Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962)

by Ken Kesey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
20,142243123 (4.16)539
He's a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the ward of a mental hospital and takes over. He's a lusty, profane, life-loving fighter who rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Big Nurse. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women; at every turn, he openly defies her rule. The contest starts as sport (with McMurphy taking bets on the outcome) but soon it develops into a grim struggle for the minds and hearts of the men, into an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Big Nurse, backed by the full power of authority ... McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will.… (more)
  1. 70
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey may be paired with A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess or The Outsider by Albert Camus. All three novels explore the them of society versus the individual.
  2. 40
    Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates by Erving Goffman (BeeQuiet)
    BeeQuiet: When reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest there were two books that immediately sprung to mind, both non-fiction and the latter of which I'll post above. I think anyone captivated by the relations in this book, particularly the way in which the inmates are made to perceive themselves will get a huge amount from this book. It's wonderful, and Goffman has a very lucid, accessible way of writing, which certainly helps.… (more)
  3. 51
    Screw, a guard's view of Bridgewater State Hospital by Tom Ryan (fundevogel)
    fundevogel: A first hand account of the physical and psychological abuse of inmates at the Bridgewater Prison Hospital.
  4. 30
    Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason by Michel Foucault (BeeQuiet)
    BeeQuiet: Furthering on my Goffman recommendation, Foucault here details what he sees as being the movement from "treatment" of the mentally ill through more violent means through to what is described in Kesey's book as "infinitely more human methods". What is shown through Foucault's work is that whilst leaving no physical marks, turning man against man and reducing one's sense of self can be seen as even worse.… (more)
  5. 30
    Cool Hand Luke: A Novel by Donn Pearce (slickdpdx)
  6. 20
    The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle (slickdpdx)
  7. 20
    Junky by William S. Burroughs (melancholy)
  8. 10
    Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (sturlington)
  9. 32
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  10. 10
    Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  11. 21
    Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy (AriadneAranea)
    AriadneAranea: Another chilling account of life in a US mental hospital - with a science fiction twist and a feminist angle.
  12. 32
    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey may be paired with The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks or even Awakenings by the same author. All three books explore the idea that once a person becomes ill or is institutionalised, they lose their rights and privileges.… (more)
  13. 11
    Blindness by José Saramago (st_bruno)
    st_bruno: per alienazione negli ospedali psichiatrici. Condizione umana
  14. 11
    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  15. 112
    The Shawshank Redemption [1994 film] by Frank Darabont (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest can be paired with Frank Darabont's film The Shawshank Redemption based on Stephen King's short storyRita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Could also be paired with Dead Poet's society as well.
1960s (1)
Read (29)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 539 mentions

English (231)  Spanish (3)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (241)
Showing 1-5 of 231 (next | show all)
I'm glad I finally got around to reading this. It's a counterculture classic that has touched many more people besides the ones that first got it in 1962. It's popularity nearly single-handedly drove Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters across so many parts of the world, bankrolling the freedom-loving iconic hipsters that quickly became the more obvious foundation for the flower children, the druggies, and the peaceniks.

But first, it had to get popular. And it really hit a nerve.

The most obvious clue is the battle between Freedom and Institution. Coyote VS the Man. Chaos VS Order.

Hell, Mice Versus Men.

Nurse Ratched embodies order and needless institutional brutality while McMurphy does all he can to liven the lives of the people of this mental institution. Some will be there for their whole lives while others might get better, but for all of them, Nurse Ratched rules with an iron hand. What's the point about preventing the inmates from having a little fun? Watching the World-Series? Nothing! And yet this and so many other great conflicts arise and we know there will be a showdown.

Most of the novel is quite funny and it's easy to root for the humorous trickster as he does everything in his power to suck the marrow out of life and sometimes even show the others that they HAVE THE POWER to live a good life despite their horrible situations.

See the sixties rolling in?

Well, this novel is also a tragedy. No matter how satirical and funnily moving, its end message goes quite a bit beyond the grand escape.

I honestly find it rather disturbing how Ratched treats Billy and what his fate is, but I find that McMurphy's revenge is just as bad. Is this the result of an immovable force versus an unstoppable object? Or is it a message of overcompensation in powerlessness? Or is it simply WRONG? As in two wrongs make nothing like a right.

Chief Broom is easily my favorite character, however, and his final mercy is true mercy.

