Hi, Hey, Hello!
And now we reach the book heavy section of the month for which the end is not currently known…I’ve got some catching up to do. The eagle eyed of you may have noticed that this number is not 33 which is where I left these off last year, that is for one reason only. I have jiggled a few posts around to include the books that I read but weren’t ‘official’ onto the list to make them ‘official’, so they have now been assigned numbers. Which means that this is now book 36 and not 33…
The book in question is:
This was my 3rd attempt to read this in 2016 because every time I went to read it I realised I just wasn’t in the mood for satirical. And this book is heavy on the satire. When I was finally in the mood to read it it was great and I really enjoyed it. I get why it has become one of those ‘classic’ books and I was also say that this is a book that you should definitely give a read.
The thing about this book is that it’s actually funny. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion, which sometimes gained me some looks from tired and bleary eyed commuters. It was funny. Even though I knew it was satirical I still didn’t expect it to be as funny as it was. In many ways the comedy was derived from the basic elements of what funny is. The Major Major thing for example, shouldn’t be funny after the first time, heck it shouldn’t even be funny then, but somehow it is.
The way this story is told is basically in fragmented pieces, especially in the beginning chapters. Now I could argue that this reflects the very essence of the book, the fact the majority of them are trying to plead insanity of some description so that they can leave the war that they have no hope of ever leaving. In fact that is what I’m arguing. This is also evidenced by the fact that the narrative is non-chronological, it progresses as if the reader knows what the hell is going on. It drops into scenes and then leaves them only to return later from another character’s perspective and you just have to catch up. Although it was a little confusing at times, I liked the way that the narrative moved. As the story progressed it got darker and darker. It started to get a bit more real. It almost stopped being satirical and became a stark version of events. The final few chapters, were really bleak and awful and they somehow felt like they were both in keeping with the rest of the story and yet also out of place. It then kind of made the somewhat ‘happy’ ending seem a bit odd. Good ultimately, going back to the satirical aspect of the book, but still a tad odd given what had happened just pages before.
Another thing that I liked about the book was the fact that every single character that passed through the book were important to the narrative in some way. As a reader you got to know pretty much all of them which means that there is a high level of investment in them and so when things go wrong with them you kind of care. Obviously you follow Yossarin and the Chaplain a bit more than the others, but there aren’t really any minor characters and to be honest that impresses me. The fact that I gave a shit about almost all of these characters by the end of it was kind of incredible for me, that never happens to me.
You could tell that Heller had an experience with the war as this bled into the way that the story was told and the way that the whole thing seemed very vivid in terms of imagery and the level of knowledge that was interwoven in the narrative. This really added to something the story and overall made it more enjoyable.
Overall, I would recommend it to people, but tack it with a warning that you need to be in the mood for it. And also you need to be prepared to really pay attention, nothing is random and it all comes together. And I liked the ending for the most part, and we all know how complicated my relationship with the endings of books are…
Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow! (Feels a bit weird saying that on Thursday.)
Find me here: