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Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

Sometimes a Great Notion (1964)

by Ken Kesey

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English (34)  French (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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 |
Dear God. Never before have I read a book in which I simultaneously think, "this motherfucker can WRITE" and "this book is so tiresome I'm going to die". Swiftly changing perspectives which only later show themselves to be genius, cannily crafted passages that change the reader's sympathies, and a death scene that breaks one's heart like no other. And so much rain. I'm soggy with the rain.

I read this book bc of book group. And we all hated her a lot until we realized we loved this goddamn book like no other. We still often talk about it at meetings, years later. Seriously, we do. What an impact it's had on me. Then I recommended to my brother and now HE'S obsessed with it. Which is also fun.

Read this goddamn book. ( )
1 vote jjaylynny | Nov 12, 2016 |
An intellectually challenging read. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Sep 29, 2016 |
I live in the Northwest. My bookish friends have said to me, “What? You live in the Northwest and you’ve never read SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION?!” Well now I have. The 628-page classic, written by Ken Kesey of the Merry Pranksters group, has become seared into my brain. Published in 1964, the plot revolves around the fictional Stamper logging family who reside along the Oregon coast.

The setting is the mid-1900s, when loyalty still meant something. The logging industry, as dangerous as ever, also faced challenges in unions and strikes. The story itself is told in an ever-changing, and sometimes challenging, POV between the main characters of Hank Stamper, the oldest son, Lee, the half-brother of Hank, and to a lesser extent Old Henry, the patriarch. In the Stamper family there swirls the permeation of orneriness, perseverance, resolution, and obliviousness, among other attributes.

The mythos of brotherly love is also put to the test. Lee, having been on the East coast since the age of twelve, returns to the family home in Wakonda as a young man bent on settling a score.

A wide variety of characters inhabit the small town of Wakonda and they all have important struggles within themselves. The local prostitute, Simone, struggles with her religious background. Willard, a quiet man with a secret, struggles with a life-altering decision. We each have our own struggles and in that, we can closely relate with some of these people.

Mr. Kesey grew up in Oregon and he describes the flora and fauna in exquisite detail:

In the deer-grass meadows the long last of the summer’s flowers take long last looks through the fall’s first frost at the dark garden of stars and wave their windy good-bys: the spiderwort and blue verrain, the trout lily and adder’s tongue, the bleeding heart and pearly everlasting, and the carrion weed with is death scented bloom. In the Scandinavian slums at the edge of town bloodroot vines reach garroting fingers for knotholes, warpholes, and window sills. The tide grinds piling against dock, dock against piling.

It was a bit disconcerting to have the POV changing so often, especially when it happened two or three times in one paragraph, but it was an interesting effect when the heat was turned up and the pace of the thoughts ran faster as well.

A build-up of a feeling of dread was pervasive about mid-way through the book and it was not unwarranted.

The characters were entirely believable and fleshed-out. Joe-Ben was a favorite goof-ball and the thoughts of bar-owner Teddy were circumspect.

SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION is very much worth your effort to read. ( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
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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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039865, Paperback)

The magnificent second novel from the legendary author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Following the astonishing success of his first novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey wrote what Charles Bowden calls "one of the few essential books written by an American in the last half century." 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 family's rivalries and betrayals Ken Kesey has crafted a novel with the mythic impact of Greek tragedy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:06 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A bitter strike is raging in a small lumber town along the Oregon coast. Bucking that strike out of sheer cussedness are the Stampers: Henry, the fiercely vital and overpowering patriarch; Hank, the son who has spent his life trying to live up to his father; and Viv, who fell in love with Hank's exuberant machismo but now finds it wearing thin. And then there is Leland, Henry's bookish younger son, who returns to his family on a mission of vengeance - and finds himself fulfilling it in ways he never imagined.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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