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Hocus Pocus [Paperback]

Kurt Vonnegut
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

17 Oct 1991
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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (17 Oct 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099877104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099877103
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was a writer, lecturer and painter. He was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. During WWII, as a prisoner of war in Germany, he witnessed the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers, an experience which inspired Slaughterhouse Five. First published in 1950, he went on to write fourteen novels, four plays, and three short story collections, in addition to countless works of short fiction and nonfiction. He died in 2007.

Product Description

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)

"He is a satirist with a heart, a moralist with a whoopee cushion, a cynic who wants to believe" (New York Times)

"Hocus Pocus is, of course, extremely funny. Jokes are told, deadpan and whiplash-sharp; neat, compulsive little anecdotes with stings in the tail jostle one another down the page" (Sunday Correspondent)

About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. During the Second World War he served in Europe and, as a prisoner of war in Germany, witnessed the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers, an experience which inspired Slaughterhouse-Five. He is the author of thirteen other novels, three collections of stories and five non-fiction books. Kurt Vonnegut died in 2007.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, excellent writer 10 Feb 2008
By A Buyer
Format:Hardcover
I had never even heard of Kurt Vonnegut until being stuck in a car during a road-trip across California with only an LA Times to read - which happened to have a 2-page feature on the author just after he died. A few weeks later I ordered one of his books on the off-chance it might be good, and in the months following then I have been devouring his body of work, and recommending his books to anyone with an interest in reading.

Hocus Pocus is possibly my favourite so far, although in saying that I have not read a bad one yet. As with all Vonnegut's books, this is filled with cynicism, pessimism, tragedy, distrust of authority, brutal honesty and cutting character assinations (of character types if not of real people). Yet for all that, the humour, invention and underlying humanity of the man means this is never a depressing read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and true 12 Aug 2008
By Pablo K
Format:Paperback
One of Vonnegut's best - up there with Mother Night and (almost) Cat's Cradle. With a wry eye for comedy and an unimpeachable feel for pacing, our hero somehow manages to convey what is both farcical and revolting in the normal state of human affairs. Funny and true.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Vonnegut 12 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I discovered Kurt Vonnegut the same year he died. It wasn't through the news of his death but a quote I saw on a website, of all places, that intrigued me.

After that I read Man Without a Country so I wasn't a typical fan reading his work beforehand, I read about the person behind books like Slaughterhouse Five and Cat's Cradle. I fell in love with the thoughts, theories and opinions of Kurt Vonnegut and of course fell in love with his work once I began reading it. Kurt Vonnegut was a man who had such imagination and such a view on the world that it's easy to capture his thoughts and look at the world through different eyes.

Hocus Pocus or, What's the Hurry Son? Is set in the near future (the book was published in 1990) and you follow a man and his story on how he became a prisoner across from his old place of work in Tarkington College. Inbetween you are being filled with background information, history and views of the place in which this character lives. Pretty soon you are in a world filled with details on his work, his family, his colleagues, his love and his fear. As always Vonnegut makes sure we get the picture, he's also the first author where I can imagine exactly how the story plays out in my head. His style of writing is magnificent.

It may not be his most famous work but I still think Hocus Pocus or What's the Hurry Son? is a must read for any fan of Kurt Vonnegut. You may even find a character that's came up in previous Vonnegut books.

Blink and you'll miss it but don't miss out on this great read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A League of its own 6 Oct 2007
Format:Paperback
This is my 3rd novel from this writer and I have come to the conclusion that Vonnegut's novels are a form onto themselves. Adjectives like good or bad don't apply. His novels simply are. You do not perceive any literary or stylistic attempt. There is only this voice, seamless (the highest possible praise to a craftsman I believe), telling you about sad stories which are also so extraordinarily funny. Funny because in Vonnegut's world, everything is meaningless and the human race's stupid persistence and naÔve belief in its own rights and superiority is entertaining to watch. At least if you manage to avoid the bombs. He may be unduly pessimistic and has certainly been proved wrong many times (the USA has not so far been bought out by the Japanese), but who cares, it is his vision of life that matters and it would do good to everybody to have a dose of his light-hearted pessimism.

Incidentally, Hocus Pocus is about the Vietnam War and the decline of the USA's economic might in the 1980's and it is a great book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars American society as seen by Vonnegut 19 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback
Vonnegut's incisive writing never ceases to amaze and entertain me.

Here he is as cynical, bitter and critical as always but one can't help enjoying his funny divergent perspective of reality.

Read this one and you will find yourself questioning a lot of what is happening in the society around you as you follow the life and worries of a Vietnam veteran. Excellent book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Marvo darvo 29 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I would rather just leave some stars than write an entire review. Who do Amazon think they are? Blurb snuff.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut on form... 18 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
A typically witty, easy to read, yet brilliantly subversive novel from the master of satire. As with most of his works, this story by Vonnegut appears on the surface to be the simplest of tales. However, the actual story, while entertaining and captivating in its own right, provides a veneer for a bitingly sarcastic insight into the insanity of the modern world. Endlessly quotable and thought provoking, this is a book which will work for both established Vonnegut readers and those trying him for the first time. Not his best book, but a good accessible place to start.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not a gripping read! 3 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Rather a tedious book with the story line continuously anticipated; not as well written as I had come to expect.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Is there hope for mankind?
Vonnegut's style is unconventional and idiosyncratic. He defies convention and in this tale, the story is fragmented both literally and figuratively by the 'fact' that it's... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Bookie
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Vonnegut
This is a very amusing and thought-provoking book. Published in 1990, it is set in a very recognisable 2001, with the US prisons full to bursting.
Published 7 months ago by J_R_Blaisy
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
An easy read but with limited purpose and direction. Simple as a quick reader and with some interesting ideas. I Won't be reading more by Kurt but don't blame him.
Published 8 months ago by Colster
5.0 out of 5 stars what a great read
An excellent example of Kurt Vonnegut writing. It's sad to think there are no new books coming form such a good writer.
Published 9 months ago by P. G. Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended reading for nitwits
Ever since my introduction to Vonnegut's work (via The Universe Versus Alex Woods) I have become something of a Vonnegut obsessive. Read more
Published 10 months ago by V. G. Harwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Funny, sad, poignant and thought provoking all wrapped up in one wonderful book. Gives a unique perspective on politics, family, duty and what we (i. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Summyv
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and funny masterpiece
This is the first book I have read by mr Vonnegut and I'm blown away. Dark as the night it had me giggling like a maniac while reading. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jan Patrik SahlstrÝm
5.0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut at his best.
This Vonnegut book I had somehow missed when it was published in 2003.
It is vintage Vonnegut and it makes one feel the loss caused by his death last year. Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2010 by T. P. Van Meij
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