Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus❰Download❯ ✤ Hocus Pocus Author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. – Oaklandjobs.co.uk Here is the adventure of Eugene Debs Hartke He s a Vietnam veteran, a jazz pianist, a college professor, and a prognosticator of the apocalypse and other things Earth shattering But that s neither her Here is the adventure of Eugene Debs Hartke He s a Vietnam veteran, a jazz pianist, a college professor, and a prognosticator of the apocalypse and other things Earth shattering But that s neither here no there Because at Tarkington College where he teaches the excrement is about to hit the air conditioning And its all Eugene s fault. There are a couple of authors who aimlessly write, sometimes attaching all this drivel to one profound, emblematic theme None of that with Vonnegut, who writes about the Vietnam War like no one else with the courage to mix in futuristic and antiquarian events, all fictional but lifelike, as well as merging composite psyches with individual personal histories He has a beating heart, and it beats louder and faster, with a warlike violence and evenoften with a human tenderness, as Vonneg There are a couple of authors who aimlessly write, sometimes attaching all this drivel to one profound, emblematic theme None of that with Vonnegut, who writes about the Vietnam War like no one else with the courage to mix in futuristic and antiquarian events, all fictional but lifelike, as well as merging composite psyches with individual personal histories He has a beating heart, and it beats louder and faster, with a warlike violence and evenoften with a human tenderness, as Vonnegut attempts to externalize all of his thoughts on this most miserable stage in American history.He writes about politics, sex, human ties He s a master at making the protagonist both blatant observer Man of Action Hocus Pocus is a gallow s song.Vonnegut has taken the war and made it his, so that every single plot or narrative arc because indeed, even with the masterful scatter plot logic of this novel the plot was written on pieces of paper later decoupaged to make better sense in a somewhat linear fashion , there is much calculated thought mingled in with a raw emotion returns always to Vietnam The excrement has hit the air conditioning, big time While I found Kurt Vonnegut s Hocus Pocus interesting, this might well be my least favorite Vonnegut book Our protagonist, Eugene Debs Hartke is named for the political activitist, Eugene Debs, and anti war Senator, Vance Hartke Debs most famous quote, while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free appears numerous times in the book As he a The excrement has hit the air conditioning, big time While I found Kurt Vonnegut s Hocus Pocus interesting, this might well be my least favorite Vonnegut book Our protagonist, Eugene Debs Hartke is named for the political activitist, Eugene Debs, and anti war Senator, Vance Hartke Debs most famous quote, while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free appears numerous times in the book As he awaits trial, Hartke admits that he is nothing like his namesakes He s a Vietnam War vet and college professor who gets into trouble for his views on history and apocalyptic events Like Mother Night, this novel is a sort of confession from our protagonist however, Hartke s stated purpose is to name all the women he s slept with and determine how many people he killed in the war Friend and fellow Vietnam War soldier, Jack Patton, hails from Wyoming His rejoinder to nearly every situation, I had to laugh like hell is a refrain in the early going of the novel Hartke ends up marrying Jack Patton s sister insanity, which Hartke discusses in great detail, just happens to run in the family This made me think about references to Wyoming that I ve noticed in a couple Vonnegut novels I d remembered the reference in Slaughterhouse Five Wild Bob tells fellow prisoner, Billy Pilgrim, that, if he s ever in Cody, Wyoming just ask for Wild Bob Don t know if Vonnegut had any connection to Wyoming or what his impressions of Wyoming might have been, but it made me curious If anyone knows, I d like to hearThat said, this Vonnegut novel didn t really take me anywhere I hadn t been before It is full of Vonnegut s insights and I was happy enough reading it until the ending just seemed to drop out of nowhere 3.5 stars Being an American means never having to say you re sorry Hocus Pocus is the story of Eugene Debs Hartke, a Vietnam veteran, who after leaving the Army became a teacher at a private school and then a prison After a prison break, he is mistaken for one of the ring leaders and ends up awaiting trial, dying of TB, contemplating his life and trying to count the number of women he has slept with.In itself, that would make a good