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Sometimes a Great Notion (Penguin Classics)


Sometimes a Great Notion (Penguin Classics) Cover

ISBN13: 9780143039860
ISBN10: 0143039865
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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Anna Jackson, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Anna Jackson)
Wow - crazy cool, dense, long, one of a kind, very Oregon, you can smell the trees and the earth and the rain and it just breaks your heart the tragedy of it all.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
lukas, January 12, 2011 (view all comments by lukas)
Is this the definitive Oregon novel? Big, brawny and almost palpably soaked in coastal rain, Ken Kesey's ambitious, sprawling, thick follow-up to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is at least one of the top contenders for the title. For fans of "East of Eden," Thomas Wolfe & logging.
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DC, December 19, 2010 (view all comments by DC)
So glad to see this on the Daily Dose. And glad to be nudged to re-read it. I have been recommending it for years, but have only read it once, in the 70's. It's time to pick it up again.
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mallory e, December 16, 2010 (view all comments by mallory e)
Some people say Sometimes a Great Notion is the big union novel that everyone needs to read - it is more than that - it is the richest, rawest, densest novel about people. People have their stuff, and people need other people, but the incredible and complicated lives that all people (actually all living things) are - this is what you get. The elegant power of Kesey's craft makes you slow down and read all of it. If you move too quickly, you won't understand. Spend time with this novel, and read it every year. The power of what is actually represented may just jar you out of yourself for a moment. It changed my life.
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Product Details

Kesey, Ken
Penguin Books
Introduction by:
Bowden, Charles
Bowden, Charles
Bowden, Charles
Strikes and lockouts
Lumber trade
Domestic fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Penguin Classics
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.72x5.06x1.31 in. 1.09 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » American Studies » Popular Culture

Sometimes a Great Notion (Penguin Classics) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$18.00 In Stock
Product details 736 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143039860 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Often called the "quintessential Oregon novel," Sometimes a Great Notion bears remarkable similarity to our fabled Beaver State winters: seemingly sprawling and unending at first, characterized by incessant rain, somewhat disorienting until you become acclimated, yet ultimately compelling, fecund, and, dare I say, necessary. Ken Kesey is perhaps Oregon's most famous adopted son, known best, of course, for his debut novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the time he spent with the Merry Pranksters. Not only is Sometimes a Great Notion Kesey's masterwork (Bartleby : Moby-Dick :: Cuckoo's Nest : Notion), it very well may encapsulate the American ethic and landscape as well as any other novel of its era.

Concerned with the ongoing timber strike in the fictional coastal range town of Wakonda, Sometimes a Great Notion revolves around the very proud and unyielding Stamper family, who decide to continue logging despite the acrimony and pleading of their neighbors. Literally teeming with symbolic imagery, the novel engenders some conflicted loyalties in the reader, as even the most reprehensible behavior on the part of some of the characters manages to elicit our sympathies. Kesey's unique prose structure, rich in style and nuance, stands in stark contrast to the inability of most of the characters to openly express themselves, their desires, and their feelings. One could easily make the case that this book is mainly about the labor struggle or encroaching modernity or the timber industry or Oregon itself; but, at its roots, it seems to be about the underlying and driving motivations that characterize the complexity of interpersonal relationships. While propelled by some of the basest of human emotions — hubris, stubbornness, revenge, jealousy, envy — Sometimes a Great Notion is also marked by some of the noblest: love, loyalty, camaraderie, and kindness.

This is quite the rewarding work, and lovers of all types of fiction will undoubtedly find many things remarkable about this epic novel. Kesey's masterpiece deserves its place amidst the canon of great American novels, yet is rarely mentioned in the same breath as some of the more widely accepted classics. Not merely a book about the Pacific Northwest, Sometimes a Great Notion is about the unseen intricacies that shape and command who we are, where we live, and how we relate to others, ourselves, and the places we call home. Come look... it's all there to see.

From Sometimes a Great Notion:

For the reverberation often exceeds through silence the sound that sets it off; the reaction occasionally outdoes by way of repose the event that stimulated it; and the past not uncommonly takes a while to happen, and some long time to figure out.

"Review" by , "A contemporary classic....This book...and its creator have become part of our consciousness and memory."
"Review" by , "[Kesey is] an exuberant storyteller....The words a slangy, spermy, belt-of-bourbon surge, intimate and muscular."
"Synopsis" by ,
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.

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