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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 (232 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,187 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 77 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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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mike Beale on December 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
Catch-22 was a land-mark novel, but I think 'Something Happened' was Heller's greatest piece of work. The shock denouement, which the rest of the book masterfully sets up, left me gasping: I had to re-read one key paragraph over and over again, the effect was that great. I read Philip Roth's 'American Pastoral' recently and found parallels between it and 'SH'; however, Heller left us with a deeper, more affecting novel - and I'm a big Roth fan.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Baird VINE VOICE on September 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
One goes into Zoe Heller's "What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal," a novel with a blowout of a premise, with some heavy expectations. What you get is a slightly unexpected but nonetheless worthwhile and intriguing reading experience, even if you can't help but wish there had been just a little of the melodrama you had anticipated. Heller's narrative, centered on the scandal surrounding forty-one-year-old Sheba Hart -- who has been caught having a sexual relationship with a sixteen-year-old student at the school where she teaches pottery classes, is remarkably staid and free of soap opera theatrics (even though she does imbue her tale with a dose of humor for levity). Heller focuses less on the aftermath of Sheba getting caught than she does on the year and a half preceding the uproar -- the time period in which Sheba first caught the student's eye, slowly got drawn into the affair, and began to lose control to an obsession over her young lover. Heller is struggling to answer the question that she has posed in the title: what was this otherwise right-thinking woman doing getting involved with a student? She does a passable job hinting at how it happens, but never really overcomes the vagaries of her characters. In the end you have theories but no concrete rulings on the how and why of it. I personally appreciate some of the room left for conjecture, but I can see how others would be left frustrated and put off by the vagueness of it all. At any rate, it is quite interesting to follow Sheba's collision course for disaster. The novel also has an unexpected sub-plot involving Barbara Covett, the spinsterly narrator of the story who is harboring an obsession of her own -- on her friendship with Sheba.Read more ›
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70 of 88 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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