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Qualcuno volò sul nido del cuculo by Ken…

Qualcuno volò sul nido del cuculo (1962)

by Ken Kesey

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Title:Qualcuno volò sul nido del cuculo
Authors:Ken Kesey
Collections:Finiti, Read but unowned
Tags:narrativa, USA

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey (1962)

  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. 50
    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.
  3. 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)
  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
    Junky by William S. Burroughs (melancholy)
  7. 20
    The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle (slickdpdx)
  8. 32
    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  9. 10
    Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  10. 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)
  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. 11
    Blindness by José Saramago (st_bruno)
    st_bruno: per alienazione negli ospedali psichiatrici. Condizione umana
  13. 11
    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  14. 111
    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.
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Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
Ken Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was one of the most powerful books I have ever read. Although the story takes place mainly in a mental hospital, its ramifications can be felt in all of the broader society. The struggles depicted in the various characters, both internally and inter-personally, will give the reader pause and perhaps change your perception on life.

The story at its core encompasses the struggle between the individual (portrayed by Randall McMurphy) and the establishment (Portrayed by nurse Ratched.) It is told through the eyes of the schizophrenic half-Indian known as Chief Bromden. Bromden has pretended to be deaf and dumb for so long that everyone takes this fact for granted. It also allows him to overhear comments from the staff that others would not. The Chief is an interesting choice as narrator, and at times it seemed like he was rambling on about nothing. Unreliable narrators can be a touchy thing, but Kesey is able to navigate his way through the Chief's mind, and in time we find his ramblings have a purpose. He views the establishment as a machine, which he refers to as "the combine." He speaks of fog machines, wires in the walls, and robotic people, and views them as part of the combine. Even the name of the nurse, Ratched, sounds almost like "ratchet," which is a common tool. The Chief sees the struggle between the Big Nurse, as he calls Ratched, and McMurphy, and even though he has a sense right away that McMurphy is different, Bromden doesn't hold out much hope. After all, the combine is a massive machine and the Chief knows what it did to him. Bromden tells McMurphy he "used to be big," but not any more. The Chief's mother, a white woman from town, along with the government, broke down both he and his father and became bigger than both of them put together.

The antagonist is Ratched, an ex-army nurse who rules the ward with an iron fist. She preys on the weaknesses of the patients and attacks them in those areas. She is all about control and power, and over her long career has devised many ways of projecting this with a cold, machine-like efficiency. Ratched has hand picked her staff based on their cruelty and submissiveness. The Chief calls her "The Big Nurse," which reminds me of Orwell's Big Brother, and mentions early on that "The Big Nurse tends to get real put out if something keeps her outfit from running like a smooth, accurate, precision-made machine" (pg 24). Indeed the Chief sees her as a machine, part of the combine who's purpose is to make others small. Ratched represents the oppressive nature and de-humanization present in modern society.

And then there is Randle McMurphy. Sent to the ward from a work farm (because it's "easier" time), McMurphy comes in loud and confident. His singing and laughter are something new for the patients so used to suppressing their emotions. And he is definitely not the kind of patient the mechanical and repressive Nurse Ratched wants. It only takes McMurphy one group session to see Ratched's method of exposing the patient's weakest areas and pecking them into submission. Harding, the subject of the group meetings earlier frenzy, explains that it was all therapeutic. McMurphy, however, gives Harding his perception: "what she is is a ball-cutter. I've seen a thousand of 'em...people who try to make you weak so they can get you to...live like they want you to. And the best way to do this...is to weaken you by gettin' you where it hurts the worst" (pg 56). So McMurphy, ever the gambling man, makes a bet with his fellow patients that he would be able to make Ratched lose her composure, and he accomplished this by using her own tactics against her. As he pulls Bromden and the others out of the "fog" and makes them big again, McMurphy unwittingly becomes the savior of his fellow patients. It did not go un-noticed that the electroshock table was cross-shaped with the patient restrained by the wrists and feet and a "crown" placed over his head. When McMurphy rips Nurse Ratched's tightly starched uniform and exposes her breasts, he is symbolically exposing her hypocrisy and breaking the power she had once wielded over the patients. Chief Bromden's final act of mercy cemented Nurse Ratched's fall as well as giving McMurphy the dignity that he had earned.

