#3: Catch-22 (1961), by Joseph Heller

Yossarian…strode out of the apartment, cursing Catch-22 vehemently as he descended the stairs, even though he knew there was no such thing. Catch-22 did not exist, he was positive of that, but it made no difference. What did matter was that everyone thought it existed, and that was much worse.

——

“You have a morbid aversion to dying. You probably resent the fact that you’re at war and might get your head blown off any second.”
“I more than resent it, sir. I’m absolutely incensed.”
“You have deep-seated survival anxieties. And you don’t like bigots, bullies, snobs or hypocrites. Subconsciously there are many people you hate.”
“Consciously, sir, consciously,” Yossarian corrected in an effort to help. “I hate them consciously.”


Catch-22 is a difficult novel to develop a relationship with. The chronology jumps back and forth, there is little semblance of a plot, and dozens of characters are presented as if you already know who they are. With no easy entry point, it’s tempting to put this novel down after a few chapters and read something else (I did, twice.)  But I’m glad I stayed with it; once I buckled down and committed myself to forge ahead, the novel soon opened up to me.

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