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Catch-22 (1961)

by Joseph Heller

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Catch-22 (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
38,88651351 (4.1)968
Set in the closing months of World War II in an American bomber squadron off the coast of Italy, Catch-22 is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never even met keep trying to kill him.
  1. 525
    Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (kiwiflowa, WisePolyphemos)
  2. 186
    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (InvisiblerMan)
  3. 90
    Closing Time by Joseph Heller (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Joseph Heller's sequel to "Catch-22" set in the early 1990s.
  4. 124
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (rosylibrarian)
  5. 136
    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (kittycatpurr)
  6. 71
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (gbill)
  7. 50
    In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War by Tobias Wolff (paulkid)
    paulkid: Me, I think that true stories are the most absurd. For me, "In Pharaoh's Army" may not be as funny as "Catch-22", but it's close and definitely has made me consider my own serious outlook on life a little less, well, seriously. See if you agree.
  8. 62
    The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hašek (roby72)
  9. 51
    Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller by Tracy Daugherty (Imprinted)
    Imprinted: This biography includes a lengthy section on the writing and publishing of Catch-22, the tragicomic 1961 novel that originated in Heller’s experience as a World War II bombardier
  10. 30
    King Rat by James Clavell (John_Vaughan)
  11. 63
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (wvlibrarydude)
    wvlibrarydude: Satire and humor that will split your gut. Read if you want to laugh at humanity.
  12. 30
    The Bamboo Bed by William Eastlake (tootstorm)
    tootstorm: A genuine equal to Catch-22 written for the Vietnam age. Not just a cheap attempt to imitate Heller's talent-slash-luck, Eastlake may well have surpassed his masterpiece with this long-last classic. Read alongside Dispatches to maximize pleasure; then continue your newfound, inevitable addiction to all things Eastlake, because he really is that good--and he really is that inexplicably, undeservably unknown.… (more)
  13. 52
    Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger (girlunderglass)
    girlunderglass: Both stories about war, plus Heller owes much to Salinger in terms of authorial voice (wit, vernacular language, goddamits, sense of humor)
  14. 31
    The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts by Louis De Bernières (Pedrolina)
    Pedrolina: Both books take on the slightly surreal side to war, but with serious consequences nonetheless.
  15. 21
    Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho (chrissybob)
    chrissybob: Similar views on mental health
  16. 10
    And No Birds Sang by Farley Mowat (ShaneTierney)
  17. 11
    War Story by Derek Robinson (Polaris-)
  18. 11
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
  19. 11
    Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (fundevogel)
  20. 00
    The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Satire that includes an anti-war message

(see all 25 recommendations)

1960s (3)
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» See also 968 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 490 (next | show all)
At times it's a serious, and at other times it's just plain slapstick. It reflects both the tragedy and the silliness of war. Set in World War II on a small Italian island called Pianosa, a squadron of American pilots are sent on bombing missions. Yossarian has had enough of the number of missions going up, seeing his friends die, and fears greatly that he might die too. As you learn of his struggle to survive and get home, the other strange characters are highlighted too... Major Major, the Chaplain, his friends, colleagues he'd rather avoid..., Colonels Cathcart and Korn who only care about their careers and want to do anything to get promotions, and Milo - officially a Mess Officer but really at the centre of an international consumer network that only benefits him.

Reading this book now in 2023 when the world has changed so much is interesting - how badly women were treated for instance - most women in this book were willing prostitutes, or simply willing. War hasn't changed much. And Catch-22 just means rules are made by those who have the power to do so to do whatever they can get away with. Definitely no change there! ( )
  LindaLiu | Aug 18, 2023 |
Picked this one up and set it down over and over again. It's hard to get into, then alternates between hilarious and monotonous. Probably just me, and if you try it, be sure to give it an honest try as it does get better, with lots to chew on. It's tough to say anything new about a book this widely read, so I won't even try. ( )
  furicle | Aug 5, 2023 |

I've been struggling with depression lately. The dopamine dump I received from finishing this book was really something.

Catch 22 is absurdist and non-linear to the point of willing convolution; it features an excess of characters, many of which are superfluous. I can understand what people like about it, but to me it's just a very weighty volume of the same point and the same jokes over and over again, too much of which is loosely connected in a way that's as uninteresting as it isn't clever.

The writing is a kind of weird hybrid of Kafka and Vonnegut. I like and appreciate the latter; I dislike, but appreciate the former. Oddly, I don't think I really care for Catch 22 on many levels at all. ( )
  TheScribblingMan | Jul 29, 2023 |
Catch-22 went from funny, entertaining to just a overlong criticism of obeying authority. Yawn.

It's like it had a cool idea about the world, cornered me at a party and then talked my ear off for the next six days.
  8ombon | Jul 19, 2023 |
A 'classic' it may be but for me the inanities were too much. A tiresome read ( )
  Alan301261 | Jul 14, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 490 (next | show all)
"A wild, moving, shocking, hilarious, raging, exhilarating, giant roller-coaster of a book"
added by GYKM | editNew York Herald Tribune
"the best novel to come out in years"
added by GYKM | editThe Nation
"doesn't even seem to be written; instead, it gives the impression of having been shouted onto paper.... what remains is a debris of sour jokes"
added by GYKM | editThe New Yorker
"Catch-22," by Joseph Heller, is not an entirely successful novel. It is not even a good novel by conventional standards. But there can be no doubt that it is the strangest novel yet written about the United States Air Force in World War II. Wildly original, brilliantly comic, brutally gruesome, it is a dazzling performance that will probably outrage nearly as many readers as it delights. In any case, it is one of the most startling first novels of the year and it may make its author famous.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times, Orville Prescott (pay site) (Oct 23, 1961)
A portrait gallery, a collection of anecdotes, some of them wonderful, a parade of scenes, some of them finely assembled, a series of descriptions, yes, but the book is no novel... Its author, Joseph Heller, is like a brilliant painter who decides to throw all the ideas in his sketchbooks onto one canvas, relying on their charm and shock to compensate for the lack of design.

» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Heller, Josephprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, MalcolmIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckley, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ceserani, RemoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danehl, GüntherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danehl,IreneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jęczmyk, LechTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kliphuis, J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lahtela, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Packer, NeilIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanders, Jay O.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szilágyi TiborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed



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There was only one catch... and that was Catch-22.

This island of Pianosa lies in the Mediterranean Sea eight miles south of Elba. It is very small and obviously could not accommodate all of the actions described. Like the setting of this novel, the characters, too, are fictitious.
To Candida Donadio, literary agent, and Robert Gottlieb, editor. Colleagues.
To my mother
and to Shirley
and my children, Erica and Ted
First words
It was love at first sight.
They had not brains enough to be introverted and repressed.
There was only one catch, and that was Catch-22.
The enemy is anybody who’s going to get you killed, no matter which side he’s on.
"Sure, that's what I mean," Doc Daneeka said. "A little grease is what makes this world go round. One hand washes the other. Know what I mean? You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."

Yossarian knew what he meant.

"That's not what I meant," Doc Daneeka said, as Yossarian began scratching his back.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Set in the closing months of World War II in an American bomber squadron off the coast of Italy, Catch-22 is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never even met keep trying to kill him.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
This is the story of Yossarian, a man trying to survive during WW2. Unable to go home because he hasn't completed enough missions he tries to get himself deemed ill which he can't do because he hasn't been sick. 
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