Start reading Hocus Pocus (Kurt Vonnegut Series) on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 

Hocus Pocus (Kurt Vonnegut Series) [Kindle Edition]

Kurt Vonnegut
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $8.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
You Save: $2.00 (25%)
Borrow this book for free on a Kindle device with Amazon Prime. Learn more about Kindle Owners' Lending Library.
Join Prime to borrow this book at no cost.
The Kindle Owners' Lending Library gives you access to thousands of books, including New York Times bestsellers, to borrow and read for free.
  • Borrow a book as frequently as once per month
  • No due dates — keep books as long as you like and return them when it's time for something new
  • Read on any Amazon Kindle device

Amazon Prime members also enjoy:
  • Unlimited streaming of thousands of popular movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video
  • FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items, with no minimum order size

For more information about the Kindle Owners' Lending Library visit our help page.

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 50%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.

Whispersync for Voice

Now you can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible audiobook. Learn more or scan your Kindle library to find matching professional narration for the Kindle books you already own.

Add the professional narration of Hocus Pocus (Kurt Vonnegut Series) for a reduced price of $1.99 after you buy this Kindle book.

Highly Rated Book Club Picks
Discover your next great read with a selection of highly rated books on Kindle. Learn more

Book Description

Eugene Debs Hartke (named after the famous early 20th century Socialist working class leader) describes an odyssey from college professor to prison inmate to prison warden back again to prisoner in another of Vonnegut's bitter satirical explorations of how and where (and why) the American dream begins to die. Employing his characteristic narrative device--a retrospective diary in which the protagonist retraces his life at its end, a desperate and disconnected series of events here in Hocus Pocus show Vonnegut with his mask off and his rhetorical devices unshielded.

Debs (and Vonnegut) see academia just as imprisoning as the corrupt penal system and they regard politics as the furnishing and marketing of lies. Debs, already disillusioned by circumstance, quickly tracks his way toward resignation and then fury. As warden and prisoner, Debs (and the reader) come to understand that the roles are interchangeable; as a professor jailed for ""radical"" statements in the classroom reported by a reactionary student, he comes to see the folly of all regulation. The ""hocus pocus"" of the novel's title does not describe only the jolting reversals and seemingly motiveless circumstance which attend Debs' disillusion and suffering, but also describe the political, social, and economic system of a country built upon can't, and upon the franchising of lies.

At 68, Vonnegut had not only abandoned the sentiment and cracked optimism manifest in Slaughterhouse-Five, he had abandoned any belief in the system or faith for its recovery. This novel is another in a long series of farewells to the farmland funeral rites of childhood.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) is one of the most beloved American writers of the twentieth century. Vonnegut's audience increased steadily since his first five pieces in the 1950s and grew from there. His 1968 novel Slaughterhouse-Five has become a canonic war novel with Joseph Heller's Catch-22 to form the truest and darkest of what came from World War II.

Vonnegut began his career as a science fiction writer, and his early novels--Player Piano and The Sirens of Titan--were categorized as such even as they appealed to an audience far beyond the reach of the category. In the 1960s, Vonnegut became closely associated with the Baby Boomer generation, a writer on that side, so to speak.

Now that Vonnegut's work has been studied as a large body of work, it has been more deeply understood and unified. There is a consistency to his satirical insight, humor and anger which makes his work so synergistic. It seems clear that the more of Vonnegut's work you read, the more it resonates and the more you wish to read. Scholars believe that Vonnegut's reputation (like Mark Twain's) will grow steadily through the decades as his work continues to increase in relevance and new connections are formed, new insights made.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Author Kurt Vonnegut is considered by most to be one of the most important writers of the twentieth century. His books Slaughterhouse-Five (named after Vonnegut's World War II POW experience) and Cat's Cradle are considered among his top works. RosettaBooks offers here a complete range of Vonnegut's work, including his first novel (Player Piano, 1952) for readers familiar with Vonnegut's work as well as newcomers.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Among the most original stylists in America today, Vonnegut vents his disgust and moral outrage with government and humanity and the entire universe in yet another scathing social/political/philosophical satire. Set in the year 2001, but jumping over the last half of the 20th century, Hocus Pocus takes on an absurdist's perspective of human history. Protagonist Eugene Debs Hartke, West Point graduate, Vietnam vet, college professor, educator of the disabled and the illiterate, is awaiting trial for a crime initially unspecified. Until this time, Hartke has diligently and good-naturedly participated in whatever was expected of him, including involvement in the evacuation of American personnel from Saigon. At one point, however, he calculates the remarkable fact that he has killed exactly as many people as he has had sex with, a coincidence that causes him to doubt his atheism. The narrative is composed of short takes in which Hartke's thoughts skip between the inconsequential and the profound, giving Vonnegut occasion to interject interesting tidbits of information, scientific and historical and otherwise. The cumulative power of the novel is considerable, revealing Vonnegut at his fanciful and playful best. First serial to Penthouse; BOMC selection; QPB featured alternate.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

