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jbradway

jbradway

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Herbert George Jenkins
Some Do Not...
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Catch-22

Catch-22 - Joseph Heller The first third of this book made me think about what a horrible writer Ayn Rand was. To have one idea, one that was pretty despicable, that could be easily stated in full in about two sentences, and then write scenarios that express that one idea ad nauseum... well, it's nauseating.Heller, too, has a single idea to present here: war, its operations and administration, its causes and goals, is simply absurd. At every level, absurdity. The worst thing that could happen is to be the lone sane person capable of recognizing the absurdity of all of it, to be inescapably dog-paddling in the middle of a pool of absurd.For a long time, while Catch-22 is merely comically absurd, this repetition is suffocating. It bears little resemblance to the world I am familiar with and to the way people behave. I started getting that same feeling I had slogging through Atlas Shrugged. "O, Come On, I get it already. I don't agree with you, but you've made your point!" Eventually, though, Heller begins to hint at events that just are not laughable on any level. As the novel becomes tragically absurd, it gets considerably better.The progression of the novel is pretty masterfully achieved. While I chuckled inwardly a bit in the initial chapters, and lost patience with the repetition for several more, and then slowly was shown this light and a meaning, I have to believe Heller aimed for just my response in each section. I guess I respect the way I was played even if, in the end, I'm not really convinced.