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 literary 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 bullied-type so i can’t blame him for his rants and revenges, 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. 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 to be here. If you’re familiar with American Beauty, i guess you’ll know what i’m saying for i am very positive that this is the inspiration for the award-winning film. And although the novel is obviously concern about the american dream, the whole point of the book is applicable to everyone.
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), i might pick this one. ^_^