I read Catch-22 and Good as Gold years and years ago, and now that I’ve picked up Gold again, Heller‘s brilliant brand of American-Jewish humour has hit me all over again in the funny bone of my brain.
Excerpts from chapter one, where he’s talking about his stepmother, Gussie Gold:
She was always knitting thick white wool. When he complimented her once on her knitting, she informed him with a flounce that she was crocheting. When he inquired next time how her crocheting was going she answered, ‘I don’t crochet. I knit.’
Gold’s stepmother was knitting an endless strip of something bulky that was too narrow to be a shawl and too wide and uniformly straight to be anything else. It was around six inches broad and conceivably thousands of miles long, for she had been working on that same strip of knitting even before her marriage to his father many years before. … She never wanted for wool or for depth inside her straw bag into which the finished product could fall. The yarn came twitching up through one end of the opening in her bag, and the manufactured product, whatever it was, descended, perhaps for eternity, into the other.
‘What are you making?’ he’d asked her one time out of curiosity that could no longer be borne in silence.
‘You’ll see,’ she replied mysteriously.
He consulted his father. ‘Pa, what’s she making?’
‘Mind your own business.’
‘I was only asking.’
‘Don’t ask personal questions.’
Love. Laugh. Knit.
To be continued…