Yossarian Slept Here: When Joseph Heller Was Dad, the Apthorp Was Home, and Life Was a Catch-22

Erica Heller. Simon & Schuster, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9768-4
In addition to his novels, short stories, plays, and, screenplays, Joseph Heller (1923–1999) wrote two memoirs. Now it's his daughter's turn, looking back at her youth when her father found fame. She begins in 1945 when her parents met in the Catskills ("the Jewish Alps"), married, and moved into a grand Upper West Side apartment building, the Apthorp, Erica's evocative memory dwells on her hot butterscotch sundaes among the ladies who lunched in the splendiferous Schrafft's. She recalls 1953, when her father began writing Catch-22, and how publication nine years later changed their lives. Among many homey revelations are Heller's terrible taste in clothes (his wife dressed him), and his comments on Erica's novel Splinters ("Not as bad as I expected"). With wit punctuating lambent nostalgia, she brings her father to life in an animated, absorbing fashion, documenting his quirky habits, celebrity, and "invisible, unfathomable inner cycle," but also her parents' divorce and Heller's suffering with Guillain-Barré syndrome. The total effect is akin to leafing through a bulging family scrapbook where one finds a few blurry images among many snapshots in sharp focus. Erica Heller has inherited her father's finely tuned flair with words. 31 b&w photos. (Aug. 23)
Reviewed on: 07/04/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-09-957008-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-3453-1
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4391-9769-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-0453-4
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4391-9770-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-4526-5453-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4526-2453-2
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4464-9810-1
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