Happened, comes a slyly funny, vastly revelatory memoir that is at once a loving
evocation of a lost America and an exploration of the frontier where life turns
into literature. Now and Then follows Joseph Heller from his fatherless childhood on the
boardwalks of Depression-era Coney Island, where he grew up amid the rumble of
the Cyclone and the tantalizing aroma of Mrs. Shatzkin's knishes. It offers a
dizzying bombardier's-eye view of the sky over wartime Italy, where Heller
encountered the characters and incidents he would later translate into Catch-22.
It depicts a writer coming to terms with both rejection and celebrity. Here, in
short, is a life filled with incident and insight, recollected with subversive
humor, exquisite timing, and a fine appreciation for the absurd.