like about Catch-22
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Heller fans.
The comical sarcasm and wit seems to have turned rather sour in Yossarian’s old age, something which Heller is aware of and has a female character state this. But I found it to be true, in youth and being surrounded by lots of people who wanted to kill him, the sarcasm was funny and refreshing but becomes rather tedious in old age. But then he is still immature at heart, so it’s fitting he has not changed I guess. Still chasing women of course no matter his age, which I also found rather ...more
Sep 17, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Yossarian, so he could comment on what Heller did to him.
Shelves: fiction
Catch-22 is probably my favorite book of all time. Some of Heller's other work, also, stands up as classic and important. Closing Time isn't really one of those novels. It's a sequel to Catch-22, and like most sequels, it was probably unnecessary. On one level, I can see what Heller was trying to do. He parallels his own aging with the aging of Yossarian and the heroes of the original. We see them now aged, some with grandchildren. The humor from the original, however, has turned a little more ...more
Simon Mcleish
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in October 1999.

Almost thirty five years after finally finding a publisher for Catch-22, Heller wrote a sequel. Through this period, every book he has produced has suffered from comparison with his first novel. He has never managed to combine the elements of farce and tragedy so well as was made possible by his theme of helplessness in the face of official stupidity.

Many elements from Catch 22 are present, transformed, in Closing Time. In Pianosa, the
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Took me a long time to get through... nowhere near the humor and lightness of Catch-22. I almost feel bad, as though my poor rating is a reflection on the wonderful characters of Catch-22 that held so much life for me, and then let me down... they felt so real, even in this novel where I felt they had all lost their strength of character. I was just expecting something much different. Much more sad, serious, and depressing than Catch-22. Even all the little ironies and jokes came off as serious, ...more
Yair Ben-Zvi
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Epic absurdity and dire pathos. Heller's hysterical and brilliant at the same time. The book is flawed, definitely, though. But it actually feels superior to the original in that it satirizes the end of days of an entire world, its ambition so much farther reaching than its, still great, predeccessor. The world as Heller depicts it is a hollow bacchanal on the cusp of total annihilation and much like kurt vonnegut (love the references ot him in the text) heller prefers to cry, laugh, cry, and ...more
Susan Emmet
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Catch-22 was a seminal book for me decades ago. Interesting to come to Closing Time at nearly the same age as Yossarian.
Although uneven in many aspects, I still found this "closing days" novel sharp in satire and utterly dispiriting because it's so close to truth regarding oligarchy, corrupt business practices, inept government, adulation of soulless celebrity, 1984ish "alternate facts" and desperate searches for some sort of meaningful contact between and among people.
I can't even begin to
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
It certainly did not live up to Catch-22, nevertheless it was an interesting read. I really liked the parralel between Yossarian and Lew. I did feel this book might appeal more to me in about 50 years due to the story mainly revolving arround old age and death.
Frightingly, I found the president, called The Little Prick, vaguelly ressemble our dear Trump, although I hope even he is more competent than the little prick.
Nov 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
I have long been hesitant to read this book. I'd known Catch-22 had a sequel even since I read it during the summer of 2000. Heller mentioned it in the preface to the edition I had, spoiling me (Yossarian lives!) and I even knew that my beloved Chaplain Tappman was in it. But I loved Catch-22 so and was afraid of being disappointed... after all if this book lives up to the prior's standards wouldn't I have heard it acclaimed by others? I decided never to read it. My brother had other ideas ...more
Maarten Wagemakers
The low score is not a reflection of any disappointment I might have for Closing Time not living up to its famed predecessor, Catch-22, which I still regard as one of my favourite books. Instead it really comes down to this one being a bit of a headscratcher, a true mixed bag of different storylines that don't really come together well in the end.

It has a lot things going for it; the sections with 'new' characters Sammy Singer and Lew for example, while not in the trademarked witty Heller-style
Oct 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, CATCH-22 it ain't, friends. HOWEVER it is a decent story, and there are tiny sparks and remnants of CATCH-22's brilliance throughout. Some characters return (Chaplain Tappmann, Milo Minderbender), and some don't (Orr's brief mention was something of a letdown, but I think that was sort of the point: PEOPLE MOVE ON AND ARE NO LONGER A PART OF ONE ANOTHER'S LIVES, SOMETIMES). The new characters that are introduced are perhaps less interesting, but more sympathetic, than most of those found ...more
Rachel Hernandez
Jul 20, 2007 rated it it was ok
You know how good Catch-22 is? How it's so timeless? This book- not so much. Kind of funny, but you've probably seen better satire on South Park.
Bill FromPA
Aug 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: comic-novels, 1990s
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tom Quinn
Catch-22 is my favorite novel of all time, and I approached its sequel with trepidation. Did I dare peek into the future of those beloved characters? Could I disturb the frantic stasis of that perfect ending? Would it upend the understanding I had come to if I checked in on them again?

