Another novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus. In the long list of topics that Vonnegut treats in his one is about the Vietnam warm class differences in the U.S. and the beauty of gloablisation. In his typical style of short chapters, in this case with even shorter sections that are given by the book presumably being written on random bits of paper, each of which gives a section, the protagonist Eugene Debs Harkte introduces himself and an endless number of sidenotes all of which are connected to some other in a unexpected ways.
The book was published around 1990, but Hartke introduces himself in 2001, after the world didn’t end in 2000, and while in prison. From this point of view he tells his life story, that first took him to Vietnam rather than to university and journalism. After being a killer and P.R. person there he goes on to be a school teacher at a school for stupid rich kids. Until some rich parents of stupid kids decide that his thinking isn’t clean enough for their offspring and dire him for other ‘offensive’ reasons. So he starts working at a nearby prison with black inmates which is run by a Japanese company with mostly Japanese workforce, trying to teach the inmates there. Things go well until a great prison break happens. But unlike most others Eugene isn’t really affected by this as the inmates actually like him and don’t hurt him.
But in addition to that there are many side stories and observations which are the more interesting and major part of the book.
OK, I admit it. It really was a whorehouse.
Lyle Hooper’s last words, I think we can say with the benefit of hindsight in the year 2001, might serve as an apt epitaph for a plurality of working adults in industrialized nations during the 20th Century. How could they help themselves, when so many of the jobs they or their mates could get had to do with large-scale deceptions, legal thefts from public treasuries, or the wrecking of the food chain, the topsoil, the water, or the atmosphere?