After you have read one of Kurt Vonnegut's gleefully pessimistic novels, his words go on colouring your world for a long time afterwards... not to read him would be to miss out on lessons that need to be learned about the age we live in' Sunday Times. 'It is all done with voice. Vonnegut is a master of the first-person, manic-depressive stand-up' Observer. 'Although it is set in the near future, Hocus Pocus is the most topical, realistic Vonnegut novel to date, and shows the struggle of an artist a little impatient with allegory and more than a little impatient with his own country' New York Times Book Review.

Product Details

  • File Size: 567 KB
  • Print Length: 340 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0425161293
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (August 21, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005IHWCLA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,725 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the shadow of Musket Mountain November 26, 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is probably my favorite of all of Vonnegut's works. It's the story of an ex-military man who becomes a teacher at a school for learning-disabled rich kids. He eventually is fired from the school for telling the students what an embarrassment it is to be an American, and he is hired by the prison across the lake. The story only gets more cynical and more sentimental from there. As each character dies, and so it goes, they are buried in the shadow of Musket Mountain when the sun goes down, a nice, poetic touch on this deeply sarcastic look at the American ruling class. I loved the alternative history lesson provided in this book, it's nice to see the positive side of American socialism and the potential it once held way back at the start of the 20th century. Hocus Pocus is one of those books I go back to ever couple of years and re-read...I like it that much.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Unlike the other Vonnegut novels that I have read, "Hocus Pocus" seems to come dangerously close to biting off more than it can chew -- and for the first half of the book it does. It takes a full hundred-and-fifty pages or so for Vonnegut to get a handle on all of the disparate themes that have crammed their way into this novel: racial strife, economic strife, the state of education in America, the follies of elitism, the de-humanizing effects of war (a Vonnegut favorite), love, sex, marriage, alcoholism, pride, honor, television, genetics and heredity, the outsourcing of American businesses, prison overcrowding, cultural identity ... believe it or not, I could go on. "Hocus Pocus" is too much of a hodge-podge, and it doesn't seem to know what it is trying to say or where it is drawing your attention at first. Thank goodness the second half of the book is a marked improvement. It actually ends up being enjoyable and says a lot of intelligent (if typically Vonnegut) things.

