By Joseph Heller
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Catch-22 by Joseph Heller ranked # 7 on The Modern Library's Top 100 Novels list as selected by its Board Members.
Catch-22, a 1961 novel by American novelist Joseph Heller, is a critique of bureaucracy in general. The phrase "catch-22" has come into common use to mean a cyclical conundrum, or "no-win situation" based on its meaning in the book as described below. A Catch-22 situation is also inherently self-defeating: the very act of performing it prevents it from happening.
The novel follows Captain Yossarian, a fictional World War II US Army Air Corps B-25 bombardier, and a number of other American airmen during World War II. They are based on the island of Pianosa, west of Italy.
The pacing of Catch 22 is frenetic, its tenor is intellectual, and its humor is largely absurdist - but with grisly moments of realism interspersed.
Some trace the influences on Catch-22 to the novel, A Fable, by William Faulkner.
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