Very funny book. This is a rambling narrative told by the biblical King David as he approaches the end of his life while simultaneously trying to entice Bathsheba back into his bed and avoid naming her son Solomon his heir.
Dont look for history here. Oh, yes, David recounts multiple biblical stories frequently amending, editorializing, and re-assigning authorship but most of his time is spent recalling the details of his life, speculating about the characters of biblical patriarchs, commenting on the motives of his family members (many of whom spend large portions of the book trying to kill him), bragging about his writing and musical skills, reminiscing about his multiple wives and their various connubial talents, and kvetching about inaccuracies in Michaelangelos statue of him.
Oh yes about that last Hellers David is unfettered by linear history. He quite happily claims authorship of virtually every famous line ever written (up to and including Tennessee Williams) as well as the musical masterpieces of Bach, Mozart, and Haydn, discusses the American Civil War, dissuades his nephew from going off to conquer Russia, Korea, Japan, Turkey, England, Germany, France, and Poland, too, if there is one, and complains about the relative scenic wonders and cultural opportunities offered by Hollywood and Cannes as compared to those of Jerusalem.
And when hes not doing that, hes thinking about God. Talking to God. Arguing with God. Convincing himself and his contemporaries that God is dead -- or a homicidal madman.
It is Hellers genius that he manages to make all this eminently readable and laugh-out-loud funny.
A funny tale of King David, giant-killer, in his final days.
From the back of the book.
Joseph Heller's powerful, wonderfully funny, deeply moving novel is the story of David-yes, King David, but as you've never seen him before. We already know David as the warrior king of Israel, husband of Bathsheba, and father of Solomon; no meet David, the cocky Jewish kid, the plagiarized poet, the Jewish father. Hear David tell his own story, a story both ancient yet modern, about growing up and growing old, about men and women, and about man and God. It isquintessential Heller.