Tuesday, February 28, 2012

House of Mirrors - Kurt Vonnegut

Name: House of Mirrors
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Source: Look At the Birdie: Unpublished Fiction by Kurt Vonnegut
Story Number: 59
Detectives Carney and Foltz are on a mission to confront and question the hypnotic therapy specialist Hollomon Weems. Many wealthy women(widows) have disappeared without a trace but all of them were seen entering the therapist's house before they disappeared. A cat and mouse conversation ensues among the three men. It looks as though Weems is successful in hypnotizing the men just by his conversation and finally he reveals that his main aim in life is to find suitable solutions for the troubled souls - elimination of undesirable habits or unreasonable fears. And for those who don't see a good future, he makes them pass through the mirrors to go into a better life - and that's how the women have all disappeared into those mirrors.
Weems takes the detectives to the big upper floor circular room which is full of mirrors and tells them that all the women (and many people the police aren't looking for) entered a new life in that room. The detectives request for a demonstration from the doctor but he politely declines. What then follows is a series of revelations and surprises when the detectives try to arrest him - the detectives reveal that they themselves are hypnotists but they still find it hard to arrest Weems as he is controlling them through hypnosis, the third detective who has been hiding is summoned in but in a very short amount of time even the third one is hypnotized. A flurry of activity, crisp dialogue and mounting suspense leads the reader to the final twist, ending the story on a high note!

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