- Hardcover: 312 pages
- Publisher: M. Evans and Company; 1st edition (November 1, 1973)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0871311186
- ISBN-13: 978-0871311184
- Package Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,184,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hanging on Hardcover – November 1, 1973
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Copyright 1973, published by a small press publisher M. Evans and Company, First edition with full 1-9 line. There was never a second printing or a book club printing. Original price was $6.95.
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In 1973, Koontz wrote HANGING ON, a military comedy in the spirit of books like M*A*S*H and Catch-22. The book flopped, and has been out of print for the last thirty or so years. There is little evidence that Koontz or his publisher will ever re-issue the title. This is unfortunate, because it's a very fine book.
HANGING ON is about a US military unit stationed behind enemy lines in France, during World War II. Essentially, the unit's job is pointless: to keep a bridge open that serves little practical utility. The Germans keep bombing the bridge, and the unit keeps on rebuilding it. In the meantime, the unit tries its best to avoid being discovered by German patrols.
The major point of this book is the humor. All the members of the unit are eccentric, mainly as a way of "hanging on" to their sanity in the face of violence. This leads to a lot of joking, chicanery and casual sex -- with a particular emphasis on the sex. This is easily the raunchiest book that Koontz has written, which may surprise some of his long-term fans. Think of the original movie version of M*A*S*H, and that's the type of graphic humor you will often find in this book.
Overall, HANGING ON is a fine effort and perhaps the best of Koontz's 1970s novels. However, it is nothing like his more famous work -- it is not structured as a thriller or horror story (although suspenseful things do happen). Still, it's a fun read for people interested in a screwball story with a lot of off-color humor. I really enjoyed it.
in any case, it was a fun book a la catch-22 but truly funnier in my own opinion. if you find it snatch it up and get ready for a koontz you never dreamed existed. don't overthink it, just go along for the ride.