Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
So on my second read, mainly because it's on the reading list, I think I enjoyed it a little better.
It's still confusing, but maybe a little less so because I have some sort of a basis to start with. I do find that Heller executes the little time jumps back and forth very seamlessly, so that you do feel like you're reading one single novel, rather than several pieces stitched together. Heller leads you through a narrative that flows from timeline to timeline, character to character, scene to scene, though gentle jump-off points. Sometimes this seems jarring if you stop reading at a chapter and come into the next chapter that seems to be about something totally different, but if you backtrack a little to the end of the previous chapter, you can kind of see the little clues that the narrator is going to change tack soon. (Not all the time, but quite often) That doesn't mean it isn't disorienting, though--I found myself mostly keeping track of when it was by noting how many missions they're supposed to achieve at that point in time. (Colonel Cathcart keeps raising the number.)
One thing to remember in reading Catch-22 (at least for me) is that it's meant to be satire. Which means everything that happens IS going to be over-the-top (whether funny or stupid or ridiculous) and it's not supposed to be realistic in any sense.
Though I suppose death and dying is realistic.
I wouldn't say I particularly loved or hated this book. I rather enjoyed bits of it. But it's not the kind of story--or the kind of wit--that I particularly like.
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