Karl S.T.'s Reviews > Something Happened

Something Happened by Joseph Heller
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Jan 09, 13


In my opinion, this is Joseph Heller’s best novel, bar none.

Something Happened is Mr. Heller’s second novel, published in 1974 and is thirteen years after his great first novel, Catch-22.

The protagonist Bob Slocum, narrates the story in his stream of consciousness about his family, his childhood, and sexual escapades. The novel is pretty thick that you might have second thoughts about reading it. There are moments in the book where i found myself confuse on what’s happening (and it’s overly repeated narrations) but the novel is often not in it’s chronological order ranging from his past experiences to his present ones so it goes back where it takes off. Jumbled, but you’ll get the hang of it. The main character is your average opinionated and bully-typed so i can’t blame him for his rants and revenges. And with this, I don’t mind him being stubborn. What struck me most about the novel is it’s ability to make me feel the background of every scene without telling it in detail. I smell the dust on the basement and opens the rusty file cabinet. Old paper clips' rust on paper, blonde and brunette provocative secretaries, old plants on offices', the 'Agfa' colored world. Those things makes me feel nostalgic.

As a fan of anything melancholic, I’m glad that I decided to read this one for I found everything what I love in here. If you’re familiar with American Beauty, I guess you’ll know what I’m trying to say for I am very positive that this is the inspiration for the award-winning film. And although the novel is obviously about the american dream, the whole point of the book is applicable to anyone.

This is definitely an underrated classic, for most critics considers his Catch-22 a hard act to follow. It’s a shame that his popularity just remains on his first novel.

Yes, i guess it’s true but Something Happened has it’s own beauty that requires a second reading. They say that the power of a novel is measured after many years have come and still someone reads it. I don’t usually read books at the second time -for i have a lot to read- but if i have to pick up something (again), this would definitely be one. ^_^
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Sean (new)

Sean 200 something pages in but I totally connected it with American Beauty also. Pretty striking similarities.


Karl S.T. Yeah. My favorite novel from Heller more than his Catch-22. Enjoy reading. ^_^


message 3: by Emir Never (new)

Emir Never I have yet to read this or Catch-22, but I've read Heller's Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man, wherein the main character, an aging writer who wishes to recapture his old glory, seems like a fictional double of Heller himself. Heller did not get to finish POTA (Portrait of the Artist) when he died in 1999, but the parallels in the novel and his own life are hard to ignore.

Reading POTA, it seems Heller himself, not just the critics, considered Catch-22 his creative peak.


message 4: by Karl (last edited Jan 14, 2013 06:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karl S.T. Emir Never wrote: "I have yet to read this or Catch-22, but I've read Heller's Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man, wherein the main character, an aging writer who wishes to recapture his old glory, seems like a fic..."

I so agree with you Emir Never. :)


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