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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: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,253 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.

Customer Reviews

Read the first fifty pages.
Eric Schenk
So, if you are saying nothing happened, it's like, you actually got it, even though don't know that you got it, so you think you didn't get it.
a common reader
It's a harrowing book recounted in the most controlled prose style imaginable.
Bomojaz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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73 of 93 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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40 of 50 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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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By BDH on May 21, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many of us, I'm sure, at one point or another in time have lived a life very similar to that of Heller's main character, Bob Slocum. I also have a daughter and a son close to the ages of the characters within, and have found it astounding the way he'd sometimes hit the nail on the head with resemblance in many of the conversations between father and offspring, spouse as well. The irony and comparability to my marriage, and life in general, was both hysterical and intense. I have a disabled son too, and know quite well the difficulties and complications that can and will arise, and the stress that it can place on a marriage as well. Heller did a good job at describing that (although I must credit myself with being a bit stronger about it than Bob Slocum ... to a point). There were differences as well, traits of Slocum that I didn't exactly care for, or couldn't seem to relate to; for he was in no way a perfect human being, but neither am I, nor are most of us. Though he did seem to be a bit of a bigot, a hypocrite, a womanizer and a male chauvinist, and somewhat vain and self-centered as well, these were mere flaws in the personality of a man who was basically fairly decent and normal. As different as we all may be, we all have our individual and personal flaws. Good people do have a tendency to struggle through life a lot, blindlessly at times ... constantly trying to figure it out by asking questions such as: "Why?"
This was a personable, brave, and heartfelt story from Heller, of one man's bout with fatherhood and modern life and its trials and tribulations. Though a tad depressing at times, there isn't much that can be done about that, so is life ... it's not always easy. I've read 'Something Happened' a couple of times and enjoyed it immensely both reads, though years between each. I may even read it again someday.
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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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