Essay on Joseph Heller’s book Amendment 22

This novel first saw the light of day in 1961. Its action takes place during the Second World War on an island lying near Italy, on which the American aviation bomber regiment is based. It is almost impossible to retell this work: no more or less active actions are described in it, and the chronological sequence of events is violated.

Yes and no need to retell. The main task of the author, as I understand it, is to show the comic of life, no matter what terrible happened in it, and the stupidity of people, And although this is a work of fiction, the relationship between people, their ridiculously stupid behavior is not at all at odds with reality.

What struck me with this book? By his syllable, by his composition: the author writes so confusingly that the novel is almost impossible to read. (I have struggled so many times with the temptation to put it on the shelf. But I do not regret that I did not.) And again: the author throughout the novel returns several times to one event and talks about it for the first time every time. This gives the novel a special touch. This book amazed me with the stupid behavior of the heroes, their same dialogues, similar to those that take place in our reality. More than once I saw a similar scene:

“As soon as I leave, you will tear my address into small pieces and throw it into the gutter.” – Never! – he answered and, as soon as she disappeared around the corner, tore the address into small pieces and threw it into the gutter.

Or heard something like this: “Everyone himself must choose a God whom he does not believe in. And there are many more similar examples from this book. You can laugh just as much at many. Each hero of this work is unique and at the same time stupid.

No one, probably, the reader will understand everything that is written in the novel. One of the heroes, for example, somehow manages to buy chicken eggs at seven, and sell at five cents apiece, while making a profit.

This book is not one that is quickly forgotten. I remember it, willy-nilly, almost every day, since very often the behavior of people resembles the behavior of her heroes, although the behavior of the latter cannot be perceived without a smile.

There are books, reading which a person rests, relaxes. Most of these works (science fiction, romance novels, etc.). But there are those that require the reader to “strain the mind” (“War and Peace” by Tolstoy, “Crime and Punishment” by Dostoevsky). “Amendment-22” (now it can often be found under the name “Trick-22”) is difficult to attribute to any type of literature of the two above. In meaning, it can be attributed to the first type, in composition – to the second.

The closer the reader “comes” to the end of this novel, the less often he has a smile and the faster he turns over the pages: the chronological sequence is gradually restored, and humor becomes less, although it will not run out to the end. Humor becomes different, “black.” Joseph Heller’s novel Amendment-22 is recognized as a world masterpiece of literature. And I agree with that.