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Hocus Pocus

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Hocus Pocus

evaluări:
3/5 (886 evaluări)
Lungime:
387 pages
6 hours
Lansat:
Nov 19, 2015
ISBN:
9786063302961
Format:
Carte

Descriere

„Unul dintre cei mai de seamă romancieri americani contemporani.“ – (Graham Greene)


„Teribil de amuzant... La fel de bun precum cele mai bune romane ale sale, Leagănul pisicii, Abatorul cinci...“ – (John Irving)


„Un adevărat triumf. Probabil cel mai bun dintre romanele sale.“ – (Joseph Heller)


„Romanul cel mai actual, cel mai realist din câte a scris Vonnegut. Un mare scriitor satiric și un moralist pus pe șotii.“ – (The New York Times)


„Vonnegut este George Orwell, doctorul Caligari și Flash Gordon, amestecați laolaltă într-un singur scriitor – un savant dement, caraghios, dar de o înaltă ținută etică.“ – (Time)

Lansat:
Nov 19, 2015
ISBN:
9786063302961
Format:
Carte

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  • (5/5)
    Kurt Vonnegut is a favorite author of mine, so I was eager to start reading (re-reading in some cases) his novels. I'm completely biased, a big Vonnegut fan, and I loved this one. This book is pretty bitter, lots of funny, and a look at the death of the American Dream. It ain’t pretty.
  • (4/5)
    Hocus Pocus is definitely worth your time. Though the style of the book is difficult to get used to at first it tells a very interesting story of a Vietnam war veteran, professor, and prison employee. The main character tells his story in such a way that it doesn't seem to span 300 pages. Vonnegut, as usual, is very creative in more subtle ways. For example, his play on numbers and passive mentions of things that resurface later. All in all a great book for Vonnegut lovers and strangers alike.
  • (4/5)
    Hocus Pocus is definitely worth your time. Though the style of the book is difficult to get used to at first it tells a very interesting story of a Vietnam war veteran, professor, and prison employee. The main character tells his story in such a way that it doesn't seem to span 300 pages. Vonnegut, as usual, is very creative in more subtle ways. For example, his play on numbers and passive mentions of things that resurface later. All in all a great book for Vonnegut lovers and strangers alike.
  • (4/5)
    A pretty cynical and satirical view of what the future in the US will hold. Written as a first person account with the usually hysterical dark humor so common to Vonnegut. Given the results of the 2016 US election, this book might even be a bit prophetic, although not accurate in detail.
  • (4/5)
    For the most part this feels like Vonnegut took a bunch of parts from other books and spliced them together into a new book. The jailhouse narrative from Jailbird, the slow apocalypse of Cat's Cradle, the soldier recovering from war like Slaughterhouse-V, and so forth. That doesn't mean this is bad, just that it seems like it's covering a lot of familiar territory. But while it came out about 20 years ago it's talk of corporate greed remains just as relevant. And if you change most of the mentions of Japan to China it would largely reflect our current world.

