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Title: Catch-22
Author: Joseph Heller

Catch-22 was the major breakthrough for the American writer Joseph Heller. It was publicised in 1961 and later a movie was made on it. Catch-22 describes the horrors of a war, of being in the frontline and how bureaucracy and politics can take away the spirit of any man.

Joseph Heller was born 1923 as the son of a Russian-Jewish immigrant. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York. During World War II he served in the airforce, and his memories from the war became the background for his first and most well known novel, Catch.22. He continued to write novels and he kept examine and parodies different life forms and languages ex. The political and scientific. Heller’s works are characterised by a satirical sense of the absurd, speaking against the military-industrial complex and those organised institutions that seem to manipulate people’s lives.

When you enter the action, you don’t understand a thing. But in about 25 pages you understand that that’s the point. A book about nothing should really be the name of this book, because in it’s 450 pages, no goal, nor development whatsoever is reached. The main character is an “insane” man by the name Yossarian. You get to know that he has once been the best pilot of the 27th airforce headquarters, but as we get to know him, he lies in a military-hospital with a pretended illness. The book is about Yossarian tries to get out of the war and about many other people’s tries too. But Yossarian has almost given up, and his main objective has instead become to stay alive, which he best does in the hospital.

“In order to get out of the war, you have to be insane. If you are insane, you don’t want to get out of the war. So even if you are insane, and asks to get out, you become sane at the moment you ask”

This book describes a war, without one war scene. It shows strange out community really is. Catch-22 fitted perfectly in the time when it was released, but still is a book worth reading. It doesn’t just take up war issues, but also issues that you can find meaningful in the everyday life. The people in the book often have a strange moral and after some time reading you feel kind of dizzy, because it’s so hard to understand their acting. Throughout the whole book is a strange undertone of humour, which even if you don’t like it, is the only thing that makes the book readable. Without it, it would be just too horrible to read.

Catch-22 is a difficult book to read. Heller can jump away from what he was telling, by telling a different story, as an introduction of a person, for over 10 pages. This makes it hard to read, since the border between the story, and an introduction often is very hard to recognise. When you get a hang of it though, you can find it rather amusing.
You never get a grip of how long time has past. Perhaps only a week you think, and still you sometimes feel that the book has told the story of a lifetime.

The physical environment in the book is that of a military camp, but sometimes Heller takes you to big cities and there describes the aftermath of war, and the way soldiers live when they get away from the war for a day or two. The mental environment is the interesting part. How is it possible to become the way people in the book are? To be able to unde...

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Inactive member [2000-08-15]   Catch-22
Mimers Brunn [Online]. [2019-01-18]

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