Friday, January 09, 2009


Throw in wit - lots of it, a middle age man who flaunts his promiscous ways, a crazy wife and MIL to boot, a school, a prison, a straightfaced prison warden, some crazy criminals and you get Hocus Pocus.

I had never set out to get this particular book in the first place, and as I might have mentioned before, some books look for me In this case, I had read one line of about the death of the author on a blog, and was thinking of reading him after seeing a Wikipedia entry on him. About a year and a half later, I see Vonnegut on a book spine alongside book spines labelled with Pratchett, and as they say, the rest is history.

The book introduces us to the life and loves of Eugene Debs Hartke, a Vietnam war veteran who married a lady who turned crazy later on. His kids hate him for procreating because it is most likely they will turn crazy someday too. He narrates his life weaving us into his adventures back and forth through the war, his life as a college professor in a school for those with studying difficulties, talks about the bells, his life as a prison teacher and his conversations with the prison warden who then becomes his neighbour, to the time he does some time in a local prison as an inmate. His ultimate goal, however, is to list the number of people he had killed during the war as well as the number of women he had slept with all his life. Throughout his journey, no doubt slightly tragic at times, we are entertained with his quirky thoughts and typical 'just my luck' situations. To top it all off, there is a quiz at the end of the book that could most probably make you go 'huh?' That was an interesting touch.

I found Vonnegut's writing captivating and hilarious at the same time and regret that I only found out about him because he died. This is the kind of book you should NOT read during a train ride or when you're in a public place unless you're not the kind of person that gets embarrassed laughing out loud in public.


  1. I knew the author sounded familiar...Slaughterhouse five, which was a good read too--not funny at all though. Lately I was thinking that I shouldn't read any more fiction, but you've just made we wanna read that book! I'll most probably if I can find it in English. Have a good weekend! :)

  2. Fiction is one thing I don't think I could ever leave. I might want to read slaughterhouse five someday, if I can find it...
    You have a good weekend too :)


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