Closing Time

by Joseph Heller

Hardcover, 1994

Call number




Simon & Schuster (1994), Edition: Later Printing


Thirty-three years and over ten million copies later...the classic story continues. Yossarian returns -- older, if not wiser -- to face a new foe. An instant classic when published in 1961, Joseph Heller's Catch-22 still ranks among the funniest -- and most serious -- novels ever written about war. Now Heller has dared to write the sequel to his 10-million copy bestseller, using many of Catch-22's characters to deftly satirize the realities and the myths of America in the half century since they fought World War II. In Closing Time, a comic masterpiece in its own right, Heller spears the inflated balloons of our national consciousness -- the absurdity of our politics, the decline of society and our great cities, the greed and hypocrisy of our business and culture -- with the same ferocious humor that he used against the conventional view of warfare. Back again are characters familiar from Catch-22, including Yossarian and Milo Minderbinder, the chaplain, and little Sammy Singer, as they come to the end of their lives and the end of the century -- all linked, this time, in uneasy peace and old age...fighting not the Germans, but The End. Outrageously funny and totally serious, and as brilliant and successful as Catch-22 itself, Closing Time is a fun-house mirror that captures, at once grotesquely and accurately, the truth about ourselves.… (more)

Media reviews

Interview: In 'Sluitingstijd', zoals de Nederlandse vertaling luidt, maakt Heller de balans op van de afgelopen vijftig jaar. De belangrijkste personages uit Catch-22 maken opnieuw hun opwachting zoals Yossarian, de eigenzinnige luchtmachtkanonnier, en Milo Minderbinder, de dubieuze regelneef die
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zijn werkterrein verlegd heeft naar de wapenindustrie. Yossarians commentaar op het gekonkel van de politici en schimpscheuten aan het adres van de president, die het hele boek door consequent wordt aangeduid met 'het lulletje', sluiten direct aan op de satirische toonzetting van Catch-22.
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1 more
Interview: Heeft u met Closing Time een allesomvattend boek willen schrijven, een meesterproef van alle mogelijke genres en stijlen? “Niet van alle mogelijke stijlen, maar wel van de stijlen die mij ter beschikking stonden. Het was een boek waarvan ik het gevoel had: dit moet ik nu schrijven,
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want zoveel jaren resten me niet meer. En gaandeweg kwam ik erachter dat mijn beheersing van de taal nog steeds groeiende is. Dat verbaasde me, want het schrijven zelf wordt er niet makkelijker op met de jaren. The longer we do it, the harder it gets.”
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User reviews

LibraryThing member craigwbrown
I struggled to maintain interest as the context kept switching and the climax is tedious as it is thoroughly disconnected fro the characters struggles and experiences in the book.

There are two distinct stories threaded through the book. The absurdities experienced by the Catch 22 characters and the
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more down to earth experiences of the other WW2 veterans Sam and Lew. Neither of the two stories are particularly bad, but intertwined as they are it falls apart. Either would have been okay as a stand alone story.

Frankly I recommend you to skip this one. There are better things to spend your time on.
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LibraryThing member aethercowboy
They say that every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. Sorry, I couldn't resist that.

Everybody on the face of the planet has heard of Catch-22. But probably about 20% of the people who have read it know of its sequel, Closing Time. Well, now you know. You must "eliminate" one of
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the other 20%.

But you can wait until you're done reading this...

Closing Time is set many years after Catch-22. We meet, once again, the characters that didn't die, like Yossarian, the Chaplain, and everybody's favorite Milo Minderbinder.

Also, we are given semi-autobiographical flashbacks of World War II, through personae recollecting on things that may or may not have actually happened to Heller (including a mention of Kurt Vonnegut saying something particularly witty).

The book is not Catch-22. In fact, no book could ever be the "next Catch-22." Not even this one. So don't bother reading it if you're going to be expecting Catch-23.

But, if you want to read a book that's full of Heller's quirky humor, but a little more tame than its predecessor, then, by all means, get this book and read it.

The plot is hard to describe, short of a lot of reflection on wartime, a biological anomaly that causes a long-suffering poor man to become a person of interest to the U.S. Government, a journey to Hell, and a video game-addicted vice president helping to cause global thermonuclear war.

This book couldn't be as enjoyed without first reading Catch-22. And if you've read Heller's other works and enjoyed them too, then this book is for you.
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LibraryThing member theboylatham
Non-sensical and not funny.
LibraryThing member jpsnow
The sequel to Catch-22 shows the same cast of characters 40 years later. John Yossarian, Lew Rabinowitz, Milo Minderbender, Sam Singer, and the chaplain weave their way through an equally ridiculous plot, ultimately involving an accidental nuclear war during which the select few are taken to an
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underground world composed of replicas of the founders favorite sites, including Coney Island and an ice cream plant. Preceding the retreat is the culmination of the wedding-to-end-all-weddings in the New York City bus station. The end is not nearly as interesting as the interaction and dialogue between the characters, who continue the style from their WWII days into their lives as government contractors, consultants, and small business owners and also recount all of the events that have passed. Most married well, had children -- just like their Dad -- and lost touch with each other until the time of this story in the 1990's. It's somewhat crude at times but definitely worth the read for anyone who previously enjoyed Catch-22.
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LibraryThing member .Monkey.
I was anxious to read this once I learned of its existence, and re-read Catch-22 to familiarize myself once again with those characters that I had formed such a bond with so many years ago.

However, I found myself a bit disappointed in reading this. I don't want to discourage anyone, as I did not
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feel it was a "bad" book at all, and I did want to keep reading and find out what should happen... but it certainly did not entertain me and move me as Catch-22 did.

Here, we visit again with Yossarian, much later in his life. He has been married, had children, and in general just gone on living his kooky life. We also re-visit some of the folks he used to know, but most of the characters are new to us. Some of them likable, some of them not, all of them with their own quirks. Yossarian, of course, is still they key figure in the tale, but I found him a bit more lacking than before. In my eyes, he wasn't nearly as easy to fall "in love" with as he was in Catch-22, not nearly so wild and crazy. The plot and storyline still were, but it just didn't have the same feeling or appeal as the one that came before.

However, while it's not something I think I would pick up again, I am glad to have read it, and learned what happened with more of his life, and some of those I came to love so preciously.

Yossarian lives! ;)
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LibraryThing member kemp
Doesn't come close to the original.
LibraryThing member TobinElliott
Had to give up on this one. Made it to about page 120 and, in the middle of the sentence, just gave up. I simply didn't care, had no idea what was going on, or what this book was about. I'd even tried switching to the audiobook along the way, hoping that would help. It did not.

There's sections
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where all I read was a summary of a character's life, including one that went on and on about banging every girl he ever wanted, and the character came off like that asshole you likely knew in tenth grade who bragged about all the chicks he'd done.

In Catch-22, everything that shouldn't have worked, worked. In this one, nothing worked. The characters are boring, the dialogue is decidedly unfunny, the pointed jabs are dull and miss the mark, and overall, there is no plot to speak of.

I really wanted to like this one, because I loved Catch-22 so much. This is like a déjà vu of Fight Club, having adored the first one and loathed the follow-up.

The only good thing about this novel is that it got me to re-read the first one again and enjoy it all over again.
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