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Good As Gold

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  2,473 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews

Bruce Gold, a middle-aged, Jewish professor of English literature, finds himself on the brink of a golden career in politics -- and not a moment too soon, as Gold yearns for an opportunity to transform a less-than-picture-perfect life: His children think little of him, his intimidating father endlessly bullies him, and his wife is so oblivious that she doesn't even notice

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Hardcover, 447 pages
Published 1979 by Simon & Schuster
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David Lentz
Aug 13, 2014 David Lentz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Good as Gold" is pretty much as good as Heller gets in the rarefied air of "Catch 22" and "Something Happened." Clearly, this novelist ranks among the finest American satirists and performs a great service to readers insofar as satirists not only speak truth to corrupt power but diminish it by rendering it laughable. One is apt less to fear and consent to sinister forces which become imbecilic. The premise for the narrative is about a Jewish intellectual named Gold who is invited to become Secr ...more
Vit Babenco
There is no way to create another Catch-22 so Good as Gold isn’t as good as gold, probably it is as good as tin at best.
“Gold had little doubt he would succeed in Washington if once given the chance, for he was a master at diplomacy and palace intrigue. He was the department's deadliest strategist in the conflict now raging to attract students to subjects in liberal arts from other divisions of the college and to subjects in English from other departments in liberal arts.”
Should a professor and
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1.1
May 13, 2012 1.1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heller can do no wrong. This book is funny in all the right ways. It may prove reminiscent of Catch 22 but is really quite different. The plot, for instance, is way more mundane and easy to follow, so you would not be worth your salt at all if you gave up reading a masterpiece like this. The writing is top notch, the characters and situations are simultaneously hilarious and piquantly sorrowful. It's got a playful edge to it, as well. Heller puts in references to himself, and it seems like this ...more
David Eppenstein
I have mixed feelings about this book. I read "Catch 22" in college in the late '60's and thought it was one of the best books I had ever read. Now some 50 years later I still regard "Catch 22" as a great book but never knew anything about Heller's later work. I recently discovered this book and when I learned it was a political satire I purchased it. I thought this book just might be what I needed to put all of vehemence of our current election into a proper humorous perspective. Sadly, I have ...more
Logan
Apr 08, 2008 Logan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was definitely not a fan of this book. Heller's writing style is fine, but I did not care for the story. It was vulgar and had only one character with any redeeming qualities, who was basically the victim. The main character is selfish, immoral, petty, and just about any other bad attribute you can think of. He's a jerk. His family is a bunch of jerks. His peers are a bunch of jerks. Only his wife is kind and decent, yet, he lies and cheats on her repeatedly. The book was supposed to be a humo ...more
Rachel
Apr 28, 2008 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Far from being as good as gold, this book was bad. Very bad. It might have been readable if you like reading about annoying Jewish families, don't care if no one in the book is likable, and find contradictory politicians endlessly amusing. I only finished it because I wanted to see if it could possibly get worse. It did. Heller broke his narrative near the end to make a meta-statement about what he should have his character do. Later, he writes several options for a sentence and doesn't clear up ...more
Richard Kramer
Mar 22, 2012 Richard Kramer is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
So far loving this. Heard Heller's daughter interviewed on NYT Book Review podcast. Tanenhaus said something about this being laugh out loud funny and after twenty pages he's been proven right. The first scene is an excruciating Jewish family dinner. Now Kissinger is somehow in the mix. I want to take the phone off the hook or turn it off or whatever you do these days. I want to get into bed with some kugel and read this and laugh and wince. I haven't read Heller since SOMETHING HAPPENED came ou ...more
Mark
Mar 01, 2010 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heller takes on the government and the Jewish experience in America. Heller knows how write about the mundane interactions between people, find the irony, and make it an involving story. This may be Heller's most autobiographical work. Good as Gold is Heller at his acerbic, sarcastic and flippant best.
Sherrie Gingery
Apr 01, 2009 Sherrie Gingery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! There were several times I laughed out loud. I rate Good as Gold as good as Catch-22, albeit the plot is not nearly as complicated as some of Heller's earlier works.

