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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (original 1962; edition 1963)

by Ken Kesey (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
18,902227118 (4.17)518
Member:hishahn
Title:One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Authors:Ken Kesey (Author)
Info:PENGUIN PUTNAM INC USA (1963), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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. 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 (2)
Satire (21)
Read (29)
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» See also 518 mentions

English (219)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (226)
Showing 1-5 of 219 (next | show all)
Loved it. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is told from Bromden’s perspective, a native american everyone assumes is deaf and illiterate. He has been at the asylum the longest and roams around the ward cleaning while overhearing conversations. A newcomer McMurphy is the main focus of the story, he is loud and rebellious. He tries to get the others to lighten up and likes to test the main rigid nurse. He gets to her and gets the other men to rise against her as well. They are constantly battling each other, trying to get the best of the other, Bromden get’s to witness a lot of the planning and the events unfold. McMurphy gets Bromden to talk and Bromden is shown a way out of the fog being around him. The final showdown between McMurphy and Big Nurse is a much awaited match and it is a worthy ending.

This book is just about perfect. I loved that it’s told from Bromden’s view and that he’s just in the background in most of these scenes that he’s witnessing. Even though Bromden isn’t the main character the plot is around he still very insightful about what he is seeing and his past. It can be hard to understand what he is talking about at first, but it becomes easier. I loved the relationship between McMurphy and Bromden, it’s so simple. McMurphy is obnoxious, but you root for him. He’s doing these guys some good. The Big Nurse is a uptight, but she’s doing her job and trying to make it go smoothly, so you also understand where she is coming from. Seeing these two butt heads and test each other is funny but tense. The ending is crazy, even though I had a feeling what was going to happen, I kept willing it not to happen. But even what I thought wasn’t the full ending. It’s beautiful ending in its way. ( )
  wellreadcatlady | Oct 4, 2018 |
Much more satisfying (funnier and sadder) than the film version! ( )
  leslie.98 | Aug 27, 2018 |
If you can read this novel without squirming, you are a stalwart soul. It is so realistically horrific that it made me shudder. Kesey begins his story with an almost lighthearted humorous view of McMurphy, the fly in Big Nurse's ointment, who can stir up the quiet of the men's ward at the state insane asylum. But, he rapidly takes us beyond that to a realization that McMurphy is treading a dangerous road and playing a game in which he doesn't truly understand the rules or recognize the stakes.

Kesey makes a serious statement about abusive authority, and I felt a tightness form around my heart as I thought about the control Big Nurse has and how devoid of compassion she is. The men on the ward receive more of what they need from McMurphy than they do from any of the staff, and while none of the men on the ward improve at the hands of the doctor or nurse, McMurphy gives many of them the will to live. He surely breaths life back into Chief.

Finally, Chief as narrator is inspired. He should be a very unreliable narrator, being an inmate of the asylum. He tells us himself of his hallucinations, but we come to realize that he is the perfect silent observer and understands more of what lies beneath events than one would expect. He hears and sees everything and he foreshadows the ultimate outcome, even as he frees himself from the "fog" that the institution imposes upon him.

This novel has earned its reputation as a modern classic. While the movie was very well done, I think the book has even more impact. Despite having some rough edges and being set in an environment we would hope does not any longer exist in this guise, its message is not dated at all. The Nurse Rached's of the world are still out there. It will continue to be a meaningful read well into the future. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
Read this book, and have also watched the movie - the movie has NOTHING on this book, so, please do yourself a favor and read the book even if you've seen it on the big screen. Don't get me wrong, the movie is great - if you've already read the book, it's amazing to see it come to life. And, yes, I know Jack Nicholson is pretty, but STILL! Read the book, too!

The book crafts these incredibly vivid images of despair, torture, and sadness that you FEEL as if you are watching a film. It's an incredible story of mental illness, friendship and the camaraderie between these patients and the strength of the human spirit. I laughed out loud several times, and I cried even more.

Set in a mental asylum in the ’60s, McMurphy, our "anti-hero" is sent to stay, because he wants to avoid prison. He is not "crazy" - and it becomes a power struggle between him and "the system" (and in particular, an extremely power hungry nurse). There are so many layers to this story, and I hungrily peeled through them all and am sure if I read this again, I'd find many more layers. ( )
  Bookapotamus | Jun 27, 2018 |
life in a mental ward, 1960s, all male; great moments; disturbing view of women ( )
  margaretfield | May 30, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 219 (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 (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kesey, Kenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bash, KentIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehmusoksa, RistoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oddera, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palahniuk, ChuckForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
. . . one flew east, one flew west,
One flew over the cuckoo's nest.
— Children's folk rhyme
Dedication
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.
Quotations
It's the truth, even if it didn't happen.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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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 24 descriptions

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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

HighBridge

2 editions of this book were published by HighBridge.

Editions: 1598870521, 1598875108

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