basis for an ordinary book, but as this is a novel written by Kurt Vonnegut, the basic story has little to do with making this on Hocus Pocus is the story of Eugene Debs Hartke, a Vietnam veteran, who after leaving the Army became a teacher at a private school and then a prison After a prison break, he is mistaken for one of the ring leaders and ends up awaiting trial, dying of TB, contemplating his life and trying to count the number of women he has slept with.In itself, that would make a good basis for an ordinary book, but as this is a novel written by Kurt Vonnegut, the basic story has little to do with making this one of the final greats of the late 20th Century.In fact describing it as a novel may be pushing it at all As all you fine creative writing course graduates know, a beginning and an end are kinda compulsory, and even without them a middle would be quite handy Vonnegut no doubt knew the rules but you get the impression that he never let that get in the way of anything Instead he put together a beautiful satire of just about every aspect of American life, from the idiocy of Vietnam, the treatment of the vets when they got home, the sale of just about everything to the Japanese and the inbred insularity of the majority of Americans.But not all Americans are equal, and the difference between those with money and those without is a constant theme and despite quoting Orwell s opinion that Rich people are just poor people with money there is an apartedness that sees rich Americans believe themselves to be a different species, with the incisive narrator in the form of Hartke wearily pointing a leary finger at them.All of this before what was surely at the front of Vonnegut s mind when he sat down to write Hocus Pocus, the imminent death of the planet through his country s disregard of the environmental impact of The American Way tm And does he lay on the environmental concern with ladles.Like Heller, Vonnegut s humour softens what are in the main quite bleak and dark episodes, and the ridiculousness of the characters and their beliefs highlights his central themes The characters themselves are a master class, with every individual at least receiving a passing note regarding their quirks and peccadilloes Nothing is simple after the prison break, the head of the school which naturally is over run by the prisoners takes to the bell tower with a sniper rifle, before ultimately being killed and then crucified.The beauty of it all is that it is almost believable, yet still fantastic in its truest sense.I must admit, I d avoided reading Vonnegut s novels for years, believing him to be a second rate science fiction writer for some reason and it is only in the last few months that I have tackled some of his work Reading other reviews, I understand that his output was quite patchy, but if this, Cat s Cradle and Slaughterhouse 5 are anything to go by, I ll be reading and enjoying many The truth can be very funny in an awful way, especially as it relates to greed and hypocrisy In many ways, this is about hypocrisy and deception and so is one of Vonnegut s most scathingly cynical and satirical works, and yet his scorn here is subtle, though rarely playful as he can be and has demonstrated in other novels This most reminded me of his 1979 novel Jailbird We have another unreliable narrator, but this is Vonnegut and so situational irony and complexity spice the topsy turvy per The truth can be very funny in an awful way, especially as it relates to greed and hypocrisy In many ways, this is about hypocrisy and deception and so is one of Vonnegut s most scathingly cynical and satirical works, and yet his scorn here is subtle, though rarely playful as he can be and has demonstrated in other novels This most reminded me of his 1979 novel Jailbird We have another unreliable narrator, but this is Vonnegut and so situational irony and complexity spice the topsy turvy perspective We have a protagonist nicknamed The Preacher who does not curse, and yet is a killer and serial adulterer The title Hocus Pocus comes from the idea that words are like magic, creating illusions that can cast spells and create misinformation and can conjure up the idea of a good result when the opposite is actually true.An observant reader of Kurt Vonnegut will note that imprisonment, of various kinds, is a ubiquitous theme in his work As in Jailbird, we have a man who is in and out of institutions, not all of his choosing.Another recurring theme is the military Vonnegut was a forward scout in the Army and then a prisoner of war in Dresden Germany The hero here is Eugene Debs Hartke who was a veteran of the war in Vietnam I ve read some reviewers who have opined that this is a book about Vietnam, I did not see that specifically, but a vehicle for Vonnegut to continue his ongoing anti war message.Vonnegut