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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest [Paperback]

Ken Kesey
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (281 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1976
An international bestseller and the basis for a hugely successful film, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was one of the defining works of the 1960s. This version of the novel is bound with the traditional cover.

A mordant, wickedly subversive parable set in a mental ward, the novel chronicles the head-on collision between its hell-raising, life-affirming hero Randle Patrick McMurphy and the totalitarian rule of Big Nurse. McMurphy swaggers into the mental ward like a blast of fresh air and turns the place upside down, starting a gambling operation, smuggling in wine and women, and egging on the other patients to join him in open rebellion. But McMurphy's revolution against Big Nurse and everything she stands for quickly turns from sport to a fierce power struggle with shattering results.

With One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Kesey created a work without precedent in American literature, a novel at once comic and tragic that probes the nature of madness and sanity, authority and vitality. Greeted by unanimous acclaim when it was first published, the book has become and enduring favorite of readers.


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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest + A Clockwork Orange + Fahrenheit 451: A Novel
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Product Description

From Library Journal

Kesey's new introduction to this anniversary edition could very well be the last thing he worked on before shuffling off this mortal coil in 2001. Additionally, 25 sketches he drew while working at a mental institution in the 1950s, the inspiration for the novel, are littered throughout. Critics are divided on the meaning of the book: Is it a tale of good vs. evil, sanity over insanity, or humankind trying to overcome repression amid chaos? Whichever, it is a great read.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Kesey can be funny, he can be lyrical, he can do dialogue, and he can write a muscular narrative. In fact there's not much better come out of America in the sixties... If you haven't already read this book, do so. If you have, read it again' SCOTSMAN --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars i couldn't put it down, it really drew me in... Feb. 10 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is phenomenal. The way that Ken Kesey has developed the characters drew me in to the book, and made me eager to see what would happen as the plot developed, I could hardly put it down and was always dying to pick it back up. At times the book is sad, at times hilarious, but all the way through it created a real emotional connection for me. This, in my opinion, is one of the keys to excellent fiction. Another of the keys to excellent fiction is when the reader can read it as a metaphor for larger issues and ideas. This book is packed with themes that question what insanity is, in a world that seems to be insane (another one that would tie in pretty well with this is Joseph Heller's "Catch 22"). The whole book deals with issues of authourity and control, and the efforts of powerless people to regain control in their lives.
I believe this book is based on Ken Kesey's experiences working as a janitor in an asylum or mental health institute. His life and personality are fascinating, he seems to have been an absolutely amazing man. Another amazing book, which is based on Ken Kesey, is "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" by Tom Wolfe... it depicts the adventures of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, who drove through America taking loads of acid and giving it to people they met along the way. I would highly recommend "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" to anybody and everybody, and I would also highly recommend not to watch the movie. I couldn't even get through it, and it really is a great example of a movie that does injustice to the book it is based on. If you must watch it, read the book first so that you don't know the story and ruin the experience of reading this excellent book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgetable -- and Brilliant! July 22 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In his attempt to convey what he believed to be "the essentially schizophrenic nature of mankind," Kesey, rather than telling the tale from the perspective of an uninvolved "God-Narrator," or from that of R. P. McMurphy, who might have been too involved in the main action, opted to present the story from the point of view of one of the psycho ward's bystanding schizophrenic inmates; "the Big Chief."
By telling the tale through the Chief's schizophrenic eyes, Kesey was able to, not merely "tell" the tale from an "eye witness perspective," but actually "show" the tale in a sort of "poetic-sensurround;" the reader would come to understand and appreciate the healing effect provided by McMurphy's inspiring individualism as the Chief's narration became progressively less "schizophrenic," and more concrete and objective as the story moved forward.
