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Something Happened [Paperback]

Joseph Heller
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

16 Mar 1995
Bob Slocum was a promising executive. He had an attractive wife, three children, a nice house, and as many mistresses as he desired. His life was settled and ordered; he had conformed and society demanded he be happy - or at least pretend to be, But the pretence was becoming more and more difficult, as Slocum's discontent grew into an overwhelming sense of desolation, frustration and fear. And then something happened. . .

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Something Happened + Closing Time + God Knows
Price For All Three: 23.07

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  • Closing Time 7.99
  • God Knows 7.89


Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (16 Mar 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099889803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099889809
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joseph Heller was born in 1923 in Brooklyn, New York. He served as a bombardier in the Second World War and then attended New York University and Columbia University and then Oxford, the last on a Fullbright scholarship. He then taught for two years at Pennsylvania State University, before returning to New York, where he began a successful career in the advertising departments of Time, Look and McCall's magazines. It was during this time that he had the idea for Catch-22. Working on the novel in spare moments and evenings at home, it took him eight years to complete and was first published in 1961. His second novel, Something Happened was published in 1974, Good As Gold in 1979 and Closing Time in 1994. He is also the author of the play We Bombed in New Haven.

Product Description

Review

"It is splendidly put together and hypnotic to read. It is as clear and hard-edged as a cut diamond. Mr. Heller's concentration and patience are so evident on every page that one can only say that "Something Happened" is at all points precisely what he hoped it would be" (New York Times Kurt Vonnegut)

"I used to think Catch-22 was my best novel until I read Kurt Vonnegut's review of Something Happened. Now I think Something Happened is." (Joseph Heller)

