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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken…

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (original 1962; edition 2002)

by Ken Kesey

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17,44220599 (4.17)475
Title:One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Authors:Ken Kesey
Info:Penguin Classics (2002), Paperback, 312 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

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.
1960s (1)
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» See also 475 mentions

English (198)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  English (205)
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
God, that book was so important to me as a high school kid. I tried to re-read it though and the sexism made it really hard-going. It's one of those time-and-place books for me, crucially important but hard to recommend.
  Gordon.Edgar | Nov 29, 2016 |
4 stars ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
Set in a mental institution in the 1950s, this book is a revelation in the use and abuse of power. ( )
  FoxTribeMama | Sep 24, 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

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 | Sep 22, 2016 |
I was riveted while reading the first half, then things started to slip for me toward the end. Still a great book. ( )
  Tracy_Tomkowiak | Sep 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 198 (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 (4 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.
It's the truth, even if it didn't happen.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

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Wikipedia in English (2)

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

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)

» see all 18 descriptions

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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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