Vonnegut Book Club: Hocus Pocus

By 1990, Kurt Vonnegut had a pretty good grasp of what he was doing. Since 1950 he had written 12 novels, 4 plays, 4 collections of short fiction and non-fiction, not to mention countless other articles and unpublished stories and essays that are still getting released today.

One (misguided) criticism of his writing though: he cursed too much! In 1973, a North Dakota high school burned his books as a result of his "obscene language."

So, with 1990's novel Hocus Pocus, Vonnegut pulled out all the stops and penned his most ambitious work to date. Not only would it be his most intricately woven non-linear story, but he avoided all swear words (except for "hell" and "God"). In pure Kurt Vonnegut style, though, he made the story as horrible and violent a representation of humanity as possible. Like a Cormac McCarthy novel -- with jokes!

Join the Kurt Vonneguys Alex Schmidt and Michael Swaim as they deconstruct Hocus Pocus, dissect its themes, its art and have the most fun possible while doing a math riddle on a podcast.

Plot Time (00:02:00)

VonneART (00:09:30)

VonneMATH (00:51:25)

Kurt Blurt (00:55:30)

Kurt Cameo (01:16:10)

Recurring Characters Update (01:17:30)

The Meat (01:20:00)

VonneWHAT (01:28:45)

VonneGRADES (01:40:30)

Related Reading (01:45:25)

Vonnegut News (01:53:50)

Related Reading:

MC Frontalot - 80085

Focus - Hocus Pocus (Live)

Brazil (Movie)

The Vietnam War (Ken Burns; PBS)

Lillian Hellman - The Children's Hour (Text)

The Children's Hour (Movie)

Voltaire - Candide

Kurt Vonnegut Complete Stories