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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Penguin Classics)by Ken Kesey
Synopses & Reviews
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 an enduring favorite of readers.
"A glittering parable of good and evil." The New York Times Book Review
"This is an allegory with a difference, the difference being found in the very method of composition, in the bi-tonal technique of terrible realism in conjunction with a profound and searching parable of government and the governed." Richard A. Jelliffe, Chicago Tribune (1962)
"[A]s a work of fiction, for background, for story, for strong writing that holds harsh humor, anger and compassion, and, most of all, for the creation of Randle P. McMurphy, this is a first novel of special worth."Rose Feld, New York Herald Tribune (1962)
"A work of genuine literary merit. 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." Martin Levin, New York Times Book Review (1962)
"[Kesey's] book is a strong, warm story about the nature of human good and evil....[A] roar of protest against middlebrow society's Rule and the invisible Rulers who enforce them." Time (19620)
"Powerful, poetic realism...makes the tired old subject of life in a mental hospital into an absorbing Orwellian microcosm of all humanity." Life
"Mr. Kesey has created a world that is convincing, alive, and glowing within its own boundaries....His is a large, robust talent, and he has written a large, robust book." Saturday Review
A visually arresting deluxe edition of Ken Kesey's counterculture classic
Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey's 1962 novel has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Now in a new deluxe edition with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk and cover by Joe Sacco, here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them all imprisoned.
Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the seminal novel of the 1960s that has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.
This edition includes a new foreword by Kesey, a new text introduction by Robert Faggen, and line drawings the author made when writing the book, many never before published.
About the Author
Ken Kesey was born in Oregon. He graduated from the University of Oregon and later studied at Stanford with Wallace Stegner, Malcolm Cowley, Richard Scowcroft, and Frank O'Connor. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, his first novel, was published in 1962. His second novel, Sometimes a Great Notion, followed in 1964. Kesey's Garage Sale provided a highly personal portrait of the author and his friends, with whom he shared many extraordinary experiences in the sixties.
His third novel, Demon Box, was published in 1986. Caverns, by O. U. Levon (Kesey and the thirteen members of his graduate writing seminar at the University of Oregon), was published in 1989. The Further Inquiry, a screenplay examining Neal Cassady and the 1964 voyage of the bus Further, with 150 color photographs by Ron "Hassler" Bevirt, was published in 1990. His two childrens books are Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear (1990) and The Sea Lion (1991). His novel Sailor Song was published in 1992. His most recent novel (with Ken Babbs) was Last Go Round (1994).
He passed away in Eugene, Oregon, on Saturday, November 10, 2001. He was 66 years old.
Table of Contents
Sketches by Ken Kesey vii
Introduction by Robert Faggen ix
Part One 1
Part Two 127
Part Three 173
Part Four 223
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