Additionally, it gave Kesey a viable way to provide the story with a mystical, supernatural quality. This, in turn, enabled him to give full force and effect, through the Chief's altered perception, to his allegoric and metaphoric symbolism; allowed him to have the Chief see and hear impressionistic and imaginary stimuli as though they were solid objects and real actions and occurrences, allowed him to turn the verbal and mental sparring between McMurphy and Nurse Ratched into epic battles waged between mythical, larger-than-life titans, between the very forces of good and evil itself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One-Of-A-Kind! May 19 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Chief Bromden has been a patient in the Mental Hospital for years, but has always been known as the guy who never speaks or hears anyone. He spends most of his time there sweeping and cleaning the ward, and over hearing everything that goes on around him. One day, Bromden watches a new patient join the ward, Randal P. McMurphy, who is a large and outgoing man who had himself committed to avoid doing work on a prison farm. McMurphy instantly gains a hatred toward the Head Nurse, Nurse Ratched, a deceiving and evil woman who has claimed a Dictatorship over her ward as well as the entire hospital. McMurphy plays mind games with Ratched, the ward Doctor, and his fellow patients as the story goes on, gaining the patients' respect and making Ratched determined to make him quiet and slow like all of the others. McMurphy's hatred grows so much, that he will go to any extent to over power Ratched, which is where I will stop as this leads forth to the shocking and vengeful conclusion. This is really a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Truly a book that everyone must read! Also recommended: "THE LOSERS' CLUB: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez -- an odd, often funny and strangely moving book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgetable -- and Brilliant! July 1 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In his attempt to convey what he believed to be "the essentially schizophrenic nature of mankind," Kesey, rather than telling the tale from the perspective of an uninvolved "God-Narrator," or from that of R. P. McMurphy, who might have been too involved in the main action, opted to present the story from the point of view of one of the psycho ward's bystanding schizophrenic inmates; "the Big Chief."
By telling the tale through the Chief's schizophrenic eyes, Kesey was able to, not merely "tell" the tale from an "eye witness perspective," but actually "show" the tale in a sort of "poetic-sensurround;" the reader would come to understand and appreciate the healing effect provided by McMurphy's inspiring individualism as the Chief's narration became progressively less "schizophrenic," and more concrete and objective as the story moved forward.
Additionally, it gave Kesey a viable way to provide the story with a mystical, supernatural quality. This, in turn, enabled him to give full force and effect, through the Chief's altered perception, to his allegoric and metaphoric symbolism; allowed him to have the Chief see and hear impressionistic and imaginary stimuli as though they were solid objects and real actions and occurrences, allowed him to turn the verbal and mental sparring between McMurphy and Nurse Ratched into epic battles waged between mythical, larger-than-life titans, between the very forces of good and evil itself.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What I expected.
What I received was exactly what I expected. It was almost in perfect condition put I'm sure transportation probably caused the slight bend at the bottom right corner (or if not it... Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2011 by Sabrina
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book gets a bit of a bad rap for apparently racist overtones, but I strongly disagree with those remarks. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2010 by Booklover
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book made better
There is no need to review this novel. It's an acknowledged masterpiece. What's even better is this edition. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2010 by P. Buehler
5.0 out of 5 stars Both book AND movie are great
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST is often said to be allegorical in its depiction of the rebel versus the establishment, but that aspect of it doesn't really interest me because... Read more
Published on March 7 2006 by Farnold Arnsworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Great characterization and writing style. The characters were well developed and portrayed, the antagonists were destestable, and one really cared for the protagonists. Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2005 by Katherine
5.0 out of 5 stars Looney tunes
Great writing coupled with wit, shock, insight, and wonderful pacing, in the grand tradition of books like "Slaughter House Five" or McCrae's "The Children's Corner," ONE FLEW OVER... Read more
Published on March 8 2005 by ThomsEBynum
5.0 out of 5 stars Call me crazy
Call me crazy, but I like books dealing with anything psychological be it the looney bin or just good old "not quite right" people walking around. Read more
Published on July 24 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books ever
Easily my favorite book. There are 4 or 5 characters that are so interesting that they could have written an entire book about them alone. Read more
Published on July 15 2004 by Grant Lankard
4.0 out of 5 stars One flew east, one flew west...
The novel is told in the first-person from the POV of Chief Broom. Early on, it becomes clear that he is the "unreliable narrator" in the Edgar Allen Poe sense. Read more
Published on June 19 2004 by JR Pinto
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