Joseph Heller – Catch-22 Audiobooktext
Catch 22, Article 22, is a “bogeyman” that permits an American colonel to force a steadily expanding number of missions on his aircraft unit dependent on a little island in the Mediterranean during World War II. Yossaran, dramatic saint of this vaudeville epic, is resolved to do everything to take care of himself: he thinks about that his lone mission, when he takes off, is to land alive. To reenact frenzy in this incoherent universe appears to him the most ideal approach to reverse discharge. Tsk-tsk, Article 22 states: “Any individual who needs to try not to go to the fire isn’t generally insane.” This first work by Joseph Heller is among the best American post-war books.
Why is a best seller as essential as Catch-22 so little known outside the Anglo-Saxon world? A mystery as thick as the disappearance of Clevinger beyond the clouds…
The first novel of Joseph Heller is the Voyage to the end of the American night. Just as subversive as Céline’s work, it offers an absurdistic denunciation of the war and the army. His hero, Yossarian, a sort of modern anti-Achilles from a tragicomic epic, is part of a squadron of aviators based on the island of Pianosa in the Mediterranean. Hundreds of miles from the front, it is less the terror of enemy strikes than the insanity of internal superiors that raise fears of the death of airmen. Tied to their military camp by an administrative trick, Article 22 which prohibits the repatriation of anyone who finds himself sane enough to pass himself off as crazy in order to avoid combat, the soldiers have no other choice but to carry out more and more numerous missions at the good will of a tyrannical colonel whose sole ambition is to appear on the front page of the Saturday Evening Post. Dialogues and burlesque episodes follow one another, revealing a gallery of characters as endearing as they are colorful with names always evocative: Milo Minderbinder, the “watchman” who for the “interests of the union” goes so far as to bomb his own camps to honor a juicy contract with the enemy, Major Major, major in spite of himself, Nately the “blue” so candidly in love with a prostitute from the Città eterna, or even Lieutenant Scheisskopf, literally “shitty head”… Yossarian , the main protagonist is the only one for whom the etymology remains obscure. Perhaps because he is also the only one to fully recognize the fragility of the name. It is so easy to change it to become a forger, so difficult to get it recognized when the administration misunderstands its identity … And if finally the name like the uniform was only a facade to hide the truth of each one , a heap of viscera, flesh and blood, truth “bursting” in broad daylight only under the blow of the shells? the reader is free to interpret the substitutes for military life thatconstitutes Catch 22, in the form of an immense narrative puzzle. The temporality is as blurred as the spirit of the characters because the author substitutes for linearity a writing of the fragment and of the “déjà vu”. The events come back like leitmotifs from different angles, thus forming an apparently complex or even confusing narrative structure, but ending up being connected piece by piece. It is ultimately humor and derision that prevail over tragedy, finding their strongest expression in the hospital, where soldiers invariably end up after every military disaster. The dialogues in particular, bordering on nonsense, are very successful compositions which display the aberration of war and triumphant patriotism.
The subjective and personal rating: 3.5 / 5. Despite the humor, a little relaxed attention towards the middle of the 638 pages, to then return with exaltation in the last quarter. Beware of getting lost in the abundance of characters! But the experience remains rich and pleasant. Undoubtedly a great novel.
A cult book for a whole generation. Being of a somewhat later generation, I only heard echoes of it, so I dispensed with reading it. What a mistake ! Decades later, and unlike many cult books that age, slowly or suddenly, this one retains all its bite. The absurdity, the humor, the funny, the grotesque are much more than a simple distraction here: over the pages, they create a real system – ruthless – the only one able to report effectively on the war. As such, he is in line with the Journey to the End of the Night, but also the Nazi and the barber ofEdgar Hilsenrath. Only this totally destabilizing distance bias keeps us alert so as not to fall asleep in commemorations and to keep alive this anxiety that no reasonable reason can allay. The dialogues are also stunning, worthy of the Marx Brothers, and make a powerful contribution to this formidable mechanic. Because the reality has been experienced by the author in all its darkness, this shows through with great force – in the farce.hellDante’s, Kafka’s trial and castle, as suggested in the 4th cover with dialogues by the Marx Brothers (mentioned I believe by the translator – excellent by the way and effectively supported by Jean-Paul Gratias, the one among others by James Ellroy). Certain scenes, notably in Rome, are also powerfully reminiscent Kaputt and the Skinof Malaparte’s. A masterpiece outside the stars.
Ferocious and crazy satire, Catch 22 takes the opposite side of the heroic imagery, repeated many times, of the American soldier saving the universe in danger, by handling with virtuosity a burlesque and irreverent humor, corrosive by its absurdity.
Chronicle of a squadron based on a small Italian island, series of portraits and narratives crisscrossing to weave a continuous intrigue, the present novel whose name refers to an eccentric, unstoppable article, asserting that “whoever wants to be exempted to go to the fire is not really crazy ”, is remarkable for its humor and the efficiency with which it demonstrates the fundamental absurdity of the warrior universe. The senior officers are ignorant of themselves, monomaniacs, spending their time shooting each other, litigators, rubbing their hands at the idea of a promotion, even if it means the prior death of the previous incumbent of the post. The troops and the non-commissioned officers are only waiting for one thing, the order of repatriation, which a colonel thirsty for glory at little cost – for him is understood – repels as if at pleasure sine die; the prospect of being heroes being the last of their concerns, the real enemies being those who send them to fire, some undermine the military comradeship, others do not hesitate to make their butter with the supplies, leading the free trade, business freedom, shareholding, sacrosanct pillars of American values, up to these ultimate absurd, irresponsible, inhuman, anti-national consequences.
Catch 22 is an irresistible book of fun on a topic that isn’t. Some scenes are downright hilarious, making you laugh stupidly in public transport. An American best-seller whose title has become an expression designating a Kafkaesque situation by its inextricability.
A zany monument, a fierce denunciation of war and the army, Catch 22 is one of the great novels of American literature. However, in my eyes, it does not take, despite a number of positive points.
First of all, there is the gallery of characters, each more stamped than the other, of Corporal Snark characterized by his culinary pretensions and his taste for the Major Major Major poisoning (respectively rank, first name and last name), who only receives people in their office when they are away. These characters (who perhaps have the fault of being very numerous) are the occasion for some well-felt laughs). Some chapters are downright funny and the humor is indeed particularly scathing about the military and the war.
However, the lack of followed history (the chapters are a succession of scenes with sometimes very confused chronology) made me leave the book after a while. Maybe he didn’t need such a length. It should also be noted that the translation (at least in the edition of the Cahiers Rouges) has a little trouble making all the text original. Obviously the names of characters often require explanation, but some expressions of the jargon of the pilots are made too literally (“milk run”, designating an easy mission, becomes a “raid of milk supply”, and one hesitates a long time before knowing if it’s an extra gag or a real expression)
I loved this novel! from absurd dialogues to wacky scenes, this criticism of the war has often made me burst out laughing. However, the situation is far from funny: second world war, American bombers based on a small island in the Mediterranean follow the missions with more or less luck … Yossarian, the main character tries in vain to pass himself off as mad in order to be repatriated.
I am quite surprised that I was not made to read this book in high school because even if I have often laughed, it is a serious novel which calls for reflection and not only on the subject of the war. ‘it should be one of the books to read once in your life.
I had a little trouble following, at the beginning, because of the large number of characters, but I quickly took my bearings and plunged into the story. I am very attached to the fate of these men, sharing their hopes, their feeling of injustice or their emotion at the loss of one of their own. the book is over six hundred pages long and yet you never get bored. A very good novel that I recommend without hesitation.