The sequence is non linear, the various events make sense when seen as a whole. Stick with it, its one of the funniest, darkest, cynical and most honest books ever written.
The main appeal is the humour. If it's not tickling you, it will be a hard read. There are at least two jokes on the first page alone.
I loved the movie, but I've struggled with everything Heller's written. The themes are always interesting but it's like I'm reading a bad translation.
I love that book. While the story is a series of funny anecdotes in partially non chronical order, the underlying theme is the contradicting patterns. Personally I recognize some of these patterns from places I have worked. Modern politics and the influence it has on media through the use of spin doctors also share some common things with the book in my humble opinion.
For instance: some years ago the police in an European country was replacing their cruisers with a new model and make. The K9 units complained that the station wagon model was to small to fit the dogs cages. The response from the Department of Justice was: Why don't you get smaller dogs?
The same country also wanted to save money on asphalt by constructing narrower roads...
Finally I have to add that I have done military service. Even today the armed forces are full of the buracracy and contradicting patterns mentioned in Catch 22.
> I've tried twice now getting into Catch 22 but it seems like there's no real story pulling me in. [...] What's the appeal, and what am I missing?
'Lack of plot' is a common complaint about literary satire, along with 'thin/flat characters'.
What you're missing is simply that you're reading it with the expectations of a conventional plot-driven (or character-driven) novel, when it's an entirely difference species of prose fiction.
> Rather it seems to be a conglomeration of anecdotes told by soliders on the base.
Even beyond satire, episodic fiction isn't 'inferior'; it's just a different way of organising a fictional narrative. You may be unused to it, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it, the same way that short stories aren't inferior to novels.
Set your expectations about what novels 'should be' aside and just read it for what it is.
It clikcs about two thirds of the way through but stick with it for Major Major Major and Italy is a greater country than America.
It's a book that's more about conveying a mood than telling a story. Its about how sane people trapped in an insane situation have to act insane or break, and how after a while it gets harder and harder to tell if you're still just acting.
The humour and the satire. Personally, I was hooked from the first page.
You really have read through the book to get into it, but you have to be into the book in order to read through it.
It is tragi-comic masterpiece on the crazy, wasteful, and criminal arbitrariness--and wasteful, arbitrary and criminal craziness--of war.
Think *Apocalypse Now* with a laugh track.
I had a hard time keeping up with all the characters the first time I read it.
At fitst I wasn't enjoying nor understanding the plot and that the main character was being funny. But once it clicked and I read it keeping in mind it was a comedy, I really started to enjoy it.
The mains appeals are the humour and the absurdism. It took me 200 or so pages to get into it, and if you're stopping near the beginning it will seem like it doesn't have much of a plot, but one does become apparent later.
I'd say its worth pushing through to the half way point. If it doesn't start to suddenly make sense and become enjoyable then its really won't for you.
The story is jarringly nonlinear, so don't worry about trying to keep track of character development, or the order in which things occur. The characters' actions are what keeps me going... equal parts tragic and hilarious. My favorites are Yossarian, Aarfy, Milo, Major Major, and Cathcart. Just take it scene by scene, and appreciate it for what is going on in that specific moment. The rest will come together later. It's meant to be confusing, disorienting, frustrating, nonsensical, tragic, repetitive, and representative of some cosmic and existential insignificance... just like WWII.
I read about a fifth into the book and put it down. It was humorous, but it didn't pull me in like other books. I felt no urge to keep reading. I do plan on starting it again one day since it is pretty well liked and it wasn't a bad read.
Candide, on the other hand, was entertaining and humorous enough that I kept wanting to read more.
Yeah, it's kind of a weird read. People talk about how funny it is but it isn't really that funny to me. I read it and liked it eventually but it does seem overrated.
Well, it makes about as much sense as war does...
Tried a few times to read this book. Once I managed to get just over halfway.
It’s just not for me. Like I get it - it’s zany and funny. I just don’t appreciate it, so I’m not going to waste my time with it.
well it's not really meant to be a page turner with a driving plot that you "just can't put down". It's meant to be meandering and confusing but when you finish it the story is extremely satisfying. meanwhile you have to focus on the minutia of it, bask in the humor and language. like its sounds like you're missing the tree's for the forest, rather by trying to find a driving plot and overall story structure too early you're missing he visceral fun of the first half to two thirds of the book.
Yeah, I tried and couldn't do it. My problem was the nine *zillion* characters, all alike
You can only love it or hate it. I am from middle Europe and for us it’s brutal satire basic element to make a life bearable here. We are stuck between fucking Germans and Russians now, before we hade Turks, Mongols, Romans...