novel by the American author Joseph Heller
. He began writing it in 1953, and the novel was first published in 1961. It is set during World War II
in 1943 and is frequently cited as one of the great literary works of the twentieth century. It has a distinctive non-chronological style where events are described from different characters' points of view and out of sequence so that the time line develops along with the plot.
The novel follows Yossarian
, a U.S.
"There's no patriotism, that's what it is. And no matriotism, either." Chapter 1, page 9
"Dunbar was lying motionless on his back again with his eyes staring up at the ceiling like a doll's. He was working hard at increasing his life span. He did it by cultivating boredom." Chapter 1, page 9
"As always occurred when he quarreled over principles in which he believed passionately, he would end up gasping furiously for air and blinking back bitter tears of conviction. There were many principles in which Clevinger believed passionately. He was crazy." Chapter 2, page 26. ('Vintage' edition Chapter 2, pg. 19)
"an unreasonable belief that everybody around him was crazy, a homicidal impulse to machine-gun strangers, retrospective falsification, an unfounded suspicion that people hated him and were conspiring to kill him." Chapter 2, pg. 29 ('Vintage' edition - Chapter 2, pg 23)
"He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt, and his only mission each time he went up was to come down alive." Chapter 3, pg. 29
"You're inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age?" Chapter 4, pg. 39
"History did not demand Yossarian's premature demise, justice could be satisfied without it, progress did not hinge upon it, victory did not depend on it. That men would die was a matter of necessity; which men would die, though, was a matter of circumstance, and Yossarian was willing to be the victim of anything but circumstance. But that was war." Chapter 8, pg. 75