Good as Gold (1979), Heller's third novel, caused a stir initially because of its controversial treatment of what the book calls "the Jewish Experience in America," a topic familiar to the Jewish Heller; again, the work grew in its reputation — as an outrageously comic novel. Jack Beatty found it "exuberantly funny" and recognized the central character, Bruce Gold, as an individual rather than a representative of all American Jews ( New Republic, March 10, 1979). Gold exploits his Jewishness at the same time that he betrays it. He seeks fame, power, and wealth in Washington, where he hopes to be the first Jewish secretary of state, having dismissed Henry Kissinger as not really Jewish because he supported the Vietnam War and prayed with Richard Nixon. Initially condemned as anti-Semitic, the novel was soon recognized as a brilliant satire. God Knows
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