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Something Happened Audio Cassette – Feb 1 1981

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc. (Feb. 1 1981)
  • ISBN-10: 0736604723
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736604727
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

Product Description


"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 the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Joseph Heller was born in 1923 in Brooklyn, New York. He served as a bombardier in the Second World War and then attended New York University and Columbia University and then Oxford, the last on a Fullbright scholarship. He then taught for two years at Pennsylvania State University, before returning to New York, where he began a successful career in the advertising departments of Time, Look and McCall's magazines. It was during this time that he had the idea for Catch-22. Working on the novel in spare moments and evenings at home, it took him eight years to complete and was first published in 1961. His second novel, Something Happened was published in 1974, Good As Gold in 1979 and Closing Time in 1994. He is also the author of the play 'We Bombed in New Haven'. Joseph Heller died in 1999. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scott in Vermont on Sept. 5 2003
Format: Paperback
This is Heller's masterpiece, not the vastly overrated Catch 22. That book was an entertainment; this one is a work of art. It might be described as a portrait of Hell, set in the affluent suburbs of Connecticut. I read this work twenty years ago, and it's still vivid in my mind (how many books can one say that about?). In fact, I checked in to the Amazon site because I plan to read it again and was curious to see what others had said about it. Heller's powers of description are awesome, as is his ability to 'explore' his protagonist's psyche. I felt I was right there with Bob Slocumb, inside his mind. A disagreeable individual he may be, but he is also infinitely human, and as another reviewer stated, a modern American Everyman, with whom (alas) I identified.
I read through some of the previous Amazon reviews and am baffled by those who panned this book and said it was tedious. On the contrary, I found it a real page-turner. The writing is fresh and moves right along. Perhaps those reviewers who hated it were expecting another Catch 22, or in some way approached it with pre-set ideas as to what a novel should be and were therefore disappointed. The 'repetitiveness' that some complained about was neither sloppy writing on Heller's part, nor careless work by his editor. It serves the purpose of getting inside the character's mind and portraying his life, and it held my attention throughout. Is every thought or feeling that each of us have day in and day out always startling and fresh, and do we never repeat ourselves? I think not. The portrait Heller creates is masterful.
Next to some of the post-modern, magic realism dreck that passes for fiction these days, Something Happened is incomparable. By all means, pick this book up; you won't be disappointed, unless you're expecting it to be something else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "novicaine19" on Feb. 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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Format: Paperback
Some random reviewer on Barnes and Noble gave us this: "the novel reads like a kick in the groin."
In many ways, this novel is a more scholarly, literary, and philosophical precursor to Fight Club in that it chronicles a man who is, by any common standard, a very successful person in Corporate America. He has an excellent and well-paying job. He has a wife. He has children. He has a lovely house.
Yet he finds his life shallow and empty of purpose. He finds himself indulging in self-destructive behaviors. He finds himself completely unable to communicate with his family. He finds himself completely unable to connect in any genuine sense with any other person in his work or social life.
He examines every facet of his life from his job, to his marriage, to his children, and he finds that a strange sort of cowardice pervades his life. He realizes that "something happened" in his life to change everything he knew and every way he behaved and made him the ineffectual, pompous, and empty coward that he and all the people around him have become.
For those people in the business community who have pondered their own existence and the true results and purpose they will have on the world, this novel will read like a kick in the groin. Something Happened is a completely unsettling and unflinching look at the kind of life that is derivative of one spent in the service of a business. It will teach you why you fear everyone you work with and why they fear you. It will teach you why you so often feel so alone. And it will teach you why you learn to break free and why you may be so unable to do it.
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Format: Paperback
Easily one of the most frustrating books I've read, Something Happened is a lengthy monologue about life given by an assumedly prototypical middle-class, mid-range executive in late-60s/early 70s America. That the protagonist is one of the least sympathetic I've encountered can perhaps be attributed, in part, to the change in social mores; no one reading Something Happened today would be anything but appalled by Slocum's apparently joyless sex with pretty much any woman he encounters who's willing and young. Obviously, the distastefulness of Slocum's day-to-day existence, and his self-hatred, are part of the point, but the book is far, far too long and is crammed to the gills with long parenthetical meanderings that suggest that Heller's editor was afraid to touch the maestro's work for fear of inspiring another 13-year break between books. As to the ideas in Something Happened, none appear original from today's standpoint, and were arguably dated even when the book was first published; for example, Slocum's description of his workplace is straight out of William Whyte's Organization Man (which, unlike Something Happened, truly is worth reading). And instead of pushing the envelope on what a novel should be about, or how a protagonist's thoughts ought to be conveyed, Heller's choice of an endlessly digressive, self-centered protagonist is only annoying. After almost 200 pages I just wished Slocum would shut up already, and with no little satisfaction put this book aside. In the end, it is the endlessness, and pointlessness, of Slocum's monologue that finally dooms Something Happened; it could have profited from being chopped in half and then might have been worthwhile. But under no circumstances is this book worth the many hours of commitment it demands.
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