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Catch-22 (1961)

by Joseph Heller

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Catch-22 (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
36,66049048 (4.1)941
It is set in the closing months of World War II, in an American bomber squadron on a small island off Italy. Its hero is a bombardier named Yossarian, who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he hasn't even met keep trying to kill him. (He has decided to live forever even if he has to die in the attempt.)… (more)
  1. 505
    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. 61
    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. 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.
  10. 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)
  11. 30
    King Rat by James Clavell (John_Vaughan)
  12. 41
    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
  13. 20
    The Bamboo Bed by William Eastlake (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: 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)
  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. 10
    And No Birds Sang by Farley Mowat (ShaneTierney)
  16. 21
    Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho (chrissybob)
    chrissybob: Similar views on mental health
  17. 11
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
  18. 00
    The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Satire that includes an anti-war message
  19. 11
    Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (fundevogel)
  20. 11
    War Story by Derek Robinson (Polaris-)

(see all 23 recommendations)

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» See also 941 mentions

English (468)  Swedish (4)  Spanish (3)  Norwegian (2)  Danish (2)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  Russian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Slovak (1)  All languages (489)
Showing 1-5 of 468 (next | show all)
Must read, then read again, then read again. With a difference of five years between each rereading. Ironic, hilarious, heartbreaking, profound. A book that creates new ideas, grasps reality wryly and teaches you something new with each rereading. ( )
  SwatiRavi | Jun 27, 2022 |
Fyndin og háðsk ádeila á ómannúðlegar og ópersónulegar stofnanir á borð við Bandaríkjaher í síðri heimsstyrjöldinni. En um leið er hún ljúf og hrífandi auk þess sem hún sýnir hvernig nakinn óhugnaður stríðsins getur snert einstakalingana. Mæli eindregið með henni. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
I read this many years ago at a time when the future seemed most uncertain and the present largely useless. I could call "Catch-22" a lot of good things, but most importantly: it was uplifting when I needed something to be. I've re-read it since and I'd do it again.

Tied with "The Grapes of Wrath" for Best Ending Ever.

( )
  jdegagne | Apr 23, 2022 |
Not perfect, and yet undeniably great. Achingly funny and heartbreaking by turns this is an amazing work of art. ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
FAR too much random raunchiness, but a useful look into post-modern and existentialist critique of how bureaucracy can tie people up in knots in every aspect of their lives (no matter what position they hold in a military) ( )
  mozviking | Mar 9, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 468 (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 (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Heller, Josephprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, MalcolmIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckley, ChristopherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ceserani, RemoTranslatorsecondary 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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Epigraph
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.
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

It is set in the closing months of World War II, in an American bomber squadron on a small island off Italy. Its hero is a bombardier named Yossarian, who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he hasn't even met keep trying to kill him. (He has decided to live forever even if he has to die in the attempt.)

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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