Book Description

Considered by some to be a finer achievement than Catch-22, this is Heller's funny, honest and tragic tale of a failed American dream.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scarily Good 31 July 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is absolutely amazing! It tells the story of Bob Slocum who has lived the life that most people hope for, yet daily contemplates ending it.Granted, after a gripping beginning it becomes a bit taxing in the section about his son, and it is absolutely elbow chewingly depressing, as it challenges and shows disgust for everything that is taken for granted in suburban life, however it is incredibly moving, wise, provocative and sometimes even funny.
Also, I don't understand how people claim that nothing happens in this book. As the pages go on there is a subtle build of tension in all of Bob's relationships, and the stage is set for the most heart breaking ending to any book I've ever read (the paragraph on Bob's mother's last words is so , I don't know, emotional that I had to reread it several times before I could really take it in). Read it soon if you know what's good for you
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excruciatingly good. 25 Jun 2003
Format:Paperback
Yes, it's one guy ranting about his life, and his dreadful relationships with his wife, his daughter, his son, and his other son, and his work colleagues, and yes nothing happens (except that it does), but what is astonishing is the way in which he is able to maintain the interest, varying the ranting, contradicting himself, illuminating the terrors of family life afresh on every page.
What happens? If you were skimming it, you'd miss it, and I think some of the reviewers here did just that. Just two paragraphs very close to the end, the content of the first shockingly, unbearably sad, the content of the second making the first explode with a grim tragedy (I missed this before I reread it a few hours later).
I read Catch 22 years ago, and enjoyed it, but it was nowhere near as technically skilled as this.
But not one to read if you're feeling a bit low.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excruciating 26 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I admit that i have read no other books by Heller, i had never read a review when i picked Something Happened off the shelf, i just delved right in, i wanted to know 'What Happened'. And in i went not predicting the excruciating pysychology that was to follow. Every realtionship is delicately and thoroughly presented. He is at once his own son, his fathers son and a man dealing with his own development. Memory of his sexual innocence converge thoughout the narrative with his well matured experience. I found this exploration very interesting and cleverly developed. His too- adult sarcasm directed at his young children that hovers on the surface of his love, his terror of rejection by his young son and his awkward fear of his sexually maturing teenage daughter, are both cleverly and honestly revealed. HOw he physically desires his wife more than any woman and yet he despises her and betrays her throughout their marriage. I read it and felt that this was a kind of truth, a real glimpse behind a kind of masculinity. How do men deal with daughters and sons and the pressures of success and wealth? It's good this book, it's so detailed and clever that you must read it, if only to have said you have read one of the finest novels iof the 20th century. If you're that kind of person that is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as Catch-22 7 Feb 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have never empathised with a book as much as I did with Something Happened - the brutal honesty of Bob Slocum's life resonates with how I feel living in society. The book describes Bob's thoughts, fears, and emotions as he lives and works through his life. He becomes more and more isolated in his thoughts - until something happened. The twist at the end of the book is utterly heart-wrenching - I almost cried. The honesty of the book is makes it extraordinarily inclusive - read it and admit emotions that you are allowed to have.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Highly Under-appreciated Work 31 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It is easy to only judge this book against Catch-22, but can any book worthily be judged against Catch-22? Something Happened is quite simply a moving novel which delves deeper into the culture of twentieth century despair than any other. In years to come it will be appreciated as an even finer work than its predecessor. Someone on this page has commented that 'nothing happens' in the novel. Well, that's the joy of the book. Heller doesn't need to barrage us with action or incident, he lets his beautifully languid style guide to what has to be one of the most tragically depressing climaxes ever written, a climax which can only be fully appreciated against the background which Heller creates. This book simply must be read, and savoured. I envy those who are still to read it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated and Probably Underread, But Great! 12 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Quite simply, Joseph Heller's "Something Happened" is one of the great novels of the twentieth century. The narrative style is more consistant with a story being told in person than reading a novel. When I first encountered this work as a younger man, I was impressed that fiction writing could be so powerful and yet so realistic. Years of exposure to the corporate world described have made me realize that the book is even more profound than on first reading. It is the deconstructing of the American Dream, and the casualties are each of us in his own way.
I was dismayed to read one reviewer write that nothing happens in "Something Happens." If one's criteria are shoot-outs and car chases, I suppose that this is true. What happens is internal, very personal, and unique to each of us. The protagonist confronts not only his own mortality, but that of an entire system. In contrast to the characters in Catch-22, who wear their absurdity on their sleeves, the characters in this book were harder to portray accurately. That Heller does this without missing a single note is a tribute to his craft.
I wish that this work had been included in the Modern Library's 100 Best. It is richly deserving of that accolade. Read it and you will not be the same.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My favourite book of all time.
Published 7 days ago by Sean
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit slow
This book has you gripped at the beginning with plenty of wit. But as the title states something happens. But not until the end and really not worth a complete novel for. Read more
Published 4 months ago by lionheart
5.0 out of 5 stars Something did Happen
When I got this book which I was searching for for a long time. Its prompt delivery and immaculate condition made it really worth the wait. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Adeel Kazi
2.0 out of 5 stars A rather tedious account of everyday angst
I didn't find this anything like as amusing as Catch 22 and the situation, an everyday account of a tedious life of a company man, was far from exciting. Read more
Published 6 months ago by William Shardlow
2.0 out of 5 stars book something happened
After reading catch 22 by the same author i was looking forward to reading this book, what a disappointment 600 pages of as bloke complaining about his job, kids and his wife,... Read more
Published on 5 April 2012 by jon-mos
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed classic
Having owned this book for around 20 years I have just completed reading it for a second time. Very far removed in terms of subject matter from the acknowledged classic that is... Read more
Published on 3 Nov 2011 by Keith M
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book - great seller
I had a problem with the initial order (I didn't receive it) and contacted the seller. They were very prompt coming back to me and sent a replacement copy out straight away.
Published on 17 July 2010 by Toddybrow
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Happened
Dull, boring, painful read. A story in which `nothing` happened and the reader is forced to read through so many pages, in expectation of a shocking discovery or gaining a deep... Read more
Published on 8 Feb 2010 by P. Perhac
4.0 out of 5 stars The collective meninges.
One is inevitably going to make comparisons with this and `Catch 22' and `Something Happened' is not a classic but it is very good. Read more
Published on 12 Oct 2007 by Mark Dickens
5.0 out of 5 stars Relentless and honest
There are a lot of reviews here saying that nothing happens, which I can't understand because something does definitely happen. Read more
Published on 5 Mar 2007 by K. M. Taylor
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