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Pip in a Poke
4th October 2017, 15:53
I'm only about 5 chapters in and I've already lost track of all the characters. Does it just take a long time to introduce all the characters before the action begins?
It also seems to be completely nonsensical.

I feel like I'm failing becuase it's such an iconic book - I had exactly the same problem with 100 Years of Solitude. These Booker/Pullitzer winner type books maybe full of beautiful prose but they don't half seem short of a decent yarn.

Perhaps I should stick to Mills & Boon.

WTFH
4th October 2017, 16:01
It also seems to be completely nonsensical.


Trump is president of the US. That is completely nonsensical.

Catch 22 is not nonsensical It is a simple story but it’s not one you can skim-read.

NigelJK
4th October 2017, 16:36
There is no action as such. IIRC character development is confined to a few.

NickFitz
4th October 2017, 17:15
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonlinear_narrative

HTH :nerd

zeitghost
4th October 2017, 17:38
IIRC I found it so unbearably tedious that I burned it.:smokin:smokin

quackhandle
4th October 2017, 18:03
Catch 22 goes along with Joyce's Ulysses eg books that I've tried more than once to read but give up after 100 pages or so.

qh

mudskipper
4th October 2017, 18:19
I enjoyed it, although it switches from light to grim in the second half of the book.

WTFH
4th October 2017, 18:57
IIRC I found it so unbearably tedious that I burned it.:smokin:smokin

Are you sure that wasn’t Fahrenheit 451?

b0redom
4th October 2017, 19:07
I also couldn't get into it. The audiobook is much easier to get on with.

BR14
4th October 2017, 19:18
catch 22 was ok, i suppose.
ulysses i chucked
gormenghast i chucked.
but i'm more of a scifi person, anyway

Pip in a Poke
4th October 2017, 19:52
Trump is president of the US. That is completely nonsensical.

Catch 22 is not nonsensical It is a simple story but it’s not one you can skim-read.

Of course it is. What about the chapter where Milo is trading the figs for the half bed sheet? It's intrinsically Quixotic.

Anyhow, my own feeling about the writer's style is that it seems that the words have been shouted onto the page. Not my cup of tea at all but I've just read the chapter about Colonel Schweizkopf, their drill pig in basic training & that was rather amusing so I'll stick with it for now.

malvolio
4th October 2017, 20:08
I trust you've picked up that Yossarian is a sane man in an insane world? The book is written deliberately to reflect that paradox. It's not a story as much as an illustration.

Lambert Simnel
4th October 2017, 20:13
I trust you've picked up that Yossarian is a sane man in an insane world? The book is written deliberately to reflect that paradox. It's not a story as much as an illustration.

Indeed. I'd definitely suggest persevering with it. It's a wonderful book, and fully deserves its plaudits.

BR14
4th October 2017, 20:17
I trust you've picked up that Yossarian is a sane man in an insane world? The book is written deliberately to reflect that paradox. It's not a story as much as an illustration.

you have to be crazy to read it though, but then you have to deny having read it.
:smokin

Hobosapien
5th October 2017, 06:49
Just watch the movie instead. :rolleyes:

zeitghost
5th October 2017, 07:24
Just watch the movie instead. :rolleyes:

And that's mostly crap so you can turn it off & burn the dvd just to celebrate.:smokin


Are you sure that wasn’t Fahrenheit 451?

Nah.

I nuked that from orbit, just to be sure.

Pip in a Poke
5th October 2017, 10:33
Chapter 9 - fiction becomes reality.


Major Major's father...was a long-limbed farmer..... His speciality was alfafa and he made a good living out of not growing any.

The governament paid him well for every bushel of alfafa he did not grow.

The more alfafa he did not grow, the more money the government gave him and he spent every penny he didn't earn on new land to increase the amount of alfafa he did not produce.

It's the EU!

Pip in a Poke
10th October 2017, 09:37
Why does Major —- de Coverley’s name have those dashes?! I noticed this earlier in the novel and was hoping that in the chapter titled with his name I would find the answer, but it was never really given. I don’t know if I am looking into things too much, but little things like this bother me when I read a story.