A must read for anyone likes satire and sharp dialogue.
Emma
Jul 18, 2014 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joseph Heller is superb. The writing is satirical, the characters are awful people and the situation is all too familiar. If you've ever felt stressed out and annoyed by your family, if you've ever felt mislead and confused by your government, this book is for you. I laughed the whole way through.
ElizaBeth
Mar 07, 2007 ElizaBeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Everything Joseph Heller ever wrote, other than Catch-22, is utter crap. I'm beginning to believe the theory that it was plagarized...
C.
Could not be bothered finishing this.
Chad Bearden
Jan 01, 2009 Chad Bearden rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I now have three Heller novels under my belt, and I swear it seems like each time I've cracked one his books, I'm reading a different author. There are some tell-tale mannerisms that give him away, but each work is very distinct.

The first was "Catch-22", and as the first, now feels to me like Classic-Heller, where obliviously dense characters talk around in circles to demonstrate the senselessness of war. Next came "Something Happened", which felt like Updike-Heller, in which we follow around a
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Simon Mcleish
Jan 28, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in April 2003.

Heller's third novel reads almost as though it were the book of a Woody Allen film. It is about the Jewish experience in the US in the late seventies, and contains much of the same kind of bitter sweet humour so common in Allen's work. Good as Gold centres around a second generation American Jew, Bruce Gold, who is entering middle age and who is desperate to be taken seriously - as a writer, as a family member (particularly by his irascible fath
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Rick Seery
or 'The Pains of Not Being Saul Bellow.' This is such a mess of jarring modes - from overly conspicuous satire to outraged liberal arts polemic to Jewish family saga. The satire is second fiddle Terry Southern. Diet Southern which appears to re-iterate the same one-note gag all too numerously. The anger Heller mounts towards Henry Kissinger is just too obvious - it takes a classical, outraged liberal perspective that we could get anywhere; file next to Philip Roth and Oliver Stone under "obvious ...more
Girish
Jun 18, 2014 Girish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is a typical Heller in its absolute atypical writing style! Heller brews a powerful concoction of a humor, wit, family, sentiment, tragedy, politics, deception and outright crazy!

This tale is about Washington DC, the Jewish Experience, Family ties, Aspirations and somewhere about Henry Kissinger. Bruce Gold is the protagonist - a jewish professor/author, in a high position with the Govt (though not sure what), part of a big family that he doesn't understand and constantly in wonderment
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Mark Speed
Oh dear. The plot is about a middle-aged Jewish academic. Erm, notice any similarity to the author at the time he wrote it? The protagonist's offer of a high-profile job (Secretary of State) could be seen as an event somewhat similar in impact to one's life as publishing a classic like Catch-22.

I remember talking with Jonathan Myerson about this in class. He said that he and his wife have a pact - she shoots him if he starts writing about a middle-aged writer.

According to Wikipedia, the novel is
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Getout Ofmybookcorner
SPOILER: This book is shit.

Dear Joseph,

I wanted to like this book. I REALLY wanted to like it... but I just couldn't. The characters are about as forgettable as a new years eve hook-up, and with about as much depth and endearment. (I.E none – a point of note for the sobre types)

C22 is, rather standardly, one of my favourites but this has completely put me off Heller.

Throughout the book I couldn't help thinking that the 'jokes' were all so forced, obvious and just plain unwitty.

The Good as Gold
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James
Dec 14, 2009 James rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I started out thinking that this book was okay, definitely not one of Heller's best, but witty and insightful in parts. That opinion changed when I was nearly two-thirds through. This book is 500 pages long, but I swear it only has three of four ideas/jokes that it repeats over and over and over and over and over AND OVER to nauseating effect. Jokes that were funny the first twenty times became depressing after the five-thousandth repetition. And then there were all those digressions about Kisse ...more
Riley
Nov 29, 2013 Riley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To me, this book was a fairly loving portrait of a Jewish family, even with all of Joseph Heller's satire, and the obnoxiousness for which he portrays almost of its characters.

But if you loved Catch-22, you'll probably be disappointed by this novel. The highest rating it gets probably is that it is not bad.
Anne-Marie
Did I love it? Nah.

Did I hate it? Nah.

I was left wishing I knew a lot more about Henry Kissinger, and feeling like I was on the outer of a lot of jokes.

