Just One Catch
A Biography of Joseph Heller
By Tracy Daugherty
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312596859, 560pp.)
Publication Date: August 2, 2011
List Price: $35.00*
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In time for the 50th anniversary of Catch-22, Tracy Daugherty, the critically acclaimed author of Hiding Man (a New Yorker and New York Times Notable book), illuminates his most vital subject yet in this first biography of Joseph Heller. Joseph Heller was a Coney Island kid, the son of Russian immigrants, who went on to great fame and fortune. His most memorable novel took its inspiration from a mission he flew over France in WWII (his plane was filled with so much shrapnel it was a wonder it stayed in the air). Heller wrote seven novels, all of which remain in print. Something Happened and Good as Gold, to name two, are still considered the epitome of satire. His life was filled with women and romantic indiscretions, but he was perhaps more famous for his friendships—he counted Mel Brooks, Zero Mostel, Carl Reiner, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, Mario Puzo, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen, and many others among his confidantes. In 1981 Heller was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a debilitating syndrome that could have cost him his life. Miraculously, he recovered. When he passed away in 1999 from natural causes, he left behind a body of work that continues to sell hundreds of thousands of copies a year.
Just One Catch is the first biography of Yossarian’s creator.
TRACY DAUGHERTY is the author of four novels, four short story collections, and a book of personal essays. His critically acclaimed biography of Donald Barthelme, HIDING MAN was published in 2009. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently, he is Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at Oregon State University.