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Posted July 3, 2002
In classic Heller fashion, this book dives into deep issues while keeping a lighthearted honesty and cruising along with absolutely absurd dialogue. Bruce Gold, an English professor and writer, gets a job offer from the White House. This offer, however, sends his life into a spinning loop, where he is offered everything and guaranteed nothing. The heart of the book is in Gold's family, whose quirky and always interesting meetings are impossible to forget. His father, Julius Gold, has a contempt for Bruce simply because he is not his brother Sid. His stepmother has a contempt for him simply because he is there. The whole family does not understand him (even though many times he is purposely saying highly intellectual things) and their arguments are, well, gold. The book also does a wonderful job of portraying the US government as a highly organized children's daycare center. No one accomplishes anything, it is full of nonsense talk, yet they all feel very good about themselves. Gold struggles with this as an intelligent man in a very absurd place. At times the book does seem to drag on, which is why it gets a three star instead of four. This is apparent especially when discussing the book that Gold is attempting to write on his Jewish American experience. Also, his relationship to a younger woman he met in DC is bland and uneventful. Also, the book doesn't seem to come towards any reasonable end, and Heller seems to throw in an event in lieu of any real ending to the story. But Heller's contradictory humor and ability to show the inability of communication (much like in Catch-22) is strong, which makes this worth your time. It may not be as Good as Gold, but it is worthy of at least a bronze, possibly silver.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.