Hocus Pocus (novel)
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First edition hardcover
|Publisher||Putnam Publishing Group|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback) and eBook|
Hocus Pocus, or What's the Hurry, Son? is a 1990 novel by Kurt Vonnegut.
The main character and narrator is Eugene Debs Hartke, a Vietnam War veteran and college professor, and carillonneur who realizes that he has killed exactly as many people as the number of women he has had sex with. The character's name is a homage to American labor and political leader Eugene V. Debs and anti-war senator Vance Hartke, both from Vonnegut's home state, Indiana. The novel is structured as if it were written on many scraps of paper and assembled afterwards, "The unconventional lines separating passages within chapters indicate where one scrap ended and the next began." Incidentally it actually was written on scraps. He started on a brown paper bag, and used several hundred scraps, of many different varieties during his writing.
Eugene Debs is fired from his job as a college professor after having several of his witticisms surreptitiously recorded by the daughter of a popular conservative commentator. Eugene then becomes a teacher at a nearby overcrowded prison run by a Japanese corporation and comes to know members of each community while reflecting on his own history and ensuring his own survival.