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Monday, July 22, 2013

Story By 'Catch-22' Author Published For First Time

Author Joseph Heller in his publisher's office in New York City on October 9, 1974. (Jerry Mosey/AP)

Author Joseph Heller in his publisher’s office in New York City on October 9, 1974. (Jerry Mosey/AP)

Sometime between the late 1940s and early 1950s — before he wrote “Catch-22” — author Joseph Heller wrote a short story called “Almost Like Christmas.”

The story of racism and violence in a small town has most likely never been published, but it will now see the light of day.

“Almost Like Christmas” is being published by The Strand Magazine. Strand’s managing editor Andrew Gulli discovered the work at a library at Brandeis University.

The short story does not feature the humor that came to be Heller’s hallmark.

“There’s an attitude of despair in ‘Almost Like Christmas,'” Gulli said. In Heller’s later works, such as Catch-22, Gulli said that the despair is replaced by, “a sardonic laughter at the ridiculousness of the human condition.”


  • Andrew Gulli, managing editor of The Strand Magazine.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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