Audiobooks Good as Gold By Joseph Heller –

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 He S Left Her As Funny As It Is Sad, Good As Gold Is A Story Of Children Grown Up, Parents Grown Old, And Friends And Lovers Grown Apart A Story That Is Inimitably Heller

10 thoughts on “Good as Gold

  1. says:

    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 Secretary of State and the tragicomic series of events which lead him to a decision point about the importance of striving for vast and even absolute power Like Catch 22 it is government bureaucracy and ineptness which catch the major blows of Heller s narrative The antics of Congress provide a sufficiently ample context for the absurdity of power portrayed in Good as Gold One wonders what tragic flaws exist in people who seek power relentlessly on a grand scale is it egomania, narcissism, greed, materialism, wealth, control or all of the above Is our Congress with some notable exceptions not on the whole a National Museum of Egomania The dialogue in this novel is witty and laugh out loud pithy in its portrayal of those who pursue with a single minded obsession their will to power within the structure of government Why isn t the will to power understood for the inherent human defects that its pursuit proves so ubiquitously Don t we have than enough examples from human history which make this point evident, even obvious, especially when self interest and arrogance become central in the noxious stew of greed driving the will to power Are arrogant people only able to detect it retrospectively after their descent, whether forced or unforced, into humility Is greed evident only after wealth is driven into poverty Is humanity a necessary casualty and blind spot for individuals who pursue wealth above all on a grand scale How much money and power are enough Has anyone read Goethe s Faust Heller s second premise for the novel is to write a book about what it means to experience being a Jew in America in the 20th century His portrait of life in New York among an extended Jewish family is telling and intriguing It is a narrative about the experience of bigotry, stereotyping and profiling The dialogue in this novel is absolutely masterful and Heller pulls no punches Like Yossarian we find in Gold a man bewildered by the absurdity of the society in which he is immersed In this sense Gold becomes an everyman trying to make sense of unfathomable forces in everyday life Gold reminded me of the protagonist, John Self, of Martin Amis in Money in that one of the greatest absurdities is why he behaves as he does If Gold were malevolent, his villainy by virtue of his behavior would steal any sympathy which a generous reader might bestow upon such a highly intelligent but fundamentally flawed protagonist It is the bewilderment and ineptitude and brilliance of the protagonists of Heller s novels which intrigue readers as they are all Heller himself a man intellectually at war with himself and his own society, a Hobbesian jungle run by fools masquerading as saviors within an arrogant, democratic bastion of civilization The novel starts slowly and will reward patient readers and it ends somewhat abruptly with intriguing story lines abruptly closed down as if Heller after 445 pages realized his book was becoming longish and he was tired of writing it Heller ranks in the Pantheon of American writers of the extraordinary caliber of Saul Bellow and Kurt Vonnegut Read this great novel for the pure comic wit evident in the story line, characters and dialogue then take away everything else that Heller generously offers to reward judicious readers.

  2. says:

    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 author of many unread, seminal articles in small journals go for a political career No Never Otherwise he would be just a subject for a mediocre and insipid novel such as Good as Gold.

  3. says:

    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 been disappointed both by this book as well as they outcome of our election But this review is about the book and it is about Bruce Gold an English professor at a NYC college The book is actually two stories about Bruce, one is about his very Jewish family and the other is a satirical story about Bruce s attempt to secure a presidential appointment in Washington The Jewish family story is one that non Jews probably won t find very interesting or entertaining for a number of reasons One reason in particular is the over use of Yiddish words and phrases without interpretation This phase of the book seems to have been written solely for the benefit of other Jews who may identify with the family members As such it was unappealing and not very humorous.The political phase of the book was typical Heller and the use of nonsensical double talk will easily recall the dialogue of Major Major Major and Milo Minderbinder from Catch 22 Where this type of conversation is employed the book can be rather funny but, unfortunately, the humor is dated and hasn t aged well I doubt anybody that hasn t lived through the 50 s and 60 s will understand the many cultural and historic references made in the book At one point several slogans from old TV commercials is mentioned that caused me to chuckle but I doubt anybody under 50 would know what was being mentioned The book is dated and so is its humor Near the end Bruce is involved in an attempt to have a sexual romp with two women in adjoining hotel rooms I thought I was reading a screenplay from an old Peter Sellers comedy and not a serious political satire or even a not so serious satire Alas, the book failed to lift my political spirits or re engage my political interests The book may have been better received when it was originally released in the 70 s but now not so much.

  4. says:

    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 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 is a book about writing a book except done well, so it s not a tiresome conceit at all.Loved it I was burning through 50 pages in single sittings, and I don t have a lot of time or focus lately, so that says something view spoiler The part about protestant children pulling down a Jewish boy s pants and spitting on his penis is so funny, still, that I wonder how Heller came up with or it or if someone he knew actually lived that And it t not even the best part hide spoiler

  5. says:

    4.5 stars Catch 22 is one of my favourite novels and this book by Heller manages to take me back to the same place Its a brilliant book filled with acerbic wit, biting satire and a general disdain for conventional humour The characters are eccentric and highly incorrigible Its hilarious in its portrayal of a dysfunctional Jewish family full of horrible people who are at each other s throats Even better is the representation of the inner workings of the government and it s as Kafkaesque as one would imagine, with a dollop of helplessness and frustration Brilliant book, highly recommended for anyone who found Catch 22 to be too daunting and weird and wants to give Heller another shot which you totally should.

  6. says:

    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 humorous look at politics and the losers running the government, but I missed the humor Not a fan

  7. says:

    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 which one he actually wants to happen it reads like a first draft, aimlessly wanders from time to place, characters are one dimensional and the one amusing aspect, the hopelessly contradictory politician, is run into the ground over and over I don t remember Catch 22 being anywhere near this bad.

  8. says:

    Everything Joseph Heller ever wrote, other than Catch 22, is utter crap I m beginning to believe the theory that it was plagarized

  9. says:

    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 out and I was a teenager and felt like a big grownup I d like to read that again There are many things I would like to do again How many of them will I get to do Now I m depressed.

  10. says:

    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.