A lengthier review's over on my blog.
Ed Larkin
Gave it 2 stars because I can't rate Heller lower but this was a disappointment. The main character is a jerk, his family and friends are idiots and the plot is neither believable nor amusing and if it can't be one it should be the other.
Greta
Nov 02, 2012 Greta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
All I can think about is that line from Hannah and Her Sisters. "How am I supposed to know why there was a holocaust? I don't know how the can opener works!"
Peterboh
May 23, 2009 Peterboh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, humor
This is one of my favorite Heller's books. It is really funny, I especially liked the White House politics. It is way better than "Something Happen".
CaldoHendo
‘Good as Gold’ is a hit and miss attack on American politics of the seventies, a complicated and exasperating family drama, and a personal story of determination and failure. It centers on Bruce Gold, a disgruntled university lecturer and writer who is apparently more successful than a reader could ever believe. His blustering essays have caught the attention of the White House, although his family have never seen his name in print. Gold is secretly preparing a book on the Jewish experience. Alt ...more
MajinFox
Mar 05, 2011 MajinFox rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wstawione
OPINIA Z 25 MAJA 2008

Opowieść o amerykańskim intelektualiście, który na swoje nieszczęście jest Żydem. Poważany w kręgach politycznych, a jednocześnie jest uważany za głupca przez swoją rodzinę. Gdy zostanie urażony i nie ukrywa zdenerwowania, całe otoczenie stwierdza, że się piekli, że jest Żydem.

Z jednej strony bardzo humorystyczna książka, z drugiej - cholernie przykra, jak zestawia się ją z sytuacją panującą w rzeczywistości. Wyśmiewana władza, zwłaszcza Nixona i Kissingera, pokazywanie abs
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Nathaniel
As much as I loved Catch-22 , I found it very difficult to get into this one. The reason, I think, is because Catch-22 is a timeless satire of bureaucracy using as its backdrop a period in American history (WWII) which is broadly familiar to the average 21st century American. This book focuses on much more obscure themes: Jewish culture, Jewish families, and politics in 1970's America; this makes it very "of its time", but difficult for a modern reader who wasn't alive when Henry Kissinger wa ...more
Siv30
Feb 16, 2012 Siv30 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
הלר ג'וזף – "גולד שווה זהב"

זמורה ביתן, 373 עמ

את הלר פגשתי לפני כ- 10 שנים כשקראתי את ספרו "רק אלוהים יודע" והתאהבתי, בשנינות, חדות העין, היכולת לתאר מצבים ובכלל.

כשמצאתי את "גולד שווה זהב" ב- 20 ₪ אפילו לא היססתי (וכי מה יש להסס, היו שם גם ספרים של אטווד האלוהית באותו מחיר מגוחך) ומיד רכשתי את המציאה.

אפילו הענקתי לו קדימות בגלל חסד נעורים וכשסיימתי את אחד מהספרים האחרונים שקראתי, ישר הקדמתי אותו לראש הרשימה הארוכה והתחלתי במרץ רב לקרוא מתוך ידיעה שצפויה לי הנאה רבה ותענוג.

ושוב, כגודל הצפייה כך גו
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Stewart Mitchell
Feb 01, 2016 Stewart Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've seen some people complain that this book is too similar to Catch-22, but I've seen those same people complain that Something Happened isn't anything like Catch-22. So, according to his detractors, Heller can't write a great novel unless he writes a bitter, bureaucratic satire, but he can't write a bitter, bureaucratic satire because he already did, and it was his one great novel.

That sounds an awful lot like a catch-22.

Good as Gold is often classified as Heller's take on Washington, and pol
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Scoats
Sep 01, 2016 Scoats rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read Catch-22 about 30 years ago during a summer break from college. Back when only having a 7 day, 50 hour work week was like a vacation. I recall really liking Catch-22, finding it, edgy and very funny. I don't recall it as being bloated. Not being able to afford cable back then, TV for me consisted of just one channel, so reading was my prime source of entertainment. My tolerance for bloated, boring writing was much higher back then.

Anyway I was looking forward to finally reading another J
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Joseph Heller was the son of poor Jewish parents from Russia. Even as a child, he loved to write; at the age of eleven, he wrote a story about the Russian invasion of Finland. He sent it to New York Daily News, which rejected it. After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1941, Heller spent the next ye
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More about Joseph Heller...

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“Gold was not sure of many things, but he was definite about one: for every successful person he knew, he could name at least two others of greater ability, better, and higher intelligence who, by comparison, had failed.” 19 likes
“We have no ideas, and they're pretty firm.” 2 likes
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