Perhaps the largest piece of advice I pulled from this novel is to never let anyone or anything take your individuality. Society in general would like to have everyone fit into the same mold because then the people are easier to predict and control. However, we all need a McMurphy in our lives to show us that we can still be individuals and fit into society. And when The Combine tries to weaken you and make you conform, just throw your head back and laugh like McMurphy, "because he knows you have laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy" (pg 233). ( )
  NPJacobsen | Jun 26, 2016 |
When I first finished this book I really wasn't sure how I wanted to rate it or what I'd like to say about it.

For one thing, it's a classic - I'm sure just about everything that could be said in a review has been said, twice. Readers have flatlined and fawned over Kesey's unreliable narrator just as they've fumed and foamed over the hard candy coating of exhaustively rampant racism and misogyny exuded like time period tar from every corner and character of the book.

As much as I love sinking into a classic, that time period tar is a hard thing to swallow. I've experienced two schools of thought concerning classics and the lit teachers who love them; one past teacher was fond of the comforting, blindfolding adage, "it was a different time and place." Another teacher preferred saying something along the lines of, "the idiocy of our past should make us angry enough to whip our future into shape."

I was much fonder of the latter teacher. But even with that quote, or his many variations of it, rumbling through my mind at the head meet desk moments of classic novels, I can't help the thick layer of disappointment that tends to settle over me right after I finish such books. I want to experience the genius of past works, sure. But seeing intelligent notions war with human idiocy between covers is exhaustive and I can never seem to adequately express my frustration with any real finality because I just keep diving back into the sludge in order to enjoy the bits of shine that make themselves apparent from book to book.

Such as Kesey's ability to create an amalgamated force of energy with his cast of characters without the reader feeling lost in the issues of the individual or losing said issues. Or his ability to give us a cast of characters that are suffering from mental illnesses without making the illnesses, or characters, obnoxiously affected. The skill of Kesey's narration through Bromden so that the reader must delve into the nuances of Bromden's paranoid delusions in order to piece together the whole of not only the ward but Bromden's understanding of it and those around him.

Definite shine here.

Still, upon finishing the book my immediate reaction was more along the lines of a prolonged groan than anything else. So I gave the book a middling review, noted that I was on the fence about the book, and stuck the review on a shelf for the moment. Where it proceeded to poke and prod at me like McMurphy seeking an accomplice or Nurse Ratched niggling at potential narcs.

Because, based on the setting alone, Kesey's book poses an interesting difference from the normalcy of racism, misogyny, and bigotry in literary classics. From the very first we are brought into Nurse Ratched's ward by a narrator that is mentally ill. So what is the message of the racism and misogyny in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Is it just more of the same, a representation of the ignorant and self-defeating majority? Or is it as much a criticism of that majority in each of these areas as it is a criticism of the stamping out of individuality and the mechanization of rigid social constructs that has seemingly obliterated our ability to really grasp the chaos such constructs cause.

I'm probably reaching here. I want Kesey, a man revered for his involvement in the culture of the 60's, to have put forth that both racism and misogyny are just as crazy as the obliteration of individuality, shock treatments as therapy or punishment, lobotomies, or nurses that lack empathy and/or an ability to grasp the reality of mental illness for the individual.

Maybe that's what makes Kesey's work a classic. Because it hinges so drastically on perspective. You can take Kesey's characterization of Nurse Ratched and McMurphy's physical attack on her as an attack on femininity or a nod to the craziness of gender bias, the craziness that would make a man differentiate between a villain that is a woman or a villain that is a man - attacking the woman in answer to provocation while simultaneously disrobing her violently. You can perceive McMurphy as a relatively normal man who conned his way into what he thought was a preferable situation based on a naive notion of what a ward would be like or as someone suffering from a psychosis that is bolstered and intensified by the stressors of Nurse Ratched's unethical actions and a need to manipulate the system in order to feel in control and "normal." And as you pick up Bromden's broom and sweep between perceptions you might just find yourself on a similar ward where things are certainly changing but never quite fast enough or clearly enough for the sake of the Billys, Chiefs, Hardings, and McMurphys. ( )
  lamotamant | Jun 23, 2016 |

“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”

Mental illness is always sad, I don’t care how it’s portrayed. It’s a serious subject that only deserves serious treatment, but even the insane have a sense of humor.