TheFaQQer
10th October 2017, 09:40
Why does Major —- de Coverley’s name have those dashes?! I noticed this earlier in the novel and was hoping that in the chapter titled with his name I would find the answer, but it was never really given. I don’t know if I am looking into things too much, but little things like this bother me when I read a story.

(See chapter 13 ;))

Or

AP English Literature Wiki / Major ------- de Coverley (http://apenglish12lbs.pbworks.com/w/page/32087307/Major%20-------%20de%20Coverley)

Why the dashes? | Beth Anne Swartzwelder (http://blogs.setonhill.edu/swa2647/2011/03/28/why-the-dashes/)

Pip in a Poke
10th October 2017, 09:44
(See chapter 13 ;))

Or

AP English Literature Wiki / Major ------- de Coverley (http://apenglish12lbs.pbworks.com/w/page/32087307/Major%20-------%20de%20Coverley)

Why the dashes? | Beth Anne Swartzwelder (http://blogs.setonhill.edu/swa2647/2011/03/28/why-the-dashes/)

I like the notion that Heller is using an outdated literary trope in which names were often censored to avoid amiguity with any living person and consequently avoid any charges of libel or defamation.

SpontaneousOrder
10th October 2017, 11:22
https://youtu.be/8LazrN57iZg


I didn't like the book. It's supposed to be a bit absurd and nonsensical because war is (according to the author) absurd and nonsensical. But I just found it dull.

Not much happens - you are supposed to just absorb the individual moments, a bit like the movie 'Lost in translation' - although I liked that movie.

pjclarke
10th October 2017, 11:29
That reminds me, shall I give Atlas Shrugged (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-reviews/R1UEC8S42LLE0H/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0759ZJWRH)another try?

Speaking of dull and turgid, I mean.

Pip in a Poke
10th October 2017, 14:55
That reminds me, shall I give Atlas Shrugged (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-reviews/R1UEC8S42LLE0H/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0759ZJWRH)another try?

Speaking of dull and turgid, I mean.

Isn't that another one of the "greatest novels of the 20th century"?

Why is it that any book with that epithet is such hard work?

I read 100 Years of Solitude & it was like having me teeth pulled. Anyone read any Kafka? Apparently he was the inspiration. Magical realism, or something....

Edit: It appears that Magical Realism is an almost exclusively Latin American movement (Garcia Marquez, Allende etc) that drew from Kafka. Kafka himself predated that movement.

SpontaneousOrder
10th October 2017, 16:17
That reminds me, shall I give Atlas Shrugged (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-reviews/R1UEC8S42LLE0H/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0759ZJWRH)another try?

Speaking of dull and turgid, I mean.

Just pretend you read it like you did the first time.

SpontaneousOrder
10th October 2017, 16:21
Isn't that another one of the "greatest novels of the 20th century"?

Why is it that any book with that epithet is such hard work?

I read 100 Years of Solitude & it was like having me teeth pulled. Anyone read any Kafka? Apparently he was the inspiration. Magical realism, or something....

Edit: It appears that Magical Realism is an almost exclusively Latin American movement (Garcia Marquez, Allende etc) that drew from Kafka. Kafka himself predated that movement.

Atlas Shrugged is an easy read - it's just long. But I liked it, so it being long was good.

TheFaQQer
10th October 2017, 16:30
Anyone read any Kafka?

Yes

NigelJK
11th October 2017, 08:58
Must get around to Catcher in the Rye at some point. Most American classics are dull (read John Irvine tho' as both 'World according to Garp' and 'Hotel New Hampshire' are OK). Try reading some Sci-Fi classics (Time Machine is excellent, War of the worlds likewise). PKD short stories were collected a few years back and are also excellent).

Hobosapien
11th October 2017, 09:04
PKD short stories were collected a few years back and are also excellent).

Despite being a fan of sci-fi (TV and movies rather than books) I'm finding the Electric Dreams TV series interpretations rather dull and coming across as incomplete. Not a patch on the Broken Mirror series. :tongue

Big Blue Plymouth
11th October 2017, 09:09
Must get around to Catcher in the Rye at some point. Most American classics are dull (read John Irvine tho' as both 'World according to Garp' and 'Hotel New Hampshire' are OK). Try reading some Sci-Fi classics (Time Machine is excellent, War of the worlds likewise). PKD short stories were collected a few years back and are also excellent).

