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Joseph Heller

Joseph Heller


Author: Joseph Heller

Dates: 1 May 1923 – 12 December 1999

Nationality: American

Title of Book: Something Happened

Later, when I began to visualize and dwell upon (I still do fantasize and dwell upon that episode when I look back more and more now) the many wet, scratchy, intense, intimate things that probably had happened on the floor of that coal shed that day, I was amazed and almost marvelled out loud at the idea of my big brother joined in sex with Billy Foster’s skinny kid sister, who was even a few months younger than I was and had big teeth and was not even pretty.

There was so much more I wanted to find out then about him and her on the floor of that shed, but I was never bold enough to ask, even though my brother was normally a mild, helpful person who was very good to me while he was alive. Today, there are many things I don’t want to find out. I’d really rather not know, for example (even though my wife and I feel obliged to probe), exactly what kind of games are played at parties my teen-age daughter goes to, or what kind of cigarettes are smoked, or what colour pills or capsules are sniffed or swallowed. When the police cars collect, I don’t want to know why, although I’m glad they’ve arrived and hope they’ve come in time to do what they’ve been called to do. When an ambulance comes, I’d rather not know for whom. And when children drown, choke, or are killed by automobiles or trains, I don’t want to know which children they are, because I’m afraid they might turn out to be mine.

Brief Biography: Heller was a satirical novelist, short-story writer and playwright. His writing strategy was not to begin work on a story until he had envisioned both the first and last line. In 1981 Heller was diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome from which he made a substantial recovery. He married his nurse, Valerie Humphries.