Still, there are some other problems with "HP" that could potentially turn a reader off -- particularly if they are not accustomed to Vonnegut's unique brand of storytelling. Eugene Debs Hartke is not a compelling Vonnegut protagonist; he has the quirky personality, the jaded outlook that comes with experience and the moral ambiguity, but he is surprisingly boring when you consider that he's an ex-soldier renowned for his deft and brutal technique, a sex addict and married to an insane woman to boot. He just doesn't resonate the way a Billy Pilgrim, Kilgore Trout (who makes a sort-of appearance here when one of his short stories turns up, for all you tried and true Vonnegut fans out there), or Howard W. Campbell, Jr. do in their respective stories.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Porn and Vonnegut October 21, 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I never really considered the fact that Kilgore Trout's (Vonnegut's alter ego science fiction writing character) stories always appeared in pornographic magazines, until I saw an excerpt from Hocus Pocus in either Playboy or Penthouse, giving me an excuse to say I'd bought the magazine for its articles and stories.
It makes me wonder then about what this says about pornographic magazines. Maybe it suggests that many of them, in order to try to create an illusion of legitamacy, will take chances with literature that mainstream magazines might find to controversial.
Indeed Vonnegut's Hocus Pocus may seem controversial to some, for it talks about things that a large majority of Americans would be more comfortable ignoring. Just as the main character, Eugene Debs Hartke is fired from his teaching job for having overly pessimistic ideas, Vonnegut's book itself pulls America's skeletons out of its closet.
Perhaps what certain literature has in common with pornography, is the tendency people have to try to ignore what they both say about our society, to try to push it as far under the bed as possible.
Hocus Pocus picks at the scabs of not only America's greatest embarrassments, but also our greatest failures. Everything from television talk-shows to the Vietnam War, racism, classism, the death of our economy, and the overcrowding of prisons is laid bare in all its uncomfortable ugliness.
The difference however, between Hocus Pocus and a simple pessimistic rant, is Vonnegut's unique ability to make us laugh at it all, but without downplaying its seriousness at all. Overall it is a must read, for Vonnegut fans and for any American that wants to live honestly with him/herself.
Was this review helpful to you?
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book (And refutation to some reviws) January 1, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Let me first tell you that this is by far one of Vonnegut's best. The social commentary that is diguised in the form of satire is rather tremendous and poignant. It has definitely an anti-war flavor to it, but it never overshadows the real substance of the author's witticism. It's a funny book, but not "hillarious" as the back cover of this volume attests. From a different point of view, it's a rather sad book if you understand the implications of the subject matter. A very good book and would recommend to any one interested in modern and post-modern American prose.
Refutations:
* Vonnegut is a post-modernist, which implies that the book (or any work of art) can and more likely be free of classical rigidity. So, complaining that he jumps back and forth through time and places is not a good criterion to undermine this work.
* Repudiating this work because of Vonnegut's anti-war passages is as unfair as doing the same for say, Hemingway, O'Brian, Dalai Lama.
* This is a quinteseential post-moder work, and as said above, it should and does not need to conform to the cannonical rules of plot flow, time flow, and characater development. You could even call this book a Cubist work due to its subdivisions within chapters.
* This book goes much more than just war. It goes into love, sex, selling of American enterprises (and hence America) to foreign investors, race, class consciousness, and the attempt to keep the status quo by those who are ver well-off.
* This book is completely well structured. Your could easily read just one chapter and be as happy as reading the whole book. The chapters are self-sufficient and self-contained. The further chapters are elaborations of thing, characters and bits from preceding chapters.
* This is a GOOD book!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Instructions; place toungue in cheek and hold on
Classic Vonegut. Sharp, spicey, sarcastic. A fantasy tale of a real character of a protagonist. The names he creates are downright funny. Read more
Published 8 days ago by M. Duo
4.0 out of 5 stars I think I'll oder another
standard rambling of Kurt Vonnegut which he pulls together to make a story which is hard to put the book down.
Published 17 days ago by PLS
5.0 out of 5 stars hocus pocus
love kurt Vonnegut from past books and I was not disappointed. easy and interesting reading. I am glad I got this book
Published 1 month ago by brenda posey
2.0 out of 5 stars Reviewer's Age Makes a Difference
Some fifty years ago I found Vonnegut's writings witty and insightful. The world of my early twenties was arbitrary and unfair, or at least I thought it was so for me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Anthony Sorem
4.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting read.
If you are a fan of Kurt Vonnegut I would recommend reading this book by him.Although I have not finished reading it,I plan to.
Published 2 months ago by Lin Richard
4.0 out of 5 stars I like Kurt Vonnegut
I am one of those people who really like to read the things that are different or have to really be thought about as you read them. I like almost all of Vonnegut's writings.
Published 2 months ago by VampireLibrarian
5.0 out of 5 stars Education as prison, OH MY!
Wonderful.... Written in a style that draws you close and shakes one to the roots. Never knew what was coming next and my knowledge of prison and higher education is so much... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Further on the road
4.0 out of 5 stars an old fan
What I have come to expect from Vonnegut. Loved his references to himself and other books. One I kept thinking about well after finishing.
Published 2 months ago by 3ferts
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic vonnegut
interesting book. in true Vonnegut form I may read it several more times to determine true meaning. watch the ninja fly the airplane!
Published 2 months ago by Jobeth Bowers
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book
Rereading this because its been a while. It was the first Vonnegut book I ever read, and I enjoyed it all over again. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J.M. Snyder
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Book Extras from the Shelfari Community

(What's this?)

To add, correct, or read more Book Extras for Hocus Pocus , visit Shelfari, an Amazon.com company.


More About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922. He studied at the universities of Chicago and Tennessee and later began to write short stories for magazines. His first novel, Player Piano, was published in 1951 and since then he has written many novels, among them: The Sirens of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1961), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You Mr Rosewater (1964), Welcome to the Monkey House; a collection of short stories (1968), Breakfast of Champions (1973), Slapstick, or Lonesome No More (1976), Jailbird (1979), Deadeye Dick (1982), Galapagos (1985), Bluebeard (1988) and Hocus Pocus (1990). During the Second World War he was held prisoner in Germany and was present at the bombing of Dresden, an experience which provided the setting for his most famous work to date, Slaughterhouse Five (1969). He has also published a volume of autobiography entitled Palm Sunday (1981) and a collection of essays and speeches, Fates Worse Than Death (1991).

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?



Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 



Look for Similar Items by Category


ARRAY(0xa830f560)