Catch-22 (Catch-22, #1)by Joseph Heller Published 04 Sep 2004
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|Publisher||Simon & Schuster|
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The novel is set during World War II, from 1942 to 1944. It mainly follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. Most of the events in the book occur while the fictional 256th Squadron is based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy. The novel looks into the experiences of Yossarian and the other airmen in the camp, who attempt to maintain their sanity while fulfilling their service requirements so that they may return home.
"Catch-22 (Catch-22, #1)" Reviews
Catch-22 reminds me a lot of those comedy/tragedy masks—you know the ones that are supposed to represent like, fine theater or something? Not that I’m comparing Catch-22 to some great Italian opera. All I’m saying is that the book oscillates cleverly between the absurdly humorous and the grievingly tragic.
So it starts off on the hilarious side. Here’s a bit that had me giggling aloud (rather embarrassingly, I might add, as I was surrounded by other people at the time):
The colonel dwelt in a vortex of specialists who were still specializing in trying to determine what was troubling him. They hurled lights in his eyes to see if he could see, rammed needles into nerves to hear if he could feel.Ha! That one still gets me. Unfortunately, the laugh-out-loudness has caused some people to think I’m crazy, but I suppose that’s the price one must pay for decent literature.
And then, like great Italian opera (really, I hadn’t meant to expound the parallel this far, but look—its happening!), you start itching for the intermission because your legs are falling asleep and you really need to take a leak. This is the point at which the humor starts to wear thin and seemingly unrelated events are haphazardly thrown around and you’re wondering if it’s going anywhere or if it’s just one absurd situation after another.
But finally, you settle in for Act III and discover that the seemingly unrelated events are actually part of an ingenious narrative structure that Heller has planned out from the beginning. Jokes that were set up earlier finally deliver their punch lines. Only it turns out the jokes aren’t funny anymore. In many ways, Heller’s writing is like that of Kurt Vonnegut, with similar subject matter wrapped up in threads of absurdity. But while Vonnegut speaks of the horrors of war, Heller’s issues are more with the horrors of the War Department: it is the red tape of bureaucracy that gets his goat. Well, and war, too, but mostly it’s the bureaucracy.
Anyway, this book is smart and well written. It would be difficult for me to come up with the name of another author who could write such perfectly contradictory sentences while still making so much sense.
I’m not sure if it’s a talent or an affliction, but I’ve been blessed or cursed with a penchant for taking someone else’s creative work and extrapolating it to skewed extremes. That explains my yet-to-be-published collection of fan fiction, unauthorized sequels, and twists in perspective. I first discovered this talent/affliction as a boy when I imagined a fourth little pig who leveraged himself to the hilt, built a luxury skyscraper, and, with YUGE block letters at its base, labelled it Pig Tower. The Big Bad Wolf, as a professional courtesy (and quite possibly with the promise of kickbacks), agreed to a huff and puff waiver.
As a teen I wrote a follow-up to Kurt Vonnegut’s classic that I called Slaughterhouse-Six. It was set in a mirror image world where war was devastating the planet Tralfamadore. Fortunately, the protagonist, Libby Mirglip, survived the bombs and lived a varied if not full life after the conflict. She was aided by alien visitors from planet Earth who showed her, through their own less enlightened example, what not to do.
I’d prefer not to go into the details of one my more recent works, Fifty-two Shades of Grey. If it’s ever published, it’ll be under an assumed name, or maybe names – I’m toying with the idea of S. and M. John. BTW, I saw that some other joker stole my basic idea and technically beat me to the preferred number fifty-one.
This brings us to my latest, Catch-23. Since I’ve already done an absurdist post-war account of tragedy/comedy with Slaughterhouse-Six, I wanted to steer clear of such a heavy/humorous theme this time. Instead, Catch-23 is the story of a local seafood restaurant on 23 S. Washington St. in Naperton, Illinois. They became famous for their Shrimp Yossarian. Then a new executive chef upped the number of times customers would fly through the doors by offering Skate Wing Schnitzel a la Scheisskopf, Major Major Mahi Mahi, and Stuffed Oysters Orr-style. Naperton’s whore gave the story some much needed spice. (As with any fan fiction, references will only be appreciated by those who know the original.)
Oh, and hey, there is a catch here. Against your better judgment, you continued reading each ridiculous example in this exercise of “one more." Making it this far means you’ve read “one more” paragraph all the way to the end. The catch is that you must be crazy enough to perceive this as a payoff.
