Joseph Heller – God Knows
This used to be my second favourite book, and it’s amongst those rare history lessons you’ll never forget.
But I want to talk about something else today.
This God’s son; prodigy of musical instruments, courage, ambition (but that’s good when you are a man, isn’t it?) and manual weapons (then again with that huge of hands…) gets seduced by that instrument of a devil – woman. And gets punished, because he broke, what, basically all 10 commandments? That bitch of a Bathsheba, wasn’t she?
And one has to wonder:
- Is there a book about Bathsheba being this ambitious (it’s not that celebrated when you were born as a little innocent girl, which she inevitably was) woman, loving her husband, who just felt more inclined to attend his work then her; who got seduced by, presumably, irresistible man and got punished for that?
- Is there a story where she’s forgiven by the great all mighty God or did she end up in hell, because she destroyed life of that miraculous boy, who could have done so much for the society?
- Or is her only merit that she gave life to the great Solomon? And was Solomon’s vanity, through all his smartness, her fault too? Was she, at the very least (not that it could be ever considered a least), a good mother?
Was Bathsheba with all her faults lesser of a beloved child of God?
From all we know, she could have been just rubbing the oil onto her (probably perky and, I want to believe, beautiful) body and enjoying the bathing in the sunshine as she got called to the chambers of the King…
You don’t get to say that “Nope, I would rather not to. Imma married woman after all…” in King’s chambers back in good-old BCs.
Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it was a love (as Heller describes it). Wrong one, if there is such a thing, and one leaving victims on both sides of its route, but a love nevertheless. The greatest gifts of all.
And before you blame me of trying to impress all the LADIES, know that I’m father of a little girl and hence I possess every right to want world to be a fair place.
Anyway, the book is great. It has that lightness and humour I didn’t use at all in this review (is this even a review?).
“Solomon keeps records scrupulously. He rarely smiles and never laughs. He has the pinched, drab soul of a landlord with diversified stingy investments who interprets every piddling reverse as a catastrophe uniquely his own. “A pill,” was the way my dashing Absolom described him. “The pits. He never laughs. He curses deaf people and places obstacles on the path of the blind. Even then he doesn’t laugh. He just looks on. Whatever he gives, he always takes back. Yesterday, I stopped him in the street and asked him to share some raisins with me. By the time I arrived home, he was already waiting at my door with a cup to borrow some lentils.” If we had a word for prick then, we would have called him one.
“Solomon,” I used to counsel him when I still assumed – preposterously, as it turned out – that every living being has some potential for salutary intellectual change, ” there is really no better thing a man hath to do under the sun than to eat and to drink and to be merry, for who can tell when the silver cord shall be loosed and the golden bowl be broken and our dust be returned to the earth as it was?”
The prick wrote it down studiously, pausing with the tip of his tongue protruding from the corner of his mouth before requesting me to please repeat the one about the silver cord….”