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Closing Time: The Sequel to Catch-22 Paperback – September 15, 1995

3.2 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Heller's sequel to his classic first novel, Catch-22, finds Yossarian and company again surrounded by greed, violence and insanity, this time in contemporary New York.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Just like the original Catch-22, this sequel opens with Yossarian in a hospital bed, flirting with the nurses. Now in his seventies, Yossarian is depressed by his perfect health: things can only get worse. He lives alone in a Manhattan apartment not far from most of his old war buddies, including Milo Minderbinder, a defense contractor straight out of Dr. Strangelove. Yossarian and company mourn the decline of New York City and American culture in general and look back longingly to the golden age of prewar Coney Island. The symbolic center of the book is a surreal wedding extravaganza held at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and hosted by Minderbinder, who recruits highly paid actors to portray derelicts and prostitutes. This work attempts the same sort of giddy black humor that made its predecessor a classic, but the underlying mood is somber, almost elegiac. A profoundly disturbing novel, if not quite up to the standard of Catch-22; recommended for all fiction collections.
Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (September 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684804506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684804507
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I read Joseph Heller's CATCH-22 on a rainy day, with nothing to do but gaze at the novels my father had collected over the years. Plunging in to avert crushing boredom, I discovered what all readers before me have, the absolute brilliance of it. CATCH-22 is one of the finest war novels I have read, surpassing even M*A*S*H* and THE SHORT-TIMERS in its audacious mix of humour, horror, and insanity. I also was overwhelmed by the fact that this was Heller's first novel. When I completed it, I rushed to a second-hand bookstore to buy CLOSING TIME. I had become such an instant fan of Heller's work, that it never crossed my mind that some things are better left alone.
Why, oh why, did Heller pen CLOSING TIME? CATCH-22 did not need a continuation. It was lightning in a bottle, a once-in-a-lifetime event that could never be repeated. But Heller, late in his career, decided, for better or for worse, that Yossarian and Milo Minderbinder had lives worth examining yet again.
The plot begins with Yossarian (whom I desperately wanted to meet after finishing CATCH-22) in a hospital, now older, still bitter, but unfortunately, not funny. As the labyrinth storyline progresses, Yossarian bumps up against a plethora of eccentric characters, both old friends and new enemies. There's the Chaplain (who can produce heavy water from his bowels), a president addicted to videogames, a bizarre wedding coordinator with dreams of the ideal society wedding within a decrepit bus station, and Milo, the schemer extrordinaire, now trying to sell invisible bombers to clueless generals. All this, plus a subplot in an underground playworld that may or may not be Hell.
Why doesn't this work? Part of the problem, I believe, is that CATCH-22 had a genuinely insane setting in which to place its insane characters.
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Format: Paperback
Judging from the reviews on this page, it seems to me like most (but not all) of the negative reviews are from people who were merely expecting more Catch-22. Some comment that Closing Time has nothing to do with Catch-22, some that it is merely a poor rehashing of the material from Heller's earlier work, thus implying that the content is effectively similar, albeit inferior. I suppose I'm lucky not to be a Novel Nerd, because it seemed to me that Closing Time does an excellant job of what Heller set out to do: show us the effects of time, age, and society on young people with strong ideals and direction. The meandering reminicences of Yossarian and the others are not shoddily constructed prose, they are the sounds of old men trying to put their past into the context of what their present has become, and vice-versa.
If I could offer any constructive negative critism of this book, it would be that the surreal juxtaposition of concrete life, the military, and Hell seemed somewhat ill-defined, and as a result Heller's conclusion to the novel lacks some of the conviction that it could have had.
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Format: Paperback
It could be argued that in embarking on writing a sequel to "Catch 22" was indeed the ultimate Catch 22 itself. Unless "Closing Time" proved to be an absolute classic, a wonderful funny-sad commentry on contemporary life, then it would pale in comparison with it's predesessor. Make it too similar, of course, and the author is open to charges that he is merely retreading old ground. Heller waited 25 years to write this sequel, and sets some of the characters introduced in "Catch 22" in modern life. More than forty years after the War, Yossarian remains as abrasive and dissatisfied as ever in his old age. Milo remains the entrepreneur of his earlier life. Both these characters have made successes of themselves in the business world. "Closing Time" attachs the absurdities of the contemporary business world in the same way as "Catch 22" attachs the absurdities and attrocities of war. Milo's new idea is to sell a stealth bomber type aircraft to the American military, and he employs Yossarian and his son, Michael, to help him sell the plane to the military. Yossarian has the ear of the "little p***k", the American President, who is obsessed with video games. Yossarian also has the plan of holding a massively expensive and gaudy wedding ceremony in a bus shelter. When exploring this possibility he finds a network of tunnels beneath the ground, where officials are safe from nuclear war, and dead people live with their wealth.The characters of Yossarian and Milo remain as good points in this book. Yossarian has the feel of a "dirty old man" in some of his sexual flirtings, and has certainly grown old disgracefully. He does however show a devotion to his son Michael.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Truly brilliant- Joseph Heller revives some of the characters from his classic from 1961 to illustrate some very specific points about how the U.S. federal government has a habit of never learning from its own mistakes, specifically with regard to extremely reckless overspending on defense. In "Closing Time," Joseph Heller brings in characters from other authors too, and he also successfully manages to weave in themes from Wagner operas. Only a handful of authors in the entire world would likely be able to weave these elements together gracefully, if most people tried to write a book which borrows characters from some of their contemporaries plus characters from 19th century operas, it would likely deteriorate into a complete disaster notably quickly, but Joseph Heller manages to do so VERY gracefully here. I want to say more here but I really can't without revealing too much of the plot to the story here...
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