We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
What a strange feeling it must be to have your first book become a critical and popular success, and even be considered an archetype for the works of Pynchon and Vonnegut, only to have your later works wither in your own shadow. This is the case of Joseph Heller, whose Catch-22, with its fierce rallying against bureaucracy and the absurdity of war, is the definitive contemporary protest novel. With the 1961 success of Catch-22 and its cultural impact always looming large, no matter how good other Heller books such as Something Happened and Good as Gold may be, his writing is always judged against what he wrote in his late 30s. (Heller did finally give in to his own literary heritage and publish the tepidly received sequel to Catch-22 in 1994.) In Now and Then: From Coney Island to Here, Heller recites his own story, and today you can hear him tell it in his own voice at 7 p.m. at the National Press Club Ballroom, 14th & F Sts. NW. $5. Tickets are available only in advance at Olsson’s Books & Records locations. For information call (202) 347-3686. (CP)