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Catch-22 Paperback – 6 Oct 1994

4.3 out of 5 stars 626 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (6 Oct. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099477319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099477310
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (626 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"It is a rare book in that it has the ability to make you laugh out loud and be deeply moved within a few pages." (Adam Staten British Journal of General Practice)

"Wildly original, brutally gruesome, a dazzling performance that will outrage as many readers as it delights. Vulgarly, bitterly, savagely funny, it will not be forgotten by those who can take it" (New York Times)

"Blessedly, monstrously, bloatedly, cynically funny, and fantastically unique. No one has ever written a book like this" (Financial Times)

"Not only the best novel to come out of the war but the best novel to come out of anywhere in years" (The Nation)

"The greatest satirical work in the English language since EREHWON" (Philip Tonybee Observer)

Book Description

One of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
People I know who have read Catch-22 have:
* Been unable to talk to me about it because they laugh when they're half way through telling me what it is they want to say
* Glorified it as funnier than any book, film, comedy series or stand up performance they've ever seen
* Said that they found it so annoying they had to throw it away
* Asked me what was happening after reading the first 100 pages
* Considered never reading again because they'd decided they'd never read anything better
* Had to leave the tube due to annoying the other passengers by laughing
Why do people love it? Because it is dark, surreal, immoral, subversive and hilarious. It gets away with it because Heller finds the perfect setting (a small island) in the perfect time (World War 2 - a dark, surreal, immoral time). But it all rings true because Heller was a WW2 airman himself.
Why do people hate it? I can only speculate. Maybe it's because there is no traditional plot-weaving. Maybe because the chronology is all over the place. Maybe because the main love-interest is a whore. Maybe because it relies on being absurd.
Its humour lies in words mainly so maybe people who don't find wordplay funny don't find Catch-22 funny.
Everyone should TRY and read this book. Even if you do cast it aside and lament a waste of a week's reading after 200 pages. If you love it you will really love it. I did and it's led to me writing an amazon review - and I've never done that before.
Just don't read the sequel.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book, through Amazon. I imagine it recommended it to me on the basis that I love `Trainspotting,' `A Clockwork Orange,' `The Catcher In The Rye,' `The Bell Jar,' `A Brave New World,' `To Kill A Mocking Bird' and `The Lord Of The Flies.' Through my love of 20th centaury classics, I persuaded myself to buy this book. Soon as I received it I dived right into the book.
The contrast between the breathtaking dialogue, tear jerking theatrics, laugh out loud comedy, un believable consequences, insanities euphoric state and humbling notions of this book simply leave you un able to find any sort of fault in it. A classic war story? Yes, but that's not all. It speak about humanity on a much, broader, wider and grimmer level than any event, war (OR BOOK ITSELF) should or could be able to and it does it fantastically. It's anti-hero climax and ability to laugh at itself is unique to its own. The book itself is like a deep breathe in. It's refreshing, elating and completely and utterly important for all of us to experience. I hate when it comes to this part of a review because you expect me to say something very `cliché' I'm sorely going to have to deprive you from that pleasure as this book is to `thought provoking' (there you go) to allow such horrors. If any one is reading over these reviews wondering if this book is worth their money- My answer is a simple yes. This book is humbling and most importantly extremely entertaining.
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By ZDDQ140770 VINE VOICE on 11 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
Its taken me two attempts to read Catch 22, the first thwarted by the books odd structure based on characters rather than story and the authors initially difficult style. I've stuck with it, read it and am about to re-read it.
Yes this is funny, yes this is a great satire, yes this is deeply surreal, yes it is a direct descendant of Alice in Wonderland, Nineteen Eighty Four and an antecedant of Monty Python, Terry Pratchett and much comedy inbetween. Yes the writing is brilliant and Heller's pitch is artfully sustained across the entire novel. But these are only some of the reasons you should read this.
It is foolish to pigeon-hole this as a war novel- this is about the world, and the way the planet works NOW. Characters such as Milo, the ruthless entrepreneur, Cathcart the idiotically ambitious general, and Yossarian himself ring absolutely true. However, the battle sequences are utterly terrifying as they should be and the sense of loss at the death of a friend is shocking. However it is the sense of the war as huge organism which shuffles people around often without itself knowing why that, although it owes a great deal to Jaroslav Hašek, remains Catch 22's legacy.
This is a book you can live with and can keep you company for life. In dark psychological periods this can remind you that being at odds with an uncaring world is not neccessarily a hopeless thing. When feeling politically helpless, it can can remind you of how absurd, how unreasonable the planet actually is and how the human spirit can conquer.
And ultimately, the book is redemptive, it shows there are ways of escaping, and that the sanest people may well be the craziest (or is that the other way round?).
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By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
Having first read this in the 60s I came to Catch 22 again as it was one of our reading group choices.

I had very positive memories of this book - but 45 years later how would I feel about it? Well, it is brilliant, iconic and groundbreaking. I can understand the impact it made on the literary scene all those years ago. But reading it now I found it - dare I say it - a trifle irritating. The humour and jokiness were just a bit too relentless and the circuitous dialogue a bit too repetitious. In many ways it is very much "of its time" inasmuch as the women are poorly represented.

However Yossarian remains one of the great fictional characters - mad as a hatter but at the same time absolutely sane. Catch 22 must rank among the best ever books about the futility of war. It is weird and wacky and is the ultimate black comedy about war.
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