The Revolt Of Gunner Asch

Hans Hellmut Kirst

Original reviews calling this "the German Catch-22" do a bit of a disservice to the book, as they mislead readers into thinking this is a surreal comic extravaganza like Joseph Heller's monumental work.This book deals indeed with the absurdity ever present in military life, but it does so in a much more realistic and less antic way.Like Heller's Yossarian, Gunner Asch of the German army is acutely aware of the paralyzing stupidity inherent in military bureacracy and sets out to do something individual and self-affirming in opposition.But the adventures of the hero of Hans Hellmut Kirst's novel are mellow and low key by comparison.There is little that is laugh-out-loud funny in this book.Rather it is a gently amusing story, with a compelling, quiet drive that ends in a subtle but very satisfying punchline.I look forward to reading the follow-up books about Asch's further adventures.

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