Hocus Pocus, by Kurt Vonnegut is a precious piece written from the first person perspective of Eugene Debs Hartke: a young man who grew up from a ravage teenager bent on weed, booze, and jazz, to find himself in a life changing event after entering a science fair leading him into a sexually promiscuous and pessimistic retired general of Vietnam while teaching the wealthy un-teachables at Tarkington College.
It’s the same ole Vonnegut anti-war novel, anti-racist, anti main-stream, with several lines of story converging into one blissful ending, on the readers part. Though, in this novel it seems to focus on, not only anti-war with the grotesque images and the stupidity of those who initiated and carried it, but the cultivation of American soil sold off by and by from the so called “elite” in hands with a ‘sensible’ vision that they withdraw themselves from being ‘American’.
Throughout the book, it just uncorks a historical understanding through the use of events, memories, and characters, and oh by god I love the characters. You will even fall for the most minor of characters as they are given an exotic backdrop, personality, and some issue that they face in society to which any reader can either relate to or put into retrospective.
The ‘black humor’ does not escape the novel and it isn’t overpowering as the readers make it their opportunity for when they are reading to seek out and try to understand the messages deeper than predicated. But, stage to stage the audience is given an ‘item’ to grasp and hold on to, whether it be a character, an idea, or thing because it is continually brought up in one way or another: and that truly is the remarkable lovability readers have with Vonnegut’s method of story telling.
From the upbringings of Eugene, to the battlements in Vietnam, to the love sessions and teachings in Tarkington, to confrontational impetus of prison walls, you will be harrowed into a dream of a sweet ole black humor.
However, to be honest, the book doesn’t pick up until mid-point. I believe when he was writing, it took him a while to think of the elaborate characters and story lines to which he confidently mudslides into a story you can’t seem to put down.
You will go off, screaming the dramatic ironies that make up this country of AMERICA. Screaming from building to building, bringing the illuminating light to the shaking insides of your orifices. To scream, to shout, to discover unknown facts of human history as told so humorously as Vonnegut. To cough, to sulk, to laugh, you are the chooser of the destiny in which you read. AMERICA WE WILL SHOUT… And ask “The FUCK?”
The dramatic events that unfold, the history you learn from the start begin to coincide into a ridiculously funny and thought-provoking tale of Eugene Debs predicaments when “the excrement hits the fan”.
It even has a math puzzle at the end.
It’s clearly evident that I am fascinated by Kurt Vonnegut’s books, and for good reason.