had sympathies with the common man and with socialist reforms and Eugene Debs was a hero for him Having our narrator named after the famous leader and orator was another opportunity for KV to tell that story and we also getVonnegut social and economic commentary We also are reminded of one of Debs most noteworthy quotes While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free Like his 1976 novel Slapstick, or Lonesome No More and his 1985 novel Gal pagos, this also describes an alternate history wherein there is an economic collapse, though here his description is understated.What s it about Like all of his works, there is the surface story and then all of the various and sundry meanderings that make his writing so enjoyable On the surface it is about a retired military officer who accepts a position at a small college in rural New York His wife and mother in law are insane another Vonnegut staple and he loves loves loves to have extramarital affairs, especially with older women including the wife of the college president He is fired and gets hired on across the lake to a prison that has been privatized and owned by a Japanese corporation There is a prison break and all of the poor, dangerous and predominately black inmates march across the frozen lake and invade the rich and privileged college town.It s also about hypocrisy, racism, love and war, insanity, social justice, honesty, culture, and the propensity of American society to destroy itself.And there is an obscure reference to Kilgore Trout for KV fans to find, like an Easter egg Kurt Vonnegut is a national treasure and while this is not one of his greatest books first published in 1990, this is one of his later works , it is another demonstration of his phenomenal ability A biting satire with sharp teeth.An often hilarious and all too often sadly accurate commentary on our culture and humanity as whole, all wrapped up in a story about a Vietnam Veteran turned instructor that witnesses a mass prison break and eventually becomes a prisoner himself On pure plot we are being told the story by the main character, Eugene Debs Hartke, named for a Socialist Atheist, raised by a pair of nit wits, and then made to go to West Point by the paternal nit wit Eugene Hartke A biting satire with sharp teeth.An often hilarious and all too often sadly accurate commentary on our culture and humanity as whole, all wrapped up in a story about a Vietnam Veteran turned instructor that witnesses a mass prison break and eventually becomes a prisoner himself On pure plot we are being told the story by the main character, Eugene Debs Hartke, named for a Socialist Atheist, raised by a pair of nit wits, and then made to go to West Point by the paternal nit wit Eugene Hartke would have liked to go to a liberal arts college, had a decent time, and given a perfect outcome become a jazz pianist, instead he became a professional soldier and was sent to Vietnam where he saw a lot of people die and did a lot of killing himself, some even with his bare hands while others by the hocus pocus of the rhetoric he spout to his inferiors Well there was a lot that went on in Vietnam that would come back again and again to Eugene, there was a friend, and eventual brother in law, that laughed like hell at just about everything perhaps he was not quite right or perhaps he was wiser than the rest of us, seeing just how ridiculous we all are, it all is Well the actual war is just the beginning We have his post war life which was not all too kind to Eugene, both a wife and mother in law that were insane, and two kids that hated him for it Eugene also landed a job at a college that was for students with money, but not capable of getting into any reputable institution for higher learning, which happened to be right across the lake from the massive prison that would eventually be compromised and have the convicts swarming out, which is the event that brings about his own imprisonment We also hear about his infidelities which are numerous In a nutshell that about sums up what transpires to our protagonist, and all of it we know from early on, what we don t know is how one thing leads to another and why that is what we learn as we read on The themes touched on range from capitalism, racism, religion, class ism, small mindedness, a collapse of culture, the pointlessness of war and general ignorance I would say the main theme which is a staple of Vonnegut s might very well be the utter ludicrousness of humanity in general A special note Trafalmadorians have a call out for those that love Slaughterhouse Five For me this was classic Vonnegut, but it felt even less hopeful than normal, or perhaps it s just me and I am in need ofhope these days either way it felt a littledepressing than witty, fun lessons This one may suffer a bit from being