Random Notes

Lush Life….by Richard Price

August 21, 2008

First, let’s talk about the cover.  I know it’s hard to see with the small pic below.  A bunch of downtown hipsters crowded, lined up outside some upscale, nicely lit, happening joint in New York City.  Downtown—could be SoHo, Tribeca, Gramercy, Union Square.  But it’s the Lower East Side, another outpost of the gentry, reestablishing a […]


July 24, 2008

All the screwy, bitter black comedy of Catch-22 (I could fill up pages of this blog with a comedic greatest hits) crawls to a climax near the end of the book in The Eternal City episode.   It is a classic night journey, a wandering among horrors, perhaps hallucinatory, perhaps not.  Perceptive early critics called this […]

Chapters and episodes…

Chapters.  Everybody in Catch-22 gets, at least, their own chapter, or two.  It’s one of the reason’s the book was mostly panned early on—“it’s not a novel,” and “it gasps for want of craft and sensibility” (how about sense?), “it’s a collection of anecdotes, a parade of scenes.”  Heller is a “brilliant painter who decides […]

I shouldn’t have seen the movie…

July 23, 2008

I first read Catch-22 back in 1970 or so after the Mike Nichols movie came out—Alan Arkin, Martin Balsam, Jon Voight—studded with stars of the day and a few fine actors to come, like Martin Sheen or Bob Balaban.  Hell, even Art Garfunkel was in it.  The movie mostly flopped.  It was a hodge podge, […]

What’s so funny?

July 22, 2008

Lucky Jim is not a fall-down laugh riot.  But it doesn’t have to be.  It’s a long series of pleasure bursts fueled by screwy situations and a quirky British style that, in 1954 was fresh, cheeky and new.  Maybe now a little threadbare and weedy, not state of the art.  But it’s still a pleasure. […]