Books: And So It Went

HOCUS POCUS by Kurt Vonnegut; Putnam; 302 pages; $21.95

The knock against Kurt Vonnegut, back a couple of decades ago when he was a cult author, was that he pandered too glibly to the natural cynicism of the disaffected young. He was too quick, it was said, to detect the smell of society's insulation burning -- and to sigh "So it goes" -- when there was nothing more in the air than, say, a harmless whiff from a distant war or the neighborhood toxic-waste dump. No more; his news in Hocus Pocus is that our charred insulation no longer smolders. It...

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