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest worked so well because the characterization was firm, realistic, detailed, and perfectly coordinated to play out the story. Told through the narrative viewpoint of Chief Broom, a silent man who pretends like he can’t speak or hear, he relays the horrors of the institute, the rigidity of the rules weighed down under the iron thumb of Nurse Ratched. R.P. McMurphy swoons in to shake up the institution, inject life into the dead characters, dare against the rules, remind them of their immortality within mortality.

I’ve seen in discussions that perhaps ‘Big Nurse’ isn’t as bad as portrayed and that it was through the colored glasses of the characters that this picture was painted. That places like this only survive so well if placed under inflexible rules, stiff guidelines, no mercy for momentary lapses. The arguers have a point that adherence to rules and such must be used so that places where the mentally ill or dangerous dwell can be as safe as possible…but I disagree with their arguments about Big Nurse.

To me she is perfectly legal but perfectly horrid and immoral, a big problem about what is wrong with society, those in power who let it go to their heads, emotional sadism which sucks out its resources from those who don’t know how to defend themselves, those without strong voices rooting for their protection. I think most agree to hate "Big Nurse" and people of that vein, that those like her who cruelly suck the life and joy out of others are among the worse of people churned out by the human gene meat grinder.

Of course I knew already this would be sad – there was a spoiler for me. I hate spoilers with a passion, but in this case it at least cushioned the blow and I wasn’t as shell shocked. A bleak ending for a bleak subject, a bleak book, but there may be light at the end of the tunnel for one sole character?

On the downside, while I dug the story and characters, Ken Kesey’s writing isn’t my drug of choice. It was hard to get into the story due to the style, and I found myself irked by the subject matter because it’s something I get passionately enraged against in real life anyway.

Very gripping, emotional, disturbing book. Not without flaws, but the story itself won’t leave me.
( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
This book came highly recommended, and didn't disappoint. I knew the climax prior to starting the novel, but I can imagine the reaction of a reader coming in spoiler-free: with that foreknowledge, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is fantastic; without it, the experience of reading it would be truly incredible. ( )
  sippju01 | Jun 9, 2016 |
When two-bit con Randle Patrick McMurphy finagles his way into a mental hospital, he challenges authority and brings new hope to his fellow patients.

It has probably been more than 20 years since I last read this book, and it was a wonderful rediscovery. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it yet. The classics are often labeled “classic” for a reason, and this is just an amazing example of how good writing can be.

The story is told through the eyes of Chief, a patient in the mental asylum who pretends to be deaf and dumb. Chief doesn't see the world "normally," but he believes that what he sees is reality, a glimpse behind the curtain at how the world really works. This enables Kesey to insert powerful, affecting images that we know aren't objectively real, yet are real in the sense that they give us insight into the systems we create that imprison us and the innate human qualities can set us free. This is such a beautiful, inspiring book that I should reread it more often!

The title of the book is a line from a nursery rhyme,
Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn, Apple seed and apple thorn, Wire, briar, limber lock, Three geese in a flock
One flew East, One flew West, And one flew over the cuckoo's nest.

Chief Bromden's grandmother sang this song to him when he was young. Of course, the "cuckoo's nest" also refers to the mental asylum that is the setting for the novel. ( )
  sturlington | May 25, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
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 (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kesey, Kenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bash, KentIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oddera, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palahniuk, ChuckForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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. . . 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."
They're out there.
It's the truth, even if it didn't happen.
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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.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451163966, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:42 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

An inmate of a mental institution tries to find the freedom and independence denied him in the outside world.

(summary from another edition)

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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141187883, 0141024879, 0143105027, 0141037490

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An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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2 editions of this book were published by HighBridge.

Editions: 1598870521, 1598875108

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