published in 1990 and being set in 2001, much of his sooth saying came close to being true, but others seemed rather off, it was this based in reality in a time now just gone by that may made it feel slightly off to this humble reader Still a lot of things to take away, just not perhaps up to the standards he himself set in some of his other works The 2 prime movers in the Universe are Time and Luck Hocus Pocus is one of those Vonnegut novels that works from time to time The first 75 pages or so are slow going However, around page 100 I found myselfinterested in the story And it was easy going from then on.Vonnegut reveals the story in this text piece by piece in scraps of memory revealed by the narrator Each page revealsof the larger picture, and the reader finds themselves understanding just a little bitof the The 2 prime movers in the Universe are Time and Luck Hocus Pocus is one of those Vonnegut novels that works from time to time The first 75 pages or so are slow going However, around page 100 I found myselfinterested in the story And it was easy going from then on.Vonnegut reveals the story in this text piece by piece in scraps of memory revealed by the narrator Each page revealsof the larger picture, and the reader finds themselves understanding just a little bitof the puzzle until it comes together as a whole picture This revealing gaps of the plot piece by piece is a common device, but Vonnegut employs it really well in this book It comes across as effortless, and not at all contrived Hocus Pocus is the life story of the narrator Eugene Debs Hartke The novel takes on themes of parenting, adultery, mental instability, the Vietnam War, socialism, atheism, and the distinction in social classes brought about by race and wealth That s a lot of stuff to take on, and I did not mention all of it And every last bit of it done with vintage Vonnegut black humor and dry wit.Vonnegut is especially harsh on the irresponsibly wealthy and on those behind the Vietnam War in this book Frankly, I feel that in the context in which he presents those opinions in the plot he isthan justified.This novel did not feed me as much of some of Vonnegut s other works, but it is a good book nonetheless Some of his lesser know and later novels are often given short shrift Hocus Pocus does not deserve that fate THE COMPLICATED FUTILITY OF IGNORANCE I had to laugh like hellReading Hocus Pocus hard on the heels of Brave New World, Amusing Ourselves to Death, and various other social political material certainly gave a new depth to this amazing novel I ve owned it for quite a few years but had never quite gotten around to reading it I suppose there is a time and a place for everything, because I would not have resonated with this novel as strongly at any other time Life seems to be, in Vonnegut s vie THE COMPLICATED FUTILITY OF IGNORANCE I had to laugh like hellReading Hocus Pocus hard on the heels of Brave New World, Amusing Ourselves to Death, and various other social political material certainly gave a new depth to this amazing novel I ve owned it for quite a few years but had never quite gotten around to reading it I suppose there is a time and a place for everything, because I would not have resonated with this novel as strongly at any other time Life seems to be, in Vonnegut s view, one long, complicated, and futile struggle indeed A perpetual motion machine into which we keep inputting energy, hoping for a different result Even the best of intentions and rarely do humans really have those can so easily go astray While some see Vonnegut as satire, and others seem him as endlessly and hopelessly depressing, I see him in a role similar to that of the main character of this book a Preacher a Professor.And the lessons Vonnegut has to teach us range all over society and politics, from scathing denunciations of war particularly Vietnam, about nothing but the ammunition business and our treatment of returning soldiers, through the unethical and greedy action of the rich in the stock market in the book s 2001, most of America is owned by the Japanese and many of the ruling class have lost their fortunes in a stock market scam that would have floored Bernie Madoff , to the state of our prisons once again race segregated and the utterly impossible divide between the haves and the have nots Oh, and the environment hopelessly mangled and experiencing climate change and the energy crisis Let s not forgot those The main character, Eugene Debs Hartke, is indeed named after the Eugene Debs, to whom the book is dedicated, and the reader should take note of this early marker for direction and interpretation.Hartke is an anti hero soldier, criminal, teacher, fraud, compassionate husband, passionate adulterer But he tries, God how he tries He just wants to make people happy, give them some comfort, give