Someone had mentioned to me that Catch-22 is a funny book, but didn’t care to mention funny in what way. I picked it up expecting a light and humorous read to go along with the heaviness of the other book that I’ve been reading — Crime and Punishment.
After a few chapters, I realized that I don’t have a proper adjective in my vocabulary to describe what Catch-22 is. Here’s a short example, containing the description of a wounded soldier in a hospital:
The soldier in white was encased from head to toe in plaster and gauze.
Sewn into the bandages over the insides of both elbows were zippered lips through which he was fed clear fluid from a clean jar. A silent zinc pipe rose from the cement on his groin and was coupled to a slim rubber hose that carried waste from his kidneys and dripped it efficiently into a clear, stoppered jar on the floor. When the jar on the floor was full, the jar feeding his elbow was empty, and the two were simply switched quickly so that the stuff could drip back into him.
Okay… and this is narrated as if it’s the most natural thing — hidden so well among other mundane descriptions that it jumps the reader and takes him by surprise.
I’ll put Catch-22 aside for the future since I feel it deserves more attention than I’m willing to give right now.
Meanwhile, I decided to google “Is Catch-22 funny?” just in case. And google answered with an excerpt from the New York Times review:
“Catch-22” is a funny book — vulgarly, bitterly, savagely funny. Its humor, I think, is essentially masculine. Few women are likely to enjoy it. And perhaps “enjoy” is not quite the right word for anyone’s reaction to Mr Heller’s imaginative inventions.
Looks like an open challenge to female readers! 😉