Loved Huckleberry Finn. Definitely not dull. Also the Updike Rabbit books are a great read.

Recently read The Great Gatsby & found that incredibly dull. Dull in the sense you know exactly how the story's going to pan out when you're only a few pages in...

pjclarke
11th October 2017, 09:40
Just pretend you read it like you did the first time.

Your memory is playing tricks. Hey, since then I made it through the 60 leaden pages of muddled metaphysics that is 'Galt's Speech' - which I understand is meant to be a pithy encapsulation of Rand's pseudophilosophy,


The only proper purpose of a government is to protect a man's rights which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contract from breach or fraud, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law

Bad luck on the disabled, poor, uneducated or sick. And indeed bad luck on Ms Rand herself, who fell back on the despised state for five figures worth of Medicaid when her lifetime of smoking took its toll.

Meh.

Antman
11th October 2017, 10:06
Agree about some American authors, Garrison keilor lake wobegon days was soooo dull but it was meant to be a comedy,

Confederacy of dunces was good, I like Fitzgerald and also I'd add John dos passos and his América trilogy, very enjoyable

zeitghost
11th October 2017, 11:19
Despite being a fan of sci-fi (TV and movies rather than books) I'm finding the Electric Dreams TV series interpretations rather dull and coming across as incomplete. Not a patch on the Broken Mirror series. :tongue

It must be said that the 4 broadcast so far haven't exactly inspired me much.

The 2nd one on the space ship with the elderly (340 year old) lady searching for earth was the best of a poor bunch.

And they even managed to leave the finding of the coin out of it completely.

Where the feck the swimming in the pool bit came from, feck nose, coz it ain't in the original story.

SpontaneousOrder
13th October 2017, 11:35
Bad luck on the disabled, poor, uneducated or sick.


You're illustrating her point. The role of government is to protect men from predators like yourself - especially predators who disguise their predations as empathy.



And indeed bad luck on Ms Rand herself, who fell back on the despised state for five figures worth of Medicaid when her lifetime of smoking took its toll.

Meh.

You mean she fell back on the social security funds she had been paying into for decades. Not sure what your point is here.

pjclarke
13th October 2017, 12:01
Not sure what your point is here.]

You're not thick so you must be disingenuous. One of your 'socratic' questions perhaps. :laugh

SpontaneousOrder
14th October 2017, 21:31
You're not thick so you must be disingenuous. One of your 'socratic' questions perhaps. :laugh

Lest I see you as disingenuous, why don't you explain the implied fault or hypocrisy in Ayn Rand making use of the health care she had been paying for for decades?

In fact, as she printed this in 1966 (a decade or so before she started collecting), I have no idea of the point you're trying to make:


The same moral principles and considerations apply to the issue of accepting social security, unemployment insurance or other payments of that kind. It is obvious, in such cases, that a man receives his own money which was taken from him by force, directly and specifically, without his consent, against his own choice. Those who advocated such laws are morally guilty, since they assumed the “right” to force employers and unwilling co-workers. But the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration.

pjclarke
15th October 2017, 09:03
It was not hypocritical, just an example of an ideology encountering a real world test and failing.

As I understand it, Rand opposed all forms of collective welfare, up to and including income tax, regarding any payments into social security as coerced theft. Thus she could justify claiming medicare (despite promoting rationality she denied the link between smoking and cancer, smoked all her life and required surgery for lung cancer) as 'restitution'.

Naturally, anybody who supported collective welfare and benefitted from it she described variously as 'moochers', 'leeches' and 'parasites'.

I repeat, meh.

Pip in a Poke
16th October 2017, 10:35
....


....:

Any chance you guys could get a room?

Either that or at least remain on topic.

pjclarke
16th October 2017, 14:19
Apologies.