    That is all.
  • (4/5)
    I've never read Vonnegut before. This was a sharp, biting satire against most of society. The author had served in Vietnam, and I think that it was his experience there that came through clearly in his writing and made the satire seem almost too bitter to me. (Though, God knows, I'd be bitter, too!).Still, it was an interesting read, and I would definitely try his work again. It was an extremely clever book which lived up to its title. At the end, I had the feeling that the author was playing a great joke on his readers, which I'm sure was intentional and brilliant.
  • (2/5)
    Not one of his better efforts. The more things change, the more they stay the same? What was the point? I really wasn't sure. The perpetual motion of a world feeding on its own inadequacies and eccentricities, perhaps? And I, unlike the protagonist's friend from Vietnam, did not have to laugh like hell.
  • (4/5)
    "Thank you for sharing that with me" -- reply to the Hiroshi, the warden of the private prison, who wanted his neighbor to know that he survived Hiroshima. He got out of a ditch and nobody was alive but him. [320]. And of course, there was the showing of the Rape of Nanking films to the inmates. A fascinating dystopia of many-layered realities.
  • (3/5)
    This is first person account of a fairly ordinary sap caught up in a series of events. The outlook is cynical, the main character is uninspiring, but there is a certain charm here. The main question of the book, which is never directly stated, seems to be something like, "Why do people continually have to be so stupid?"
  • (4/5)
    One of KV's last novels, but still on his game. Amazing, 40 years of writing, and the brilliant imagination was still there. Japanese corporations running overcrowded prisons, etc... "Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math, that doesn't mean we deserve to conquer the universe."
  • (4/5)
    Loved this book. Interesting story written in Vonnegut's original style, but there is also some important commentary about the Vietnam war.
  • (1/5)
    This was a pain to read.
  • (5/5)
    "Any form of Government, not just Capitalism, is whatever people who have all our money, drunk or sober, sane or insane, decide to do today."''Hocus Pocus'' is first-person narrative told by Eugene Debs Hartke, West Point graduate and Vietnam War veteran told in retrospective and written on scraps of paper whilst in prison.Hartke is thoughtful about his war record but not tormented by it and is quite candid about the number of people he killed or had killed on behalf of his Government nor the many official lies he dispensed whilst an information officer. After leaving Vietnam and the Army he is recruited by his old commanding officer to become a physics teacher at Tarkington College in upstate New York, an institution that specializes in nurturing the moronic sons and daughters of the ruling class.After years in tranquil academia Hartke is fired from the college for being too pessimistic and thus unpatriotic by rich and powerful accusers who never actually served in the military themselves. As he explains, ''I see no harm in telling young people to prepare for failure rather than success, since failure is the main thing that is going to happen to them.''On dismissal from the college Hartke finds employment just across the lake at the former state prison, which is run for profit by a Japanese corporation and operates it much more efficiently and profitably than the state did. ''Poor and powerless people, no matter how docile, were no longer of use to canny investors.''The prison is populated entirely by black inmates after a Supreme Court ruling that it was inhuman to confine one race with another so the entire prison population escapes, during a gang operation to break out an individual drug dealer and crosses the frozen lake to the Tarkington campus taking the college's Governors hostage. Believing that blacks were incapable of planing a prison break, Hartke is arrested as the leader of the uprising and incarcerated himself.In Hartke's America most of the country's companies and institutions has been sold to foreigners, who feel like invaders in business suits, and what is left is broken down and depleted where black markets and racial and social inequalities are epidemic. On the face of it this could be seen as a cynical and sarcastic critique of his own country. Yet it isn't totally pessimistic as there are also glimpses of compassion. I felt that Hartke was excellent characterisation. He wasn't without his faults but he does have some redeeming traits. "My own feeling is that if adultery is wickedness then so is food. Both make me feel so much better afterward." Therefore he comes across as being very human a fact enhanced by the almost conversational style to the writing. The story is told with shifting timelines, is erratic at times and occasionally goes off on tangents. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book feeling a mixture of emotions whilst doing so, some times laughing at others cringing and as such feel that it deserves to be more widely read.
  • (4/5)
    Took place in the future, had a lot to do with a prison. Eugene Debs Hartke is telling about his life. Had a rather silly ending.
  • (5/5)
    Kurt Vonnegut is a favorite author of mine, so I was eager to start reading (re-reading in some cases) his novels. I'm completely biased, a big Vonnegut fan, and I loved this one. This book is pretty bitter, lots of funny, and a look at the death of the American Dream. It ain’t pretty.
  • (2/5)
    A Vietnam vet writes an odd, disjointed memoir. As in other Vonnegut novels, the story jumps around in time, focused on one slightly anti-establishment man in his later years who observes the world around him with a slightly alien gaze. I wasn’t too impressed with this one; there’s no plot, of course, and I didn’t like the main character or want to read about him.
  • (4/5)
    I can't say that this is one of Kurt Vonnegut's best works. To be honest, it's rather more depressing than many of his other novels - and they're a rather depressing lot anyway! Unlike his Bluebeard, though, this book lacks a deeply moving and somehow uplifting ending. It lacks a sense of resolution...perhaps that's what Vonnegut intended. It probably is.

    But even so, Vonnegut retained his gifts as a writer. So although I found myself frequently feeling a little depressed by this book, I also couldn't stop reading it - and I'll eventually read it again.

    One thing that's almost shocking is the accuracy of Vonnegut's "future" (2001) America. Environmental collapse (from glaciers instead of global warming, but close enough), an ever-increasing gap between the rich and the poor, a desperate energy crisis, booming prison populations and the privatization of prisons, the wholesale purchase of American businesses and properties by foreign businesses, chronic unemployment caused by the demise of American industry, no healthcare for the poor...and that's just from memory, I know there was more. The seeds of all these trends were not only planted but sprouting back in 1990 when Vonnegut wrote this, but even so he paints a pitiless and frighteningly accurate picture.

