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Something happened by Joseph Heller

Something happened (original 1974; edition 1974)

by Joseph Heller

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2,353246,163 (3.41)1 / 68
Bob Slocum, an average, middle-aged man with a good job, slowly becomes more and more unhappy with the routine of his life.
Title:Something happened
Authors:Joseph Heller
Info:London: Cape, 1974. [4], 569 p. : 23 cm.
Collections:Your library

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Something Happened by Joseph Heller (1974)


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» See also 68 mentions

English (23)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Another one I remember reading some years ago, without now recalling its details. ( )
  mykl-s | Apr 12, 2023 |
No, it didn't. ( )
  FinallyJones | Nov 17, 2021 |
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
I want to read this solely based on the excerpt included in Alfie Kohn's book No Contest: The Case Against Competition, which literally brought me to tears:

""I try to give him a will to win. He doesn't have one...He passes the basketball deliberately -- he does it deliberately, Mr. Slocum, I swear he does. Like a joke. He throws it away -- to some kid on the other team just to give him a chance to make some points or to surprise the kids on his own team. For a joke. That's some joke, isn't it? ... When he's ahead in one of the relays, do you know what he does? He starts laughing. He does that. And then slows down and waits for the other guys to catch up. Can you imagine? The other kids on his team don't like that. That's no way to run a race, Mr. Slocum. Would you say that's a way to run a race?"
"No." I shake my head and try to bury a smile. Good for you, kid, I want to cheer out loud... for I can visualize my boy clearly far out in front in one of his relay races, laughing that deep, reverberating, unrestrained laugh that sometimes erupts from him, staggering with merriment as he toils to keep going and motioning liberally for the other kids in the race to catch up so they can all laugh together and run alongside each other as they continue their game (after all, it's only a game)."
  magonistarevolt | Apr 24, 2020 |
Family dynamics and office politics are explored with acerbic wit in the ranting, eccentric ramblings of our sleaze ball narrator in Something Happened. The internal monologue is so steeped in hate and vindictive self-righteousness that it will easily polarize half the readers. But following the main character’s galloping train of thought is like having a lucid nightmare. The endless parentheses and asides, pages dripping with spittle and spite ring true to me. You don’t have to agree with anything the narrator says, or the author, for that matter.

Is it possible to write a great American novel about the depressing lie of the American dream? How oppressive and selfish it is? How the American dream every salesman, and most every man dreams, can quite possibly lead to personal tragedy? More than that though, I feel that most people can sympathize with the self-destructive tendencies of our over-stimulated, Consumerist state of mind. In this book there are a plethora of self-created problems. It reads like the sorry tale you might hear if you interviewed the well-dressed man at the end of most of the bars in America. Even so, it is indicative of, and a product of, the time in which it was written. Open commentary, racism, misogyny and nihilism played for cheap laughs, lascivious daydreaming, anxiety-ridden whimpering, and a slew of other incantatory criticisms, extrapolated and examined endlessly from a solitary point of view.

In the end, after the storm passes, a vast emptiness is left in its wake. Perhaps it is a warning against perpetuation, an entreaty to make more of an effort at kindness. More likely, it is a purgative, a way to become conscious of the little devil on your shoulder, who whispers bad things, who always points out how fat or lazy people are, which is always pointlessly going on about stupidity, incompetence and denial. The trap of self-loathing and of loathing everyone and everything is almost more natural than complacency, than quiet acceptance. It is possible to be alone, even around other people, but it is never necessary.

Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 is an established classic, cause for much grumbling in high school English classrooms, and is a more positive satire.

But if you aren’t scared of a little negativity, if you find you can rise above complainers and reflect upon the sheer volume of complaining that warrants tuning out, then there is a lot of value in this prolonged tirade against the cruel and inhuman state of our own minds, enmeshed in a prison society of corporate greed and filial pressures. Love it or hate it, you will not set the book down unmoved. ( )
  LSPopovich | Apr 8, 2020 |
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I get the willies when I see closed doors.
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Bob Slocum, an average, middle-aged man with a good job, slowly becomes more and more unhappy with the routine of his life.

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