Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Catch-22 was published in 1961 and is regarded as one of the greatest novels of the 20th century. The novel has the most 5 star ratings from readers that I have seen on GoodReads to date which is pretty impressive given that generally readers are at least to some degree divided on all novels – naturally as we all have different tastes. This novel, though, has commanded the approval of a great deal of readers and upon reading the description by Grossman on TIME it’s not hard to see why the book may have interested so many:
“Captain John Yossarian is a bomber pilot who’s just trying to make it through WWII alive. But the only excuse the Army will accept for refusing to fly a mission is insanity, and if Yossarian refuses to fly he is, by definition, sane. This is the self-devouring logical worm that lies at the heart of Catch-22, the story of Yossarian, his colleagues—who respond to the horrors of war with a range of seriocomic neuroses and psychoses—and his superiors, who respond to the horrors of war by sending Yossarian on ever more pointless and dangerous missions for the purpose of enhancing their own reputations. Catch-22 is a bitter, anguished joke of a novel that embraces the existential absurdity of war without ever quite succumbing to it.”
The title of the novel is in itself interesting because we are all well aware of catch-22 situations and what could possibly make for better reading. I have noticed this particular excerpt concerning the title across the web and I have to say it’s got me very interested in reading this novel:
“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s 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 crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. (p. 56, ch. 5)” (wikipedia article)
Definitely on my TBR! I’m sure many of you have read this novel, what did you think? Is there anyone out there that didn’t enjoy this novel?