I would echo those who've urged you to stick with Catch-22. It's a great antiwar novel and satire. It's not a linear timeline; rather it follows the individual narratives of the main characters, jumping around and between. Sometimes he sets up a joke in one chapter and then completes it several sections later, so it is worth perservering. As well as the central paradox of the title, Heller captures the absurdity of conflict (and to some extent bureaucracy and capitalism - the only Germans in the novel are pilots hired by Milo Minderbender to bomb Pianosa - 'What's good for M&M Enterprises is good for the country') by exaggeration and some pithy truisms and reversals of common sense. For example Snowden - whose death is hinted at throughout but not fully described until near the end of the book, despite explaining some of Yossarian's attitude towards the military - is described as an 'old man', and when Yossarian objects the response is 'Well, he died. You don't get any older than that.'.

PS Heller's later work was lacklustre by comparison (though I enjoyed 'God Knows') There's a sequel to Catch-22, Closing Time, but frankly it's a mess. When challenged at the Hay festival with 'Mr Heller, since Catch-22 you haven’t written anything else as good!' Heller's reply was:


“No, you’re right. But then, neither has anyone else"

That's a bit rich, but I think it is perhaps the funniest serious book I've read.

Pip in a Poke
17th October 2017, 08:42
Apologies.

I would echo those who've urged you to stick with Catch-22. It's a great antiwar novel and satire. It's not a linear timeline; rather it follows the individual narratives of the main characters, jumping around and between. Sometimes he sets up a joke in one chapter and then completes it several sections later, so it is worth perservering. As well as the central paradox of the title, Heller captures the absurdity of conflict (and to some extent bureaucracy and capitalism - the only Germans in the novel are pilots hired by Milo Minderbender to bomb Pianosa - 'What's good for M&M Enterprises is good for the country') by exaggeration and some pithy truisms and reversals of common sense. For example Snowden - whose death is hinted at throughout but not fully described until near the end of the book, despite explaining some of Yossarian's attitude towards the military - is described as an 'old man', and when Yossarian objects the response is 'Well, he died. You don't get any older than that.'.

PS Heller's later work was lacklustre by comparison (though I enjoyed 'God Knows') There's a sequel to Catch-22, Closing Time, but frankly it's a mess. When challenged at the Hay festival with 'Mr Heller, since Catch-22 you haven’t written anything else as good!' Heller's reply was:



That's a bit rich, but I think it is perhaps the funniest serious book I've read.

Hmmm....inneresting.

Yes, I'd agree with you on bureaucracy and capitalism.

The death/non death of Doc Daneeka which leaves him without pay and unable to eat because he's officially dead even though he's very much alive and well was a good satire on bureaucracy.

While Milo's purchase of the entire Egyptian cotton harvest and his subsequent inability to shift it until he turned it into chocolate covered cotton candy was very redolent of the EEC butter mountains / milk lakes. Anyone remember Lymeswold cheese?

Pip in a Poke
20th October 2017, 09:07
Well I finished it :smile

Ok in parts, some good humour/satire but not what I'd call a page turner.

I was compelled to keep on until the end because I though there would be some earth shattering revelation which would suddenly put into a different perspective everything the reader has read in the previous 500 pages. But there wasn't. Other than the stuff about Orr.

And as for Catch-22 itself - I think I had a better definition of that term in my head before I read the book than I did afterwards.

I like the definition introduced by Doc Daneeka at the start of the book who uses the term to explain why any pilot requesting mental evaluation for insanity — hoping to be found not sane enough to fly and thereby escape dangerous missions — demonstrates his own sanity in creating the request and thus cannot be declared insane. But, in other invocations of Catch-22 later in the book, it just seems to apply to any inflexible bureaucratic rule - not necessarily the paradoxical situation that most people think of.

pjclarke
20th October 2017, 09:52
“They're trying to kill me," Yossarian told him calmly.
No one's trying to kill you," Clevinger cried.
Then why are they shooting at me?" Yossarian asked.
They're shooting at everyone," Clevinger answered. "They're trying to kill everyone."
And what difference does that make?”

--

“What is a country? A country is a piece of land surrounded on all sides by boundaries, usually unnatural. Englishmen are dying for England, Americans are dying for America, Germans are dying for Germany, Russians are dying for Russia. There are now fifty or sixty countries fighting in this war. Surely so many countries can't all be worth dying for.”

--

“From now on I'm thinking only of me."
Major Danby replied indulgently with a superior smile: "But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way."
"Then," said Yossarian, "I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn't I?”

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and
sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.

"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.”