I have had Catch-22 on my bookshelf for years. It was one of those novels that I've said, "oh I'll get around to that in 2012". It didn't happen. "Maybe 2013". Nope. And so on until just a couple of days ago. I've got to stop putting books off.
Rarely has a piece of literature ticked so many of my boxes. Satire, farce, gallows humour, irreverence, it's as if this book were written entirely for me. I loved every word on every page of this book. I cannot find a single miniscule fault anywhere within the narrative or the prose or the characterisation or the flow or the humour. I can say without any hesitation that Catch-22 is a perfect novel. It was love at first sight.
The following is an example of how many conversations in this book took place.
Jen: I didn't like this book.
Nigel: Why didn't you like the book?
Jen: I did like the book.
Nigel: You just said you didn't like the book.
Jen: No I didn't.
Nigel: You're lying.
Jen: I don't believe in lying.
Nigel: So you never lie?
Jen: Oh yes, I lie all the time.
Nigel: You just said you don't believe in it.
Jen: I don't believe in it, Jen said as she ate a chocolate covered cotton ball.
Nigel: Well I liked the book.
Jen: Fabulous! I liked it too!
Nigel: What did you like about it?
Jen: Oh, I hated it.
I think Heller was showing how war is chaotic by not writing in a chronological order. You really have no idea in what order events are taking place. I think he was showing how war is ridiculous by writing conversations like the one above. I'm not sure if any of his goals were to annoy the living hell out of his readers, but he annoyed me. 460 pages of absurdness is too much for me. Most of the characters were very one-dimensional. I could only distinguish between people by their names. Most of the good guys all had the same personalities and the bad guys all had the same personalities except one character ate peanut brittle and another put crab apples in his cheeks. Other than that - same personalities. Maybe his goal was only to distinguish between the good, everyday guys and the evil, power-hungry men in charge. If so, he succeeded. I just wasn't thrilled after page 150 or so. There is some funny stuff in there. The chocolate-covered cotton balls will crack me up for life. There's some really sad stuff too. It's weird because every time someone died, I cared, even though I knew nothing about them, except what they ate or who their favorite whore was. I'm not sure how Heller pulled that off. Anyway, I would recommend it. It's just that the ridiculousness of it gets to the point where it's just, well, ridiculous, and beyond my personal tolerance level. I still appreciated it though.
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Catch-22 is a satirical novel by American author Joseph Heller. He began writing it in 1953; the novel was first published in 1961. Often cited as one of the most significant novels of the twentieth century, it uses a distinctive non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, describing events from the points of view of different characters. The separate storylines are out of sequence so the timeline develops along with the plot.
عنوانها: کلک مرغابی؛ تبصره 22؛ نویسنده: جوزف هلر؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سیزدهم ماه آگوست سال 2001 میلادی
عنوان: کلک مرغابی؛ نویسنده: جوزف هلر؛ مترجم: کامبیز پاک فر؛ تهران، مرجان، 1378؛ دو جلد در یک مجلد؛ در 806 ص؛ شابک: 9649049304؛ موضوع: جنگ جهانی دوم قرن 20 م
عنوان: تبصره 22؛ نویسنده: جوزف هلر؛ مترجم: حسن افشار؛ تهران، ماهی، 1393؛ در 552 ص؛ شابک: 9789642092000؛
عنوان: تبصره 22؛ نویسنده: جوزف هلر؛ مترجم: احسان نوروزی؛ تهران، چشمه، 1394؛ در 518 ص؛ شابک: 9786002295613؛
اونا میخوان منو بکشن.؛
هیچکس نمیخواد تو رو بکشه.؛
پس چرا به طرفم تیراندازی میکنن؟
اونا میخوان همه رو بکشن.؛
خب چه فرقی میکنه؟
