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Good As Gold

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  2,152 ratings  ·  82 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

Hardcover, 447 pages
Published by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 1974)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David Lentz
"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
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
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
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
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
‘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
Umair Riaz
I knew Heller from his tragic comedy Catch-22 and after that performance I thought it was a big ask to come up with something that's even close. The downside of writing such a great novel is that you set the standard too high for yourself and the reader will inevitably judge you against that standard. Maybe that's one of the reasons why Good as Gold didn't quite make it for me.

Dr. Gold, an unexciting writer with a nauseating family is offered a big job at Washington after his review of the Presi
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
The funniest book ever written since Catch-22. This time Heller skewers Jews, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Jews, politics and politicians, society, the decline of morals, the desire to succeed, and the changes from pre-war US to the post-war US. All wrapped up in Heller's patented double-talk. Brilliant and laugh out loud funny. There is no better way to criticize politicians than by mocking them. This was 25 years before The Daily Show!

The book is a little dated as it takes place during the mid-1970's Fo
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
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
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.
Priscilla Macias
Okay, so I should disclose that Catch 22 is my favorite book of all time. So on the one hand, I'm totally a softie when it comes to Joseph Heller. However, on the other hand I have to admit I came in with super high expectations. So plain and simple, Good as Gold is no Catch 22. I felt it was unnecessarily long and I agree with another reviewer who said that it is harder to get into the book if you were born after the 1970s. But, the book had some of Heller's signature one liners, and that is a ...more
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!"
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".
Everything Joseph Heller ever wrote, other than Catch-22, is utter crap. I'm beginning to believe the theory that it was plagarized...
Could not be bothered finishing this.
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 גוד
Feb 13, 2009 Jennifer rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Joseph Heller or satirical looks at Jews in America
I loved Catch-22 so it was a given that I'd read "Good as Gold". This is more about a look at the Jewish experience during what I assume is the 1970s as Bruce Gold attempts to have it all and be all he can be. Have a lovely new wife, career in government and most importantly respect. Of course these things don't come easy and in true Heller fashion the shenanigans ensue with Gold's inability to be faithful to one woman and continue to fall in love on a regular basis and to not understand that th ...more
Chad Bearden
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

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
Simon Mcleish
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
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
Good as Gold is Joseph Heller's third novel. The main character is a Jewish freelance writer named Bruce Gold. The book centers on several awkward situations with Gold's family, publishers, government buddies and a few love affairs. Most of the characters are unbearable and cruel to one another. The situations are unimportant and the dialogue is so unbelievable and inorganic it is frustrating to read!

The plot never really seems to go anywhere to me. I feel like Heller's writing ability has falle
Paul Gelsthorpe
Not really what I hoped for after 'Catch 22' which is a first rate satirical novel.

There are flashes of the brilliant humour Heller is famous for here, but in smaller doses.

This book will appeal to fans of Woody Allen films and in parts has a similar feel to a movie like 'Radio Days' in it's often nostalgic portrayal of the Jewish American experience.

I feel if you want authenticity on this subject you are better sticking with Phillip Roth, but this is an enjoyable if not at times laborious exami
Pat Anderson
I take it Joseph Heller didn't like Henry Kissenger! Quite a good chunk of this book is given over to a diatribe against Nixon's Secretary of State but there is more to the book than that. Gold's family gets a bit tiresome, especially his father and brother, but family dynamics tend to be like that. There are some laugh-out-loud moments, like in Catch-22, and this book is nowhere near as depressing as Something Happened. If the book is meant to be satire it doesn't come across very well and the ...more
Daniel Lee
Probably closer to 3 1/2 or 4 stars but probably because I wasn't aware that Heller in addition to writing about government and Presidential bureaucracy in the same way he wrote about military bureaucracy in Catch 22 was also writing a book about a writer writing about the Jewish experience which ends up being a novel about the Jewish experience. There are some holes in my personal knowledge of the Jewish experience so I'm assuming there is a good deal about the book intended to be humorous that ...more
Jonah Burness
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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.
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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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“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.” 16 likes
“You will hurt your foot.” 1 likes
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