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Sometimes a Great Notion (1964)

by Ken Kesey

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2,414384,280 (4.21)173
The magnificent second novel from the legendary author of "One Flew Over the Cuckooas Nest" Following the astonishing success of his first novel, "One Flew Over the Cuckooas Nest," Ken Kesey wrote what Charles Bowden calls aone of the few essential books written by an American in the last half century.a This wild-spirited tale tells of a bitter strike that rages through a small lumber town along the Oregon coast. Bucking that strike out of sheer cussedness are the Stampers. Out of the Stamper familyas rivalries and betrayals Ken Kesey has crafted a novel with the mythic impact of Greek tragedy.… (more)
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» See also 173 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Logging, union organizing, brotherly strife in the backdrop of an Oregon timber community on the coast. ( )
  addunn3 | May 7, 2020 |
This was hard to get into, but once you are in it's a wild ride that is full of thrills, rustic scenery, simple and complex living at the same time, logging, capitalism and a bunch more things thrown into the mix to keep things vivid, realistic, and interesting. For those interested in Kesey, this should be on your reading list and for those interested in modern classics- this should serve as, definitely, something for you to read.

3.5 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Jan 1, 2020 |
My second novel by Ken Kesey and the author's second novel published in 1964. It tells the story of a logging family in Oregon. They are a small logging operation that works independent of larger operations selling to a local mill. This is set in the fifties/sixties and there is movement to unionize and the Stamper family is blocking progress in the opinion of the people in the community.

Kesey took the title from the song "Goodnight, Irene", popularized by Lead Belly.

Sometimes I lives in the country
Sometimes I lives in the town
Sometimes I haves a great notion
To jump into the river an' drown

I enjoyed this study of family, of Oregon, and of logging. The book features the father Henry who started the operation and his two sons, half brothers Hank and Leland. There is a long standing animosity between the two brothers. Leland, who has lived out east, has returned to exact revenge on his brother Hank.

The story is a bit hard to follow perhaps as there are many shifting POV. I listened to the audio, read by one person, and that made it a little harder at times to know who was speaking (or thinking) but over all I was able to engage with this story. I think I like it even better than his well known novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. ( )
1 vote Kristelh | May 13, 2019 |
We're in God's pocket, men. ( )
  AaronJacobs | Oct 23, 2018 |
I got about a third of the way through and lost interest. I don't expect I will pick it up again. ( )
  ramon4 | Nov 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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To my mother and father –
Who told me songs are for the birds,
Then taught me all the tunes I know
And a good deal of the words.
First words
Along the wester slopes of the Oregon Coastal Range ... come look: the hysterical crashing of tributaries as they merge into the Wakonda Auga River ...
Never give a inch!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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