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Joseph Heller Books In Order

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Publication Order of Catch 22 Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Something Happened‎ (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Good as Gold (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
God Knows (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Picture This (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

No Laughing Matter (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Now and Then (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Best American Mystery Stories 2014(2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Joseph Heller was one of the well known novelists from America, who used to write satirical novels, plays, and short stories. His books were mainly based on the literature 7 fiction genre. Author Heller is primarily remembered for his most famous work titled Catch-22. This novel refers to a vicious circle, which involves an absurd and a no-win situation, particularly when the desired outcome is a legal impossibility. Apart from Catch-22, author Heller is also famous for his works revolving around the lives of the middle class people, which are still used as examples of satire in the modern day. Author Heller’s birth took place in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, on May 01, 1923. His Jewish parents, Issac Donald and Lena Heller, were very poor and hailed from Russia. Heller liked to write stories, even in his childhood days. When he entered in his teenage, he penned a story describing the invasion of Russia in Finland. Heller sent this story to the Daily News in New York for publication, but it got rejected. Later, author Heller completed his high school graduation from the Abraham Lincoln School in the year 1941. For the next one year, he worked as an apprentice for a blacksmith. He was also involved in working as a clerk and a messenger boy. At the age of 19 in 1942, author Heller joined the Air Corps division of the United States Army. After 2 years of his training, Heller was sent to Italy, where he participated in a total of sixty combat missions, as a bombardier. Heller always believed that the war was like a fun event and felt that there was a glory in it. He returned home like a hero. People always felt great about him on hearing that he became successful in 60 missions. But, he used to tell them that all those missions were a cake walk for him. On most occasions, there used to be a very little attack from the opposition, enabling the American Army to succeed easily. After the war got over, author Heller enrolled himself at the Southern California University for studying English. He also studied at the New York University on the basis of the G.I. Bill.

In the year 1949, he earned his Master of Arts degree in the subject of English from the Columbia University. Immediately after his graduation, he enrolled in the St Catherine College in the Oxford University in England, in the form of a Fulbright scholar for one year. After coming back, he began teaching at the State University of Pennsylvania and remained there for 2 years until 1952. Author Heller also taught drama and fiction writing at the Yale University. Following this, he worked for a short duration at Time, Inc., which was followed by working as a copywriter at an advertising agency. This job allowed him to work alongside the future author named Mary Higgins Clark. While at home, author Heller continued to write his stories. His writings saw the light of the day for the first time in 1948 when one of his stories was published by The Atlantic. The short story nearly received the Atlantic First award. Author Heller entered into marriage for 2 times in his life. First, he married Shirley Held, with whom he had 2 children named Erica and Zelmo. They remained together between 1945 and 1984 until their divorce. Later, Heller married Valerie Humphries in 1987, who remained his wife until his death in 1999. In the year 1981, author Heller suffered from the Guillain Barre Syndrome, which left him paralyzed temporarily. He was kept bedridden at the Mount Sinao Hospital until his condition improved a little bit that allowed him to get transferred to the Rusk Rehabilitation Institute. Author Heller has given an account of his illness as well as recovery in his autobiography, No Laughing Matter. This book also contains several chapters written by Heller’s friend named Speed Vogel. In the autobiography, author Heller has mainly revealed the companionship and assistance that he received from his friends at the time of illness. Some the prominent friends of Heller include Mario Puzo, George Mandel, Mel Brooks, and Dustin Hoffman. Eventually, author Heller showed a substantial progress in his recovery. Valerie Humphries was a nurse who helped him recover and later got married to him. After his recovery, he visited St. Catherine’s again and got appointed as an Honorary Fellow in 1991. His death occurred on December 12, 1999, due to a heart failure at his house in East Hampton, Long Island.

The most popular novel written by Joseph Heller is entitled ‘Catch-22’. This book was released in 1961 for the first time. Author Heller has set the plot in Pianosa, Italy, at the time of the year 1944, and has introduced the main characters as Chaplain Tappman, Nately, Yossarian, and Milo Minderbinder. The story revolves around Yossarian, who is described as a malingering and incomparable bombardier. He appears to be a hero who invents his schemes endlessly to save himself from the horrible war. However, Yossarian faces a big problem in the form of Colonel Cathcart. After the end of several missions, Colonel Cathcart increases the number of combat missions that the men should fly in order to be able reach the completion of their service. And if Yassarian tries to not participate in the missions, he finds himself trapped by the bureaucratic rule of the ‘Great Loyalty Oath Crusade’. The title of the book is derived from this rule. As per the rule, if a man continuously participates in dangerous missions, then he is considered as insane and if he makes requests to get relieved from such missions, his act of making such requests proves him as sane and ineligible to get relief.

Another popular novel written by Heller is titled as ‘Something Happened’. It was originally released in 1966 and then once again in 1997 by the Simon and Schuster publishers. This book’s plot features the lead character as Bob Slocum. At the beginning of the story, Bob Slocum is described as living the dream of America. He had everything to lead a happy life that included a lovely wife, 3 beautiful children, and a comfortable house. He even had the mistresses that he desired. However, in spite of having all these, he lacked happiness in life. Bob seemed rather discontent. Inexorably, and inevitably, the discontent continued to deteriorate and turned into a desolate until something happened in his life. This novel was satirically written based on the American culture and business life. Author Heller has narrated the story as if the reader hears the patter of the Brain of Bob Slocum, recording the events happening at his office, along with his memories and fantasies that seem to complete his life’s story.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Joseph Heller

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