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Good As Gold Paperback – November 12, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reissue edition (November 12, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684839741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684839745
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,696 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.

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

4.1 out of 5 stars
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The book, as always with Heller, is very cleverly written.
Bill R. Moore
I have read all his books and oddly enough while I loved Catch-22, and Something Happened, this one sticks with me.
jo
This book is far too long, far too little happens, and the characters are thin and poorly developed.
Dave Shickle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A reader on August 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
A professor and a writer, Bruce Gold feels unappreciated by his family. He is the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. He still lives in New York and sees his old friends from his childhood in Coney Island. His friends don't seem to respect him, either.

He sees an opportunity to change his life when he meets an old university friend, the Protestant Ralph Newsome, who used to copy all of Gold's course work and who got better grades for it. Newsome now works for the President, who is impressed by Gold's writings, and a high government position is dangled in front of Gold. To ease his way into the government, he duly decides to divorce his old wife and marry a daughter of a rich establishment family. This leads to humiliation at the hands of the father of that family. "You have aspirations and regrets and feelings of inferiority and I don't," Pugh Biddle Conover tells Gold.

The novel takes place in the late 1970s, after Henry Kissinger's stint as Secretary of State with presidents Nixon and Ford. Gold has been collecting materials about Kissinger for years and plans to write a book about him. Gold detests Kissinger, as does everyone else in the book. Kissinger is "a noisy, babbling fellow who was always trying too hard to be entertaining and made war like a Nazi," Conover says. To which, Gold says, "please don't put me in the position of defending the one person on earth I disapprove of most."

Conover mocks Gold as a Jew and for his political aspirations. Both Conover and Gold's father believe that Jews have no place in government and that Kissinger was an aberration.

Gold is well aware of Kissinger's infamies: "his role in the Cambodian war, in which an estimated 500,000 died," and his involvement in overthrowing the Allende government in Chile.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By jo on April 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
It so apropos today. Bruce Gold has a job at the White House... to make sure the politicians say absolutely nothing of any importance at all, but sound like they are. This book is biting. Hilarious. I have read all his books and oddly enough while I loved Catch-22, and Something Happened, this one sticks with me. It is all about the Orwellian newspeak which I seem to hear everywhere these days. But done with a wicked sense of humour. Laugh out loud funny. The best political satire I have ever read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on July 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Good As Gold is Joseph Heller's third masterpiece. Heller, who sadly left us in 1999, was notorious for taking an eternity between books (13 years between his first two.) And, although this may be true, one thing is certain: when Joe Heller delivers a book, it's a guaranteed masterpiece. Every new Heller release is an event. Good As Gold is as good as the best of them. By turns screamingly funny and heart-piercingly true, this is one of the few books that can make you laugh and cry at the same time. The book works simultaneously on multiple levels. It is a fable of "The Jewish Experience" in America; it is a satiric and highly biting look at the hypocrisy and incompetence at work in everyday government affairs; it is a funny and all-too-sad peek into the lives of the typical American extended family (you could also see the entire thing as an attack on Henry Kissinger - indeed, the only complaint I have about the book is that Heller sometimes follows this tangent too far.) The book, as always with Heller, is very cleverly written. There are no numbered chapters: instead, the book is split into a number of different sections, all with a certain title, which also happen to be titles of works being written by the protagonist (who is, among other things, a writer) - in this way, the book plays out the very story and experience it is purporting to have the main character write himself. An essential read from the greatest American author of the second half of the 20th century.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brian on May 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Bruce Gold, an apathetic professor, is offered the chance for success, fame and fortune in Washinton D.C. But, he must first reshape his life, which may mean cutting out his wacky family. Furthermore, he's faced with the task of writing about the Jewish experience in America, but isn't sure he's lived it and thus has to figure out what it is. So, starts Good as Gold.

The novel starts somewhat slowly, with sometimes tiring descriptions of Gold's get-togethers with his strange family. These are somewhat boring in the early part of the book, but do become more entertaining as the book goes on once they begin to become funny. The memembers of his family are strange, particularly his father, mother-in-law and brother. They bring the most entertainment to the family scenes as Gold faces the frustration of dealing with his father's incorrigibility, his mother-in-law's hostility towards him and his brother's prodding and teasing.

The story certainly has laugh-out-loud moments, particularly the scenes in which Gold is conversing with his friend in Washingtong Ralph, who is very vague in what he does and has a contradictory way of speaking. Moreover, is the strange Andrea Conover, a beautiful women in love who with Gold, yet wants to continue her relationships with other men and doesn't see why that would bother Gold. The sexual escapades of Gold are quite entertaining as he seems to have no trouble attracting beautiful women with strange behavior.

The problem with this book is that although it certainly has many funny moments, it doesn't exactly seem to go anywhere. The reader is exposed to quite a few scenes with Gold's family, but maybe a little bit too much. It would have been nice to see more events unfold in Washington D.C.
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