Friday, November 18, 2011

Books read in Chincoteague (1 of 7): Catch-22

s I finally wrapped up the last chapters of Catch-22 and went to enter this triumph in my book log, I discovered that I had begun this one not just months ago, but last November. Horrors, that I had left a book neglected for so very long, thinking that I wasn't in the mood for it, not giving it a chance. Well, to be fair, I probably wasn't in the mood for it, nor would I ever have been, but finally, on the porch swing overlooking the marsh, I at least felt comfortable enough to forge my way through the latter third of Catch-22 without going crazy myself.

Having been told by two reliable sources that this was a hilarious read, full of wit and whimsy, albeit dark whimsy, I figured I ought to at least give it a chance, read the whole damn thing and be able to reflect on it. Having done so, I'm glad I did, but the journey was one of the most depressing I've been on, stretching thin my last shreds of faith in a decent world.

Anyway, horrifyingly obtuse and, yes, hilariously conniving as Colonel Cathcart and Milo are, clearly this is a pretty good book because it did _get to me_. And I did understand Yossarian's plight, the desperation and the confusion, the fear that the world really is nuts, that this must be some deep level of punishing inferno, and the emotional grasping at what few friends could be found in the midst of war.

cavern, catacombs, McMillan, sand filtration, Washington, DC, underground, columns

What spun me for the greatest loop was the ending. I guess I shouldn't say here, (oh, heck: SPOILERS!) but it didn't seem in keeping with the rest of the book. In fact, I was so thrown by the ending that I felt certain I missed an important detail and Yossarian was deep into some fever dream, or was heading off for the promised land. The entire last two chapters or so took a sharp left and nearly tossed this passenger out around the curve. I suppose I'm glad it ended the way it did, with a hope for the future, an open ending and striking out for a new world. All is not lost, life goes on, "persevere."

Not sure the photo is relevant, but since I didn't have anything that really is... this underground catacomb is from an exploration of the old McMillan sand filtration site in NE DC I did with DCUrban Explorers in late October.

This review also appears in part on LibraryThing.

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