them some knowledge Unfortunately, knowledge has a tendency to make the Ruling Class squeamishly uncomfortable The Board of Trustees of Tarkington College, where our anti hero teaches after returning from Vietnam, actually tells an applicant for Professor of Physics that she would never, whether in class or on social occasions, discuss politics or history or economics or sociology with students And when Hartke is called to account by that same board for telling the truth of the world as he sees it, mostly unwittingly or while drunk, he is let go what you do to the Servant Class, while people in the Workforce are fired and Soldiers are discharged How he subsequently ends up teaching at the Black Prison across the lake run for profit by the Japanese at a fraction of the cost of the State s running of it , surviving a mass inmate escape, becoming mayor of his consequently abandoned ghost town, and eventually imprisoned in his own library and dying of tuberculosis forms the majority of the rest of the narrative.But the narrative is not nearly as interesting in my opinion as the landscape Hartke inhabits Published in 1990, the parasitic germs of Vonnegut s speculative future only ten years out had not only already been planted, but were already beginning to devour their host A country in which the Yen is a stable and accepted currency in the US of A alongside the dilapidated dollar got a wheelbarrow , a tank of gas costs a small fortune, the rivers are clogged with non biodegradable plastic bottles, and a new ice age is bearing down on it all.Some reviewers have said that Vonnegut tends to hit one over the head with the moral of his stories over and over again He does, but in such a thought provoking, and, indeed, sometimes hilarious way, that I wanted .On profanity profanity and obscenity entitle people who don t want unpleasant information to close their ears and eyes to you On the class system Down with the Ruling Class On joining the military to be put in a soldier suit and turned into a homicidal, suicidal imbecile in 13 weeks On the class system and joining the military not one of them the Board of Trustees had allowed a son or daughter to be sent over there Vietnam On being a teacher All I ever wanted to overthrow was ignorance and self serving fantasies On America human slavery has in fact, never gone away People want to come here because it is so easy to rob the poor people, who get absolutely no protection from the Government There are bridges falling down and water mains breaking because of no maintenance There are oil spills and radioactive waste and poisoned aquifers and looted banks and liquidated corporations And nobody ever gets punished for anything Being an American means never having to say you re sorry On the most brilliantly cruel and sadly realistic business scheme ever Microsecond Arbitrage, Incorporated That swindle claimed to be snapping up bargains in food and shelter and clothing and fuel and medicine and raw materials and machinery and so on before people who really needed them could learn of their existence And the company s computers, supposedly, would get the people who really needed whatever it was to bid against each other, running profits right through the roof And finally, an epitaph for the planet We could have saved it, but we were too doggone cheap I haven t read a book I loved this much in a long time In Hocus Pocus Vonnegut is at his best, walking the line between absurdism, satire, and tragedy with unsurpassed finesse It s not a story for everyone, because nothing in this story is sacred Even the Kennedy assassination isn t off limits The humor is grim, the characters often unpalatable, the outlook bleak What makes it so compulsively readable is Vonnegut s skill and insight as raconteur The non linear narrative seems at first to I haven t read a book I loved this much in a long time In Hocus Pocus Vonnegut is at his best, walking the line between absurdism, satire, and tragedy with unsurpassed finesse It s not a story for everyone, because nothing in this story is sacred Even the Kennedy assassination isn t off limits The humor is grim, the characters often unpalatable, the outlook bleak What makes it so compulsively readable is Vonnegut s skill and insight as raconteur The non linear narrative seems at first to jump from time to place at random, but in actuality leads the reader in smaller and smaller concentric circles until at last all the questions have been answered, the holes have been filled, the story has been told, and we ve arrived back where we started It s a narrative masterpiece disguised as a mess But evencompelling is the author s ability to give equal empathy to opposite problems On one page his narrator may lambaste the catastrophic lunacy of the Vietnam War, and on the next lament the plight of