BOOKS: Catch-23

Joseph Heller resurrects Yossarian and Minderbinder, three decades after the fiction

The news that Joseph Heller was writing a sequel to Catch-22, some 33 years after the fiction, prompted two reactions. One can be summarized, roughly, as Oh, goody. The other takes a bit longer. How desperate for inspiration and sales must Heller be to hitch a ride on a tour de force postwar American novel, even if he did write the original himself?

$ As it turns out, Closing Time (Simon & Schuster; 464 pages; $24) will disappoint both camps. It is neither a triumphant replay nor a crass commercial scam but rather an alternately appealing and annoying bag of mostly...

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