But life stands still for no one, and Heller's return to the darling veterans of Pianosa is tenderhearted, wistful, and (naturally) a little loony.

Yossarian exists still in a state of paralysis, caught forever in
Jessica Alexander
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gabriel Conroy
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
It lacks EVERYTHING that made Catch 22 such a good book. It was so severe and bland that I put down the book after reading for about 150 pages. It is monotone in that all we see in the sections about Yossarian is a jaded old man who is a shell of his former self; who proves that older doesn't always mean wiser but it sure as hell can mean more banal and uninspired . And while that is definitely not Heller's intent, its what the book feels like to me.
The sections about the other two veterans is
Ali Khan
Aug 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
If you have been as charmed by Joseph Heller's Catch-22 as I have been, I would find it hard to recommend this one to you.
For some odd reason, Joseph Heller has decided to be politically as incorrect as possible and be outspoken about all prejudices and biases he might have in this book. That could be an earnest and innocent effort on his part to come out of the practice as an honest man who is, in the usual parlance of run-of-the-mill book-reviewing business, an iconoclastic author who is not
D. E.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My father could have been any of the characters as he approached the end of his life. He has his favorite authors and JH was one. He thought this was an appropriate novel for the men and women, who could or would, share their war time secrets. After reading the book at his suggestion I could picture any veteran sitting with family or friends telling the replacements stories. Then I pictured the same veterans sitting together the horror of war and how scared to death they were. My Father said, ...more
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Less of a classic than the original Catch-22 and much-more abstract in its topic. The best if one things of the two books as two completely different stories with the same figures in it.

If you ever got close to see R&D tendering in real life you will find extra humour in this as many things happen literally in such project nearly as it is depicted here.

In my opinion, the moral of the story is: just don't go in the way capitalism and individualism go lately - except if we want to see the
Keith Currie
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Why on earth did he write this book? As I read I kept asking myself this question. It became simply a chore to finish it. Ok, there are some good jokes, but it appears to consist of a series of out-takes or updates of Catch 22 (he can be much cruder when writing this than in the original novel), combined with a pretty ridiculous doomsday scenario (a la Dr Strangelove), imagery from Wagner's Parsifal (a la Apocalypse Now), Dante's Inferno, and a lot of in-jokes (a la Slaughterhouse 5 and Kurt ...more
Mar 07, 2017 marked it as shortlist
I bought myself a copy of this yesterday (for $5.99!) to honour the fact that Catch-22 cured me of my 5 month reading hiatus of misery. It matches my Catch-22 cover. Not crazy about the font but I thought I'd ~treat~ myself.
Patrick Book
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Maybe this is heresy, but I think I liked this significantly more than "Catch 22." At the very least I found it far less maddening, which probably means it is not quite as effective, even if it is more enjoyable.
Paul Lima
Jun 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
I loved his "Catch-22" and found this book so disappointing on so many level - characters, plot, satire ... I barely skimmed the last half. Oh well...
Wendy Bauer
Jul 05, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
My first abandoned book. And Catch 22 was (and is) in my Top 10. But I found this unreadable.
Micah Scelsi
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is not something one would read without having read "Catch-22." Having read the original book, this sequel brings back some fond memories. That said, don't expect this book to answer any questions you may have had regarding the original. In fact, I found this book to give a strange glimpse of what one may have expected based on the ending of the original novel.

Again, we find ourselves in a strange world of characters, with Heller's propensity to tell his tales in an order that does
Henry Gasko
Jun 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Die-hard Heller fans
I read Catch-22 a long time ago (didn't we all?) and when I saw this on a used book stand at the market, I naturally picked it up. What a disappointment. I would love to give this book even two stars on the basis of Heller's reputation (I loved "Something Happened" even more than "Catch-22"). But in all honesty I simply can't. This book is soooo... long, so meandering, and so boring that one star it will have to be.

The book was written in the late 80's and really shows its age. There are long
Tim Ganotis
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was difficult to chew through. The nonsensical plot flip flops constantly, as does the narrative voice, switching to first person on a whim. The book reaches a fever-dream chapter of nonsense with most of the book's characters all speaking at the same time without any pause. This reads less like a literary work and more like an old man's ramblings as he tries to recreate the success of a book he wrote 30+ years earlier.

Especially annoying was one of the characters winding up alongside Kurt
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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

Other books in the series

Catch-22 (2 books)
  • Catch-22 (Catch-22, #1)
“For war there is always enough. It's peace that's expensive.” 47 likes
“I will give you intelligence," submitted the Creator, "enough knowledge to destroy everything on earth, but you will have to use it."
"Done!" said our ancestor and that was our Genesis.”
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