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14 November 2011

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Well crafted, Phil, a clever analogy of events in PNG.
I agree with you that Catch 22 was one of the great novels of modern times.

One has to admire writers like Heller who can manage to input irony into what must have been a most terrible experience endured.

It is said that Heller used his story to placate his demons eventuating his recall as a cathartic journey to eventual healing.

I think from memory that Heller wrote that story from personal experiences during WW2 as a pilot with the US Air Force and after publishing did not write another novel for 28 years...

I particularly liked the episode of one of his characters - Major Major who through a typographical error was promoted from a mere private with surname major to that of Major Major.

Obviously drawn from the Peter Principle whereby persons are promoted to their level of incompetence and Major Major, unable to handle any responsibility, using the ploy of having a sign posted on his door reading: “When I am in I am out and when I am out I am in”.

A novelist using similar irony and black humour is Joseph Wambaugh who wrote The Choir Boys, drawing his story lines from similar dark experiences when he worked as a policeman in New York.

I particularly liked the clever way he crafted the general story lines by interlinking separate stories of characters he had met in the past with biting one line summary grabs at the end of each chapter interweaving same into the overall plot.

This was, very simply, that at the end of each week a group of policemen would attend choir practice which although intended to be a debrief always degenerated into a general drunken melee in the local park.

A similar debriefing was enjoyed yesterday at the biannual Kiaps reunion.

You missed a great day Phil; I am still recovering from overdoing the joviality of the occasion.

Fighting words Phil.

I'm liking it!

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