    It's nice to see a few of his old favorite characters in the book; it gives a feeling of continuity. And he retained his wicked wit and imagination. It just seems that they were being overshadowed by the essential bleakness of Vonnegut's worldview - a worldview which, I fear, was only too clear.
  • (2/5)
    Inside this mess is a good story: a Vietnam vet with a sex addiction worked at an odd college that was next to a huge prison. Due to the addiction he was fired, and went to work at the prison. There was an escape, and the quirky college was overrun by inmates, and our "hero" was blamed. I usually don't give away so many plot details in my reviews, but this plot was not important to Vonnegut when he wrote the story. What was important? Satire, social commentary, and other intellectual stuff that does not impress me, but know others will enjoy. I did enjoy the piece about "The Protocols of the Elders of Tralfamadore," and the stuck elevator/coming home from the Vietnam War analogy.
  • (3/5)
    Hocus Pocus is a hodge podge of curiously disjointed bits of thought undeniably arranged in a flowing order originally written on bits of paper and post-it notes. A despicably likeable main character stuck in a bureaucratic mess forces him to confess his delightfully funny past actions in vain hopes of keeping his cushy job. Lots of random humor kept me on my toes.
  • (5/5)
    I will preface my review by saying that Kurt Vonnegut is not for everyone. Personally, I love the subject matter he writes about and his style. However, I know quite a few people that wouldn't be able to get through two chapters of this.Hocus Pocus doesn't have much of a traditional plot; if anything, it's more of a character study of Hartke, the main character in the novel. Like the summary says, it's a fictional autobiography. For some readers, it may be slow going because of this, but there's plenty of action and drama to keep interest.It's hard to give a review of Hocus Pocus, because it's so different from most novels. I will say that I loved it and found it highly entertaining. Vonnegut tackles a lot of issues in this novel -- environmental concerns that are eerily accurate for a book written in 1990, the effects that war has on a person and a nation, bureaucratic power games, etc. I liked the numerology aspects that are included, though the ending gave me a bit of a headache trying to figure out; I'm sure it's much easier when you're actually reading the book rather than listening to it being read. Even though it's definitely depressing (which is to be expected from Vonnegut), I found myself chuckling at many of Hartke's observations and at the weird things that have happened in his life.There was one thing and one thing only that bothered me about Hocus Pocus. There were quite a few references to Slaughter-House Five. Hartke mentions "some author" who wrote about Trafalmadorians and goes on to mention them multiple times throughout the second half of the novel. I didn't think these references added anything to the story -- in fact, they took me out of the story because I kept wondering why Vonnegut couldn't think of anything else to reference besides his own novel.George Ralph's performance is astounding. His tone is perfect for this book. For the humorous, satirical parts, he speaks as if he's serious, but somehow still makes it known that the words aren't meant to be taken literally. Hartke came alive for me because of Ralph's narration, and I'm sure I wouldn't have enjoyed Hocus Pocus as much had I not listened to this audiobook.
  • (4/5)
    I have read a lot of Vonnegut, and Hocus Pocus is pretty typical in its anti-war, social satire of the world we live in. However, I found it to be atypical in that it is much more cynical than the other Vonnegut novels that I have read. That isn't to say that all of his novels aren't cynical, but Hocus Pocus finds a Vonnegut that has almost written off the world.Through his protagonist, Eugene Debs Hartke, he pokes fun at the idea that we are somehow intelligent creatures, "the ruling class," and the idea that there is a god. Then, he turns around and has his character make decisions out of fear that their might actually be a Judgment Day and portrays certain members of "the ruling class" in a positive light. He even has one of his characters point out towards the end that a particularly pointed characterizations of Yale and other ruling class universities "might have been a little harsh."Basically, Vonnegut is cynical but inconsistent in the viewpoints expressed in this book. He comes across as the satirical muckraker who has suddenly realized that he might not have all the answers. He is an atheist, but we should be careful just in case there is a god. The ruling class is made up of plantation owners forcing the rest of us into slavery, but that might be a little harsh. It's these frequent contradictions that make this such a fascinating read. No one has all fo the answers. Not even someone who has as spent as many years observing all of the things that make us what we are as Vonnegut had.
  • (3/5)
    This is the first Vonnegut novel I've read and enjoyed it to the point of wanting to read more of his work. I enjoyed the observations of his main character though I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps it's because it seemed more like an editorial of American life than a story.
  • (4/5)
