One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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Penguin Books, 2002 - Fiction - 281 pages
1753 Reviews
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. 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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I loved the writing and the ending was satisfying. - Goodreads
I disliked the plot. - Goodreads
The imagery is so vivid, it's amazing. - Goodreads
Kesey seems misogynistic in his depiction of women. - Goodreads
A great insight into the true meaning of human sanity. - Goodreads
It was hard to read because of absence of chapters. - Goodreads

Review: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

User Review  - Vishal Misra - Goodreads

"One flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo's nest." Kesey's novel remains one of the most powerful novels I have ever read, and this is a book that I can't recommend enough to all. Set in ... Read full review

Review: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

User Review  - Rick - Goodreads

Read Cuckoo's Nest long ago, and wanted to read it again as I'm playing a role in a production and wanted to compare the characterizations and plot between the two. There are many changes necessitated ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Ken Kesey was born in 1935 and grew up in Oregon. He graduated from the University of Oregon and later studied at Stanford with Wallace Stegner, Malcolm Cowley, Richard Scowcroft, and Frank O' Connor. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, his first novel, was published in 1962. His second novel, Sometimes a Great Notion, followed in 1964. His other books include Kesey's Garage Sale, Demon Box, Caverns (with O. U. Levon), The Further Inquiry, Sailor Song, and Last Go Round (with Ken Babbs). His two children's books are Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear and The Sea Lion. Ken Kesey died on November 10, 2001.


 Robert Faggen teaches at Claremont McKenna College.

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