پیدا کردن تکه ای که بتواند گوشه ای از منطق رمان «تبصره 22» باشد، کار ناممکن یا دشواری ست، شاید گفتگوی بالا نزدیکترین بخش داستان به این انتظار باشد. یوسارین، افسر نیروی هوایی آمریکا، تصمیم گرفته، دیگر جانش را به خطر نیندازد، و پرواز نکند، چون احساس میکند ضدهواییهای دشمن قصد دارند او را بکشند. اما همکارش اینگونه نمیاندیشد، چون باور دارد سربازان دشمن قصد دارند همه را بکشند. این درست همانجایی است که کشمکش اصلی داستان «تبصره 22» شکل میگیرد. یوسارین دیگر به جنگ به چشم یک رخداد اجتماعی نگاه نمیکند، بلکه جنگ برای او مسئله ای کاملا فردی است.؛ طبعا اگر همه آدمهای متخاصم در دو طرف یک جنگ، میتوانستند مثل یوسارین جنگ را فردی ببینند، هیچ جنگی آنقدرها پا نمیگرفت؛ و به کشتار نمیانجامید. ذات جنگ اساسا بر ایده ی گذشتن از فرد، و قرار گرفتن در خدمت یک اجتماع، یا یک ایده و باور، استوار است. ترفند اصلی جوزف هلر، نگارنده، برای زیر پرسش بردن برهان جنگ، همان بازگشت به فردیت کسانی است، که قرار است سربازان جنگ باشند. مسئله باورهای فردی، در برابر اجتماع جنگجو، نقطه مرکزی رمان هلر است، که در همه جای رمان جاری شده، و به فرم آن نیز نشت کرده است. فرمی که منتقدان بسیاری آن نگارش را نپسندیده اند. اما این نیز هست که رمان «تبصره ی 22» اثر جوزف هلر را، به همراه «برهنه ها و مرده ها» اثر: نورمن میلر، و «سلاخخانه ی شماره پنج» اثر: کورت ونه گات؛ یکی از سه اثر ادبیات ضدجنگ آمریکا نوشته اند. نویسندگان هر سه رمان، به نوعی در رخدادهای جنگ جهانگیر دوم شرکت داشته و جنگ را از نزدیک تجربه کرده اند. جوزف هِلـِر که فرزند خانواده ای مهاجر، از یهودیان روس تبار بود، در سال 1942 میلادی در سن نوزده سالگی به ارتش آمریکا پیوست، و در سالهای پایانی جنگ، به عنوان بمب انداز هواپیماهای بی.52 در شصت ماموریت جنگی شرکت کرد (در هواپیماهای آن دوره: خلبانی، ناوبری و مسیریابی، و هدفیابی برای انداختن بمب؛ هر یک مسئول جداگانه داشت)؛ ا. شربیانی
This book was utterly misrepresented to me before I read it. For some reason I'd always thought it had been published the same year as Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow and was considered as representing the other fork of post World War II American literature apart from Pynchon's--this the conventional, plot-driven one catering to stupid people. Some professor or some didact must have told me that, enrroenously as it turns out, once. Catch 22 predates the Pynchon masterpeice by 15 years, and is in style an apt precursor. Its subject is war and its hilarity. In this it shares much with Pynchon as well as Vonnegut. Since James Heller is not as obviously over-bursting with brilliance and random facts about particle physics as Pynchon, nor is he as willing to pander to mainstream tastes (I think) as Vonnegut, Catch 22 is a tought read at the begiining. There is a lot of irony and detachment, but with not as much ease as Vonnegut and with less of the awe inspired by Pynchon. IN fact, I almost gave up, and had started this book (450 pages) several times before and actually had given up. The real story of Catch 22 doesn't start coming together well past page 200, but when it does, it really does. There is a brilliant portrait of an entrepreneurial mess chef who is the representation of evil, evil being capitalism and the lack of loyalty to any moral cause. He creates a vast international smuggling network whose intricacies are at once ridicuously amusing and yet, it seems, accurately and minutely portrayed--it's as if Heller were a partcile physicist translating science for us when he lays out how that "syndicate" works. Most importantly, the book affected me because of what it had to say about war, and then how it was able to communicate that through the heartbreaking travails of one officer--Yossarian--who is willing to act out human desires in the face of a dominant culture turned insanse and subhuman, caricatured. His wartime airforce base is a perfect illustration of RD Laing's common-sense supposition, developed not long after the period of this novel, that insanity is a sane response to an insane world. Catch 22 is clever and tight and thematic--"Catch 22" refers to how things that seem irrational can be made to seem rational through tautology. This is a cleverly embroidered theme throught the entire novel. But in the end these are not what make the book great. It's the emotion at the heart of the book, Yossarian's desire to live and be fleshly human, and his unwillingness to retreat into the bastions of irony and obtuseness so attractive to eberyone around him. This is what makes Catch 22 heartbreaking and poignant, tear0jerkin even.