Daneet Steffens
March 06, 1998 AT 05:00 AM EST

Now and Then: From Coney Island to Here

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Joseph Heller
genre
Biography, Memoir

We gave it a B

The Brooklyn-born-and-bred author of Catch-22 takes a languid stroll down memory lane in Now and Then: From Coney Island to Here, recounting idyllic years spent in the shadow of Coney Island’s famed Cyclone roller coaster. Heller’s astonishingly cheerful Depression-era childhood seemed to consist mainly of splashing in the surf, hanging around the boardwalk, and eating Nathan’s hot dogs. Oh, he covers other times of his life, too, including the WWII experiences that sparked Catch-22, but the real joy here is in his Coney Island anecdotes. (One endearing episode involves an early-’60s visit there with novelist Mario Puzo and their assorted offspring.) Watching today’s kids at play, Heller reflects, ”I may be kidding myself, but I think I had more [fun].” B

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