Friday, August 2, 2013


Despite the irritating and unnecessary degradation of all of its women characters, Catch-22 remains some of the most clever writing I've ever read. The wild, disjointed, hilarious story of Yossarian the womanizing, quick to love, cowardly Captain and his motley Army crew makes even less sense the more you struggle to put it together.

The plot unfolds early-on as a series of vignettes that skip wildly in time and place, so it can be hard to stay interested, which is what my folly was the first time reading it. However, if you focus more on the wit and the writing and forget the notion of reading a straight-forward action sequence, you will have more fun reading than you would expect.

The last hundred or so pages, though- I forgot from my first time reading that they are so gripping, and somewhat horrifying, and completely all-kinds-of-wrong (and, yet, still occasionally hilarious) that they beg to be read straight through, which I recommend. The central theme of war-is-madness is never driven home so clearly than in those last hundred pages, where the storyline finally straightens out but everything else goes topsy-turvy.

Catch-22 will delight, entertain, and definitely tickle the word-lover's fancy (I have an extensive list of words from this novel that I needed to look up); but it will also frustrate and horrify. Definitely original, and definitely worth more than one reading.

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