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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: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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 --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.

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

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
A bit too long and repetitive, but otherwise very strong.
Charlie Stella

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 76 people found the following review helpful By sb-lynn TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brief summary 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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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Jon on October 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
A warning to all readers: This is a hard novel. It has none of Catch-22's hilarious, irresistably warm characters and there is no actual plot to speak of. It consists almost entirely of the main character's thoughts, on his past, his work and his family.
This book is certainly not pretty. Bob slocum is sexist, racist, homophobic, a womaniser and a bully, as are most of the people who inhabit his world. But he is more real than you can ever imagine.
Despite my criticisms, Something Happened is undoubtedly a work of Genius. Heller shatters the American Dream. It is a larger than life portrayal of the same world Holden Caulfield (of The Catcher in the Rye) is so dissillusioned with.
While you might at times get frustrated with the book's repetition and seeming lack of direction, stick it out - it's definitely worth it. You'll be rewarded with a true and moving insight into the darker side of modern society (even truer now, 40 years on).
Despite attempting a far sadder novel here, than with Catch-22, Heller certainly hasn't lost any of his wit. A hard but ultimately rewarding read, definitely worth a look.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 1999
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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70 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on July 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
The title of this book by Joseph Heller is "Something Happened." Another title could have been "Life: The Book." This is one of the very, very few books I know that accurately and realistically portrays real life - life as it actually is - warts and all. The book I read immediately before this one was James Joyce's much-touted masterwork, Ulysses. Now, that book can, and has been, described the same way by many, and it is, in many ways, the very last word on realism. That said, it has much in common with this book, and Something Happened is, in many ways, the better book. Classicists and romanticists may well prefer Joyce's novel and consider it downright blasphemy to have it compared with this modern masterwork, but the fact is, this is a very good and much underrated book, and will probably be preferred by post-modernists and existentialists over Ulysses. The book is very long - nearly 600 pages - and does have a tendency to ramble at times - often seemingly without a point. It's written in the style of a first-person narrative, and this is one of the few books where you truly get into the head of the main character. That is the main difference between this book and Ulysses: unlike the latter work, which follows the adventures of three separate characters as they follow parallel courses and sometimes intertwine, Something Happened consists entirely of one character's thoughts and actions. And, since it deals only with other people insofar as they relate to him, it can get a bit solipsistic at times - however, that said, Heller's intention with this book (I think) was to accurately and realistically describe the thoughts in the head of a fairly normal, everyday American male. He does a rather remarkable job of this.Read more ›
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