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Something Happened Paperback – International Edition, November 12, 1997

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Export ed edition (November 12, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684841215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684841212
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (252 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

11 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Customer Reviews

Story very well written.
S. Reich
What I mean is that early in your reading you're thinking that this is okay...but by the time you finish you're think...damn that was a good book.
Book Knurd
The book fleshes out the complex relationships and motives of the main characters much more, leading to a far more compelling read.
Steven Traube

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Calum on March 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
This intense and masterfully written novel by Zoe Heller introduces one of the most captivating and intriguing characters of the decade as it tells its sordid and juicy tale of illicit love and the scandal that ensues.

Barbara Covett is a single and painfully lonely teacher in her 60s, who has very few friends and prefers to keep mostly to herself. When the lower-class school that she works at welcomes Sheba Hart; a carefree, attractive and popular new art teacher; Barbara senses that a friendship will develop between them, although she quickly becomes skeptical of that occuring. However, as their association begins to develop from friends to confidantes, Barbara learns of a relationship that has come about between Sheba and a 15 year old student-a secret that could potentially sink Sheba.

Heller's novel, written as Barbara's retrospective diary entries on the situation, provides an incredible depth of character insight into both Barbara's lonely, attention depraved existance and Sheba's unthinkable affair. There is never a dull moment, as Barbara's diary slowly unveils the ups and downs of the relationship and the scandal that it creates, with Barbara's startling honesty and well composed thoughts on the circumstances and the other characters making for a compelling, fascinating and highly entertaining read. The handful of periferal characters also help to propel the story forward in a manner that is interesting and thought-provoking.

Zoe Heller's brilliant novel is without a doubt one of the best of the new century, providing greater character depth than most authors can. I strongly recommend that you read this masterpiece before seeing the film!
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64 of 81 people found the following review helpful By sb-lynn TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
*PLEASE NOTE - THIS IS A REVIEW FOR NOTES ON A SCANDAL by Zoe Heller. For some reason this review (after 11 years) got also placed under Joseph Heller's book, Something Happened. I contacted Amazon and they said that they cannot fix this so apologies.

Brief summary (of Notes on a Scandal) and review, no spoilers.

Barbara Covett is a 60ish spinster school teacher, opinionated, intelligent and very lonely. She becomes good friends with Sheba Hart, a beautiful, popular 42 year old new teacher who has just arrived at Barbara's school. The novel is told from the point-of-view of Barbara, as she befriends Sheba and discovers that Sheba may be having an affair with one of Sheba's young students.

When I heard about the plot of this book, I have to admit I wasn't all that interested in reading it. But I picked up the book and read the first page and found it utterly compelling and an engrossing and intelligent read.

Part of the brilliance of this novel is the way you learn about both characters by listening to the narrator, the aptly named Barbara Covett. All is not what it seems and the author does a wonderful job making these characters very real people. Heller does a wonderful job showing how single women relate to those married with children and how people deal with loneliness and routine. She also shows how we make rationalizations about ourselves and our actions in order to justify our beliefs that we are good, honorable people.

I highly recommend this novel for any book clubs. It would make for a great discussion,and I think that everyone is going to have a different opinion about each of these two women. Not only is this novel an intelligent read, but it's a fun one also. This book is a page-turner that leaves you thinking about it and wanting to talk about it with your friends..what more can you ask for?
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Jacquelyn on May 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
This was one of the best books I've ever read -- and I read a lot. It was astonishingly good. It's about 2 teachers at a Brtish public high school who develop a close friendship. One of them, however, has a history of obsessive behaviour with other friends she's had, and is really quite bizarre in her thoughts and behaviour. What makes this book so fascinating is it is this "weird" (for want of a better word) character (Barbara) who narrates the book; therefore, she thinks SHE is in control of the story, and the story as far as she's concerned is about the other main character's affair with one of the students at the school. But for the READER, the real story is Barbara herself. As the story progresses, she becomes increasingly more sinister, and it becomes impossible to put this book down. I don't want to write anymore and spoil any of what's in store for other readers. This book is simply not to be missed.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "novicaine19" on February 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
Most of us know about Heller cause of Catch-22, but this novel should be ranked up there with his most famous classic. 'Something Happened' takes a look at the ordinary day life of a succesful, middle aged, business man who is obsiously growing more and more unhappy. It's a fairly common theme in a lot of modern art, but Heller adds his own touch by giving characters strange traits, which sometimes seem trivial -like someone's last name or their physical stature- and always turn out to add a unique twist to the plot. Along the way, Heller never fails us psychological insights into Bob Slocumb, the main character, and his relationships with his co-workers and family. I would bet anything that this book inspired some recently popular movies, such as Fight Club and American Beauty -as all have strong themes of irony, comedy, and tregedy. What still sets this book apart, is Heller's uncanny capacity to twist logic and words to make ordinary life seem so bizarre and surreal. It is definitely not self-help friendly, and it will make you look closer at yourself and others around you than might have been used to. As Heller seems to imply, such introspection will most likely show you something you's rather not consider, and its up to you to address it and not ignore it.
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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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