Then there's the fact that it is Catch 22, implying that there are at least 21 more catches out there ....

Try Slaughterhouse 5, it is another classic antiwar satire/fantasy, but a lot shorter.

WTFH
20th October 2017, 10:04
Then there's the fact that it is Catch 22, implying that there are at least 21 more catches out there ....

Try Slaughterhouse 5, it is another classic antiwar satire/fantasy, but a lot shorter.

But if someone finds Heller confusing, I’m not sure Vonnegut is any easier (certainly his later works required a bit of thinking)

Pip in a Poke
20th October 2017, 10:07
Then there's the fact that it is Catch 22, implying that there are at least 21 more catches out there ....



Heller originally wanted to call the phrase (and hence, the book) by other numbers, but he and his publishers eventually settled on 22. The number has no particular significance; it was chosen more or less for euphony. The title was originally Catch-18, but Heller changed it after the popular Mila 18 was published a short time beforehand (wikipedia)




Try Slaughterhouse 5, it is another classic antiwar satire/fantasy, but a lot shorter.

Yes, Kindle also recommended that alongside Catch-22.

Can't remember what on earth I've read for it to come up with those suggestions :confused:

psychocandy
20th October 2017, 10:45
Tried once too many big words for me.

IR35 Avoider
20th October 2017, 14:12
Some other memorable scenes/lines from the book involved Captain Aardvark. I remember him as having killed Nately's whore, but I found the relevant bit in wikipedia (many of the characters have their own wikipedia entry!) and it wasn't actually her.


Toward the end of the novel, Aarfy rapes and murders a maid, Michaela, while on leave in Rome. This inadvertently forms the emotional center of the novel. When an aghast Yossarian tells him that he will be arrested and possibly executed, Aarfy laughs dismissively that no one would do that to "good old Aarfy":

"But I only raped her once!" he explained.
Yossarian was aghast. "But you killed her, Aarfy! You killed her!"
"Oh, I had to do that after I had raped her," Aarfy replied in his most condescending manner. "I couldn't very well let her go around saying bad things about us, could I?"
"But why did you have to touch her at all, you dumb bastard?" Yossarian shouted. "Why couldn't you get yourself a girl off the street if you wanted one? The city is full of prostitutes."
"Oh, no, not me," Aarfy bragged. "I never paid for it in my life."

His insouciant view is vindicated when the police arriving on the scene show no interest in Aarfy and instead arrest Yossarian for going AWOL.

Also, I can't find the quote, but the scene where Captain Aardvark crawls down the tunnel to the bomb-aimer position at the front of the plane, appearing behind Yossarian and blocking his only exit to a place he can bail out from should the plane be hit during the bombing run. I have this image in my head of Captain Aardvark smoking his pipe and affably asking "what's wrong old man" as Yossarian is hysterically attacking him, trying to drive him back.

That scene really comes across with a nightmare quality, like a dream where you are on the railway tracks, see the train coming, but somehow can't move out the way.

(It was 30 years ago I read it, so may not have the details right.)

Pip in a Poke
20th October 2017, 14:29
Some other memorable scenes/lines from the book involved Captain Aardvark. I remember him as having killed Nately's whore, but I found the relevant bit in wikipedia (many of the characters have their own wikipedia entry!) and it wasn't actually her.



Also, I can't find the quote, but the scene where Captain Aardvark crawls down the tunnel to the bomb-aimer position at the front of the plane, appearing behind Yossarian and blocking his only exit to a place he can bail out from should the plane be hit during the bombing run. I have this image in my head of Captain Aardvark smoking his pipe and affably asking "what's wrong old man" as Yossarian is hysterically attacking him, trying to drive him back.

That scene really comes across with a nightmare quality, like a dream where you are on the railway tracks, see the train coming, but somehow can't move out the way.

(It was 30 years ago I read it, so may not have the details right.)

Yes, the chapter set in Rome towards the end of the book is one of the most bleak.

I often found myself wondering if the writers of BlackAdder had taken any of their inspiration for General Darling from any of the top brass portrayed in Catch-22.

In my mind, reading any dialog involving General Scheisskopf and his obsession with parades or general Peckham and tight bomb formations, I couldn't not hear Stephen Fry's voice.