    Sometimes, you may be tempted to feel that, once you’ve read one Vonnegut novel you have read them all. Do not fall in that trap. Yes, he uses many of the same tools and tricks. Yes, he even uses some of his favorites from other books (Tralfamadore reappears briefly in this novel.) Yes, he continues to brush with science fiction even though he refuses to be called a science fiction writer. But that is just a man who has found the style that is his own - and is continuing to explore the many ways it works.In other words, each Vonnegut novel feels comfortable, yet still amazes. This one is no exceptionThe book is a collection of the notes Eugene Hartke has written while waiting for trial in the library of the college where he used to work. They are written on any scrap of paper he can find, so some are paragraphs long – others are single words. This is the conceit Vonnegut uses so he can write in his typically disjointed, synchronistic way. We eventually learn of Hartke’s time working in the college, his eventually firing, his time working in the nearby prison, and how he responds to the prison break that takes over the town and the college. Hartke also explores his own past, including his time in Vietnam. This allows Vonnegut to speak to one of his favorite passions – the problems with war. But never underestimate Vonnegut. He does not write about the horrors of war to speak badly about war; he is speaking about the broader issue of the ways people mistreat people. And that is very evident throughout this book.There is a cast of memorable people and weird events that, as only Vonnegut can do, gel perfectly. And it is set in the very near future so, while things seem almost normal, there are subtle little shots (e.g. prisons are now segregated, the Japanese are running most of the country, the militia is the only thing keeping any control, Brooklyn may well have tried to secede) that remind you that Vonnegut is manipulating the universe to his own ends.One last note – book blurbs are always fascinating. This book has many that refer to the book being hilarious and a scream. Reading these quotes, one expects to spend the entire reading experience laughing out loud. I’m sorry, that is not Vonnegut. Rather, Vonnegut is satiric comedy that will keep you smiling while being fed the sermon. This is one more of his lessons that goes down very well.
  • (4/5)
    If you’ve read Vonnegut, you’ll already know his distinct blend of irony and satire. If you’ve never read him, this is a good place to start. The humor in the narrative had me laughing out loud, while at the same time cringing from the truth conveyed.I’ll leave you with the last line of the book to give you a taste (don’t worry, it’s pretty much impossible to ruin a Vonnegut book by explaining the plot or looking at the last page first):"Just because some of us can read and write and do a little math, that doesn’t mean we deserve to conquer the Universe."How true.
  • (1/5)
    True Vonnegut style, with some humorous moments, but truly a bitter book -- I was so depressed on finishing it. Yes, there are a lot of things that don't work in America, but this book was so full of hate for American things that I have to reciprocate with an equal amount of dislike.
  • (2/5)
    It's the story of a man facing death who is slowly retelling his life upon scraps of paper. There is an underlying humor that makes you both pity and sympathize with him. And in the end, he seems almost to measure his life not in days but in people he killed and women he slept with, which in the end...might be how we all measure our lives. The small things don't stick...they don't matter. The people who die, the people you love, they are what make you.
  • (4/5)
    Interesting. Fun. And best of all...bizarre. R.I.P. Kurt, your readers miss you.
  • (3/5)
    Hocus Pocus introduced me to many various now-familiar aspects of KV's writing. The many colorful characters, the unimpressive schlub protagonists who are in so many ways their own antagonists, the incredibly intriguing and imaginative scenes that he paints so effortlessly (a child in Hiroshima who bends over to pick up a ball in a ditch feels a woosh of warm air across his back as he does so, then stands up to see a wasteland of devastation from a nuclear bomb), the witticisms that could and should be taken as genuine advice ("profanity and obscenity entitle people who don't want unpleasant information to close their ears and eyes to you"), all marinated in his own distinct brand of humor.I was a late-comer to Vonnegut, this being the first book I read by him. I finished it roughly a month before his death, and it saddened me to have discovered such an amazing author so near his twilight. I was saddened still more by reaching backwards through his career, and in doing so I gained some good perspective for my review of this book.Hocus Pocus was, to me, infinitely better than the average dreck you might pick up in the bookstore. I think it would hold its own against most of of the top ten bestsellers at any given moment (for the thoughtful reader, not necessarily for the airplane readers). But I've learned from what little I've started to explore of his older books that Hocus Pocus is really just average for Vonnegut. Yes, this is average for him. This is homeostasis. This is no insult at all. His average is still so very much better than most books out there. But seeing as how it's his average, I'd say it's a great place to start in on his writing. This book is a great way for any curious reader to introduce themselves to Vonnegut. No need to throw yourselves into his greatest hits right away. I personally don't think you can go wrong picking up anything by the man.
  • (5/5)
    My favorite of all of his works. If you are a Vonnegut fan then this is a must read.
  • (4/5)
    the more vonnegut i read, the more i enjoy him! i have to admit, however, i don't always get 100% of the satire and refrences- but i got enough of it to understand most of it! i liked how i never really knew where the story was going and how it kept me on my toes. this is one of his newer novels, but it still had the same great story telling. i really liked the ending- it was well deserved and left me satisfied. (and i love how both john irving and joseph heller are quoted on the cover!- you know it's a good book when two of your favorite authors say so!!!)