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God Knows Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1985


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Dell; First Printing edition (September 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440131855
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440131854
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 3.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,296,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn in 1923. In 1961, he published Catch-22, which became a bestseller and, in 1970, a film. He went on to write such novels as Good as Gold, God Knows, Picture This, Closing Time (the sequel to Catch-22), and Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man. Heller died in December 1999. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn in 1923. In 1961, he published Catch-22, which became a bestseller and, in 1970, a film. He went on to write such novels as Good as Gold, God Knows, Picture This, Closing Time (the sequel to Catch-22), and Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man. Heller died in December 1999.

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Customer Reviews

Very creative touch.
OLD GUY.
This novel, a retelling of the life story of King David in the first person, is vintage Joseph Heller.
Lola Henkes
It is not often that I laugh out loud while reading a book.
Donald Delaney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By "randytheviking" on July 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
If Heller had written Catch 22 with the same kind of easy style he exhibits in God Knows, then I might too be among those rabid Yosarian fans who claim it one of the best books in the damn universe. But it wasn't, and anyway, this review is about God Knows. There are many novels out there that make me smile and/or chuckle, but God Knows is one of the few that made me laugh out loud in several places. Read it if only for the passage with the lisps. You'll know what I mean when you get there. And I like the original treatment of Kind David, making him more human than divine. I normally avoid speculating on what the author was thinking or trying to do with a character, but given Heller's treatment of David's sense of time and the way David constantly claims credit for contemporary work, I kept thinking of him as a paranoid/neurotic in a mental ward somewhere imagining himself as David. Next time I'm at a seance I'll ask Heller if that was the case. But mental patient or not, the style still worked for me. Now some petty critiques: for such a build up regarding Solomon and his brother, the pay off was small to non-existent. The reader knows all along what happened with Solomon, and the expected fireworks never appeared. Fizzled even. And Heller (or a competent editor) could have or should have cut out about forty pages worth of redundancy. But there's so much entertainment here that, unless you're an easily offended pious type who can't take a little good natured blasphemy (stay away from that not helpful button, you) I enthusiastically recommend the book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on August 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Although I would not say that this book is entirely on the level of Heller's first three books (all masterpieces), as it does not, perhaps, resonate with the vibrancy and poignancy of everyday life as those works do, God Knows is nevertheless an entertaining, blasphemous, and laugh-out-loud hilarous Bibilical parody. Many an author has turned their skills to the task of setting a famous Bibilical character into the universe of modern literature and re-telling their story that way, but few have done it with the intelligence, wit, and sheer knowledge of Heller. This is the work of a man that, though perhaps a Jewish atheist (I'm not too sure of what Heller's religious views were), nevertheless clearly had a vast and perhaps encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible - or the Old Testament, at any rate. Here, we have the story of King David ("the best story in The Bible", as the narrarator himself repeatedly tells us), told through Heller's first-person satiric lens, casting the famous and mythical character straight into the pantheon of modern literature. Many may well consider this book blasphemous (although I am glad, and pleasantly surprised, indeed, to see in some of the other reviews here that members of the clergy have read and enjoyed it), it is all in good fun, and quite an entertaining read - as well as also hitting home at several points. Although there are several laugh-out-loud segments, Heller, beneath the farce, is also asking existential questions, as well as tackling some complex moral issues: God's apparent inclination towards punishing the innocent for the crimes of the guilty is given a good bit of attention here.Read more ›
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David on January 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
In what can only be called the shear GENIUS of Joseph Heller, God Knows crosses the line between biblical irony and just plain FUN!! As a member of the clergy I found this book a refreshing and oftentimes TOO POIGNANT look at one of the greatest biblical heroes! Heller breathes life and REALITY into a character of mythical proportions. . . just in time to remind us that we are all HUMANS and a part of God's work. I am sorry for those Catch-22 fans that cannot let go of their IDOL WORSHIP for Joseph Heller. They are missing out on good writing and some downhome chuckles. . . GO FIGURE!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Hercules Sutton on June 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Sometimes King David narrates his own story; sometimes, a modern omniscient narrator is in charge. Both use proverbs extant in each other's time. Manipulating point-of-view & time is fun; but it's a fine line between proverb & cliche, and both narrators cross it. Their anachronisms are confusing, impertinent & self-gratifying, making the book about twenty per cent longer than need be. Cliches pose as proverbs, stories repeat, and David never understands that he's projecting guilt onto God to avoid blaming himself. Still, the book is ABOUT something--Jewishness--just as "Catch-22" is about war, "Something Happened" is about democracy becoming Corporatism, and "Good as Gold" is about Corporatism becoming Fascism. Heller's nihilism is less manic than in his earlier novels, but dominates, as usual. And as usual, the text is carefully written and edited. But it's not style or method that makes this a great novel; it's Heller looping around his own core, making connections as he disgorges everything he knows about his subject. So what if the book indulges the author, pays no attention to the reader, and parodies Zionism while exploring its roots? It's funny, pertinent, masterful & dark--a unique historical novel. There's nothing like it, except Ken Keysey's "The Last Roundup," maybe.
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