Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Is it tragic, absurd, or funny?
This beats out almost every book that purports to be funny, I'm not particularly unfamiliar with funny books.
Catch-22 grabs you by the skinny hairs and shocks you into the most wonderful and horrible bureaucratic nightmare ever devised. It's not even the clarity that strikes you. It's not the convoluted insanity of a huge cast of truly unforgettable and brilliant characters as they stumble from one mismatched contradiction after another or as they game the system to truly amazing proportions. (Milo.) :)
It's the timing, the clever buildups, the sheer insanity of one damnable event after another and the realization that the only clear solution, the only way out of this trap, is...
No. Wait. That IS the realization. There is no way out.
We can put the book down, but the absurdities live on. Not just the absurdities inside the book, but in our own lives as we deal with one more piece of nonsense after another. There is no escape. None.
And yet, I kept laughing throughout this novel. This brilliant, brilliant novel.
I'm going out on a limb here to say it's in the upper 20 books of all time. Maybe higher. There's absolutely nothing about this book I didn't love. I'm gonna have to read this 4-5 times just for the sheer perverse pleasure of it.
Sure, some Italian whore might come at me with a steak knife or other piece of cutlery, but that's the cost of doing business with the military.
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