No Laughing Matter

ISBN-10: 0743247175

ISBN-13: 9780743247177

Edition: 2004

List price: $16.00 Buy it from $6.51
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Description:

MEMOIR It all began one typical day in the life of Joe Heller. He was jogging four miles at a clip these days, working on his novelGod Knows,coping with the complications of an unpleasant divorce, and pigging out once or twice a week on Chinese food with cronies like Mel Brooks, Mario Puzo, and his buddy of more than twenty years, Speed Vogel. He was feeling perfectly fine that day -- but within twenty-four hours he would be in intensive care at Manhattan's Mount Sinai Hospital. He would remain hospitalized for nearly six months and leave in a wheelchair. Joseph Heller had Guillain-Barré syndrome, a debilitating, sometimes fatal condition that can leave its victims paralyzed from head to toe. The clan gathered immediately. Speed -- sometime artist, sometime businessman, sometime herring taster, and now a coauthor -- moved into Joe's apartment as messenger, servant, and shaman. Mel Brooks, arch-hypochondriac of the Western world, knew as much about Heller's condition as the doctors. Mario Puzo, author of the preeminent gangster novel of our time, proved to be the most reluctant man ever to be dragged along on a hospital visit. These and lots of others rallied around the sickbed in a show of loyalty and friendship that not only built a wild and spirited camaraderie but helped bring Joe Heller, writer and buddy extraordinaire, through his greatest crisis. This book is an inspiring, hilarious memoir of a calamitous illness and the rocky road to recuperation -- as only the author ofCatch-22and the friend who helped him back to health could tell it.No Laughing Matteris as wacky, terrifying, and great-hearted as any fiction Joseph Heller ever wrote.
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Book details

List price: $16.00
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 10/1/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

American novelist and dramatist Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on May 1, 1923. Heller started off his writing career by publishing a series of short stories, but he is most famous for his satirical novel Catch-22. Set in the closing months of World War II, Catch-22 tells the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who discovers the horrors of war and its aftereffects. This novel brought the phrase "catch-22," defined in Webster's Dictionary as "a situation presenting two equally undesirable alternatives," into everyday use. Heller wrote Closing Time, the sequel to Catch-22, in 1994. Other novels include As Good As Gold and God Knows. He also wrote No Laughing Matter, an account of his struggles with Guillain-Barr Syndrome, a neurological disorder, in 1986. Thirty-five years after writing his first book, Heller wrote his autobiography, entitled Now and Then: From Coney Island to Here. In his memoirs, Heller reminisces about what it was like growing up in Coney Island in the 1930s and 1940s. On December 13, 1999, Heller died of a heart attack in his home on Long Island. His last novel, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man, was published shortly after his death.

Author's aide Speed Vogel was born in New York City on March 3, 1918. Before going to work as a shipbuilder during World War II, he attended West Virginia University and New York University. Afterwards, he worked in the textile business. In 1982, author Joseph Heller became ill with Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is a nervous-system disorder that causes severe muscle weakness. Vogel moved in with Heller to help take care of him during his recovery. Together, they wrote No Laughing Matter about Heller's ordeal and Vogel's part in it. The book appeared on the New York Times best-seller list for four weeks. Vogel died of natural causes on April 14, 2008.

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