returning soldiers repudiated by their peers, with no less compassion So maybe nothing is sacred, or maybe everything is It s a testament to Vonnegut s tremendous talent that that s the question he provokes and leaves unanswered Is anyone in the right or wrong or are we all just human and therefore, intrinsically, both Vonnegut s writing seemed to growovertly autobiographical as he neared the end of his life Maybe that s not accurate, since he was inserting himself into his own narratives as early as Slaughterhouse Five Maybe I just notice iteasily now At any rate, this time he s literally present as the editor of this, an alleged work of found literature, and figuratively present in the character of Eugene Debs no relation , a veteran who worked at a college and has strong opinions about the h Vonnegut s writing seemed to growovertly autobiographical as he neared the end of his life Maybe that s not accurate, since he was inserting himself into his own narratives as early as Slaughterhouse Five Maybe I just notice iteasily now At any rate, this time he s literally present as the editor of this, an alleged work of found literature, and figuratively present in the character of Eugene Debs no relation , a veteran who worked at a college and has strong opinions about the human species and where it s headed.Compared to his early works, Hocus Pocus comes across as clumsy Perhaps he did not have the energy or patience to revise in the same way But clumsy Vonnegut writing is still head and shoulders above most There is a strong vein of bleakness throughout this book, which combines elements of Mother Night a main character, imprisoned, awaits trial for a crime he may or may not have committed with the brief, episodic snippets of Breakfast of Champions It carries a sense of tragic fatalism, of hopelessness, of tired resignation It seems to me his most cynical book, which is saying a lot There is little room for subtlety, I suppose, when you re a writer with a conscience who has lived through decade after decade and seen next to no improvement in society New technology, new gizmos and gadgets and ever compounding distractions, but the same essential errors in judgment and the same flaws in humankind s collective character It must have been frustrating.3.5 stars out of 5 It may not be his best, it may feel at times overlong, slow moving, underdeveloped, and certainly repetitive But in spite of its negative tone, overall it is quite charming, very witty, undoubtedly poignant, and eminently quotable The truth can be very funny in an awful way, especially as it relates to greed and hypocrisyKurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus Having read Timequake prior to reading Hocus Pocus these are his last two novels , I was glad I reveresed the order While I wasn t blown away by Hocus Pocus , it was moderately better than Timequake Hocus Pocus was a bit wide at the hips Vonnegut was covering a lot of ground with this novel He was looking at issues of race, war, economics, politicis, education, moneThe truth can be very funny in an awful way, especially as it relates to greed and hypocrisyKurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus Having read Timequake prior to reading Hocus Pocus these are his last two novels , I was glad I reveresed the order While I wasn t blown away by Hocus Pocus , it was moderately better than Timequake Hocus Pocus was a bit wide at the hips Vonnegut was covering a lot of ground with this novel He was looking at issues of race, war, economics, politicis, education, money, culure, prison reform, ptsd, marriage, death, intimacy, andThere were a lot of little punches by Vonnegut, but none were knockouts Two of the idiocycracies in this book 1 no swearing Vonnegut s narrator, aka the Preacher is an teacher, warden, and former Vietnam War officer, who is known as the Preacher because he doesn t ever swear, so Vonnegut mutes his language 2 No numbers written as numbers So, instead of writing one friend , Vonnegut s narrator writes 1 friend It all seems a bit forced and contorted for Vonnegut I prefer my KV unplugged a bit .A couple of my favorite Vonnegut quotes from this novelThe truth can be very funny in an awful way, especially as it relates to greed and hypocrisy Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance M an was the weather now Man was the tornadoes, man was the hailstones, man was the floods I think any form of government, not just Capitalism, is whatever the people who have all our money, drunk or sober, sane or insane, decide to do today Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math, that doesn t mean we deserve to conquer the Universe

Paperback  º Hocus Pocus Kindle ¼
  • Paperback
  • 322 pages
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
  • English
  • 06 March 2019
  • 0425161293