What can we bring home from this, however? That everyone is wrong? That the only good we can expect is a clean death?
Very sad.

But that begs the question... what novel pulled this off so clearly that we can See and Feel so much after a single read?

To think at one point this was one of the most banned books in the world. Silly people. The divide is real, but the seeds of our reality lie in these pages. We STILL need to work it out. Now more than ever.

We are the nuthouse.

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Made me cry. Made me sad. Made me want to take more control of my life and enjoy my freedom. If you consider it apart from the film it's an amazing work. The book McMurphy was waaay better than Jack Nicholson. Glad I read it. (I am typing this on a mobile device. That's why my review reads like Hemingway.) ( )
  gakgakg | May 28, 2020 |
One of the best reads Ive had in a long time. ( )
  agrawal-d | Mar 23, 2020 |
I read this book after seeing the movie adaptation of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and my initial response was the difference between book and movie; the book is from the viewpoint of a Native American mental hospital patient who (spoiler alert) pretends to be mute and deaf, and comments on a new patient named McMurphy and the results of his shenanigans.

Interestingly, I found the film version preferable to the book, not because the book is poor but because the film remains one of the finest put to celluloid. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Feb 13, 2020 |
Good book, great movie. ( )
  easytarget | Feb 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 231 (next | show all)
As a postgraduate student in the writing program at Stanford, Kesey was in on some early LSD experiments at a veterans' hospital, and Chief Broom's subjective vision is full of dislocations and transformations, but Kesey is systematic in fusing Christian mythology with the American myth of the white man and the noble red man fighting against the encroachment of civilization, represented by women. Though in modern society women are as much subject to the processes of mechanized conformity as men (some say more), the inmates of this symbolic hospital are all male, and McMurphy calls them "victims of a matriarchy." There's a long literary tradition behind this man's-man view of women as the castrater-lobotomizers; Kesey updated it, on the theory that comic-strip heroes are the true American mythic heroes, and in terms of public response to the book and to the stage productions of it he proved his point.

The novel is comic-book Freud: the man who achieves his manhood (keeping women under him, happy whores in bed) is the free man—he's the buckaroo with the power of laughter. Leslie Fiedler described Kesey's novel as "the dream once dreamed in the woods, and now redreamed on pot and acid." Kesey's concept of male and female is not so very remote from that in Mailer's writing, though Kesey celebrates keeping the relationships at a mythic comic-strip level, while Mailer, in his foolhardy greatness, delves into his own comic-strip macho.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew Yorker, Pauline Kael
The world of this brilliant first novel is Inside—inside a mental hospital and inside the blocked minds of its inmates. Sordid sights and sounds abound, but Novelist Kesey has not descended to mere shock treatment or isolation-ward documentary. His book is a strong, warm story about the nature of human good and evil, despite its macabre setting.
added by Shortride | editTime (Feb 16, 1962)
What Mr. Kesey has done in his unusual novel is to transform the plight of a ward of inmates in a mental institution into a glittering parable of good and evil.

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kesey, KenAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bartos, TiborTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bash, KentIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bofill, MireiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
David HughesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deutsch, MichelTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraggen, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kořán, JaroslavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koning, BertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krailing, TessaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehmusoksa, RistoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oddera, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palahniuk, ChuckForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pillau, VirveEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reilly, John C.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sacco, JoeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skogsberg, IngvarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verhoeven, WilAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
. . . one flew east, one flew west,
One flew over the cuckoo's nest.
— Children's folk rhyme
To Vik Lovell
who told me dragons did not exist,
then led me to their lairs.
First words
They're out there.
Black boys in white suits up before me to commit sex acts in the hall and get it mopped up before I can catch them.
It's the truth, even if it didn't happen.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
This is the novel by Ken Kesey.  Please do not combine this with any other version.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

No library descriptions found.

Book description
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) is a novel written by Ken Kesey. It is set in an Oregon asylum, and serves as a study of the institutional process and the human mind.
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.16)
0.5 5
1 30
1.5 10
2 142
2.5 35
3 693
3.5 180
4 1920
4.5 269
5 1984

Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141187883, 0141024879, 0143105027, 0141037490

HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

» Publisher information page


2 editions of this book were published by HighBridge.

Editions: 1598870521, 1598875108

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 146,739,223 books! | Top bar: Always visible