Catch as Catch Can
The Collected Stories and Other Writings
Publication Date: February 2003
Categories: Short Stories (single author)
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
Starting in 1945, with the publication in "Story" magazine of the short story "I Don't Love You Anymore," Heller began to reach out to an audience of readers damaged and disillusioned by their experiences during World War II. That story dealt with the return home of an American soldier who was having more than a little trouble adjusting.
The stories published following this debut continued to reflect people at odds with the world around them, usually featuring the "little guy," the "underdog," the "average Joe" who beats the odds by surviving in a generally hostile and unwelcoming world.
Written in what is termed the "New York Style," his were stories of urban naturalism, realistic and straightforward, emulating the work of such writers as Irwin Shaw, William Saroyan, John O'Hara, and -- perhaps most especially -- Nelson Algren. For Heller, writing these stories was a part of the learning process, his education on how to get across his own point of view, leading up to the publication of his masterpiece, "Catch-22."
Of the stories in this collection, thirteen were written before 1961, when "Catch-22" was published; of those, five have never before been published. After "Catch-22," Heller forsook the short story form. Though five stories were published after 1961, one -- "World Full of Great Cities" -- was actually written in 1949, three of the other four are spin-offs of "Catch-22," and one is a preview of"Closing Time."
Rounding out this collection of the complete published short writings of Joseph Heller are a short play and several nonfiction pieces, mostly related to "Catch-22."
Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn in 1923. In 1961, he published Catch-22, which became a bestseller and, in 1970, a film. He went on to write such novels as Good as Gold, God Knows, Picture This, Closing Time (the sequel to Catch-22), and Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man. Heller died in December 1999.