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Demon Box Paperback – August 4, 1987


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First Edition edition (August 4, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140085300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140085303
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The central theme running through this collection of stories (many of which seem to be primarily nonfiction with elements of fiction thrown in) by the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is the struggle to come to terms with the legacy of the 1960s. Kesey draws largely on his own experiences after returning to his Oregon farm following a brief stint in prison on drug charges. A series of tales, apparently sections from a novel in progress, star an alter-ego named Devlin Deboree: his relatively tranquil post-jail farm existence is disturbed both by memories of now-dead companions and the seemingly extinct passions of the '60s, and by burned-out refugees from that era who intermittently arrive on his doorstep, hoping for some sort of help from the most famous survivor of the psychedelic wars. Pieces on visiting Egypt and covering a Chinese marathon examine the complex relationship between Americans and people from other cultures. Kesey's distinctive gift with language and tough sense of humor unify this somewhat disorganized collection, and his elegy for the passing of the mad energy of the '60s will strike a responsive chord with all those who lived through those dangerous, liberating years. 30,000 first printing; BOMC and QPBC alternates.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Kesey fans have waited long for his latest offering, a collection of experiences, stories, and poetry. Most of the tales concern the life and times of "Devlin E. Deboree," a counterculture author who serves time in Mexico on a narcotics charge and later returns to his family farm in Oregon. Though he gives himself an alias, Kesey usually identifies his friends, including Jack Kerouac, Larry McMurtry, Hunter Thompson, and a Rolling Stone reporter who accompanies him to the great pyramids. The collection fluctuates in mood, ranging from warm "farm" pieces such as "Abdul & Ebenezer" (concerning a bull and a cow) to pieces dealing with loss of friends and a common cause that reflect a nostalgia for the Sixties. These more personal pieces, especially the title essay, are particularly strong. Susan Avallone, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Ken Kesey was born in Colorado in 1935. He founded the Merry Pranksters in the sixties and became a cult hero, a phenomenon documented by Tom Wolfe in his book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. He died in 2001.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Parent on September 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
Ken Kesey has produced a very special collection of stories, a number of which are written in the 3rd party, using the character "Deboree" as Kesey's alias. Deboree shares through the pages, trips & memories with characters, who are immediately recognisable as Kesey's personal friends such as X,Y & Z, some still alive, some dead. The stories are of personal experiences and touch on Deboree's inner feelings & thoughts, which leaves the reader feeling quite privileged. The personal stories are interspersed with the most joyful of fairytales. The reader is catapulted into a land of make believe in "Big Double" and nothing bar your own imagination can stop the words dancing into your mind and creating a Technicolor widescreen movie of your own. The Demon Box is a gem and must have for any admirer of Kesey, the greatest Prankster of them all
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. Scherff on February 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
ken kesey is one of my favorite authors. sometimes a great notion is one the best novels i have ever read. after reading the electric kool aid acid test, demon box is a logical followup.
this series of short stories has highs and lows. the very best is now we know how many holes it takes to fill the albert hall. written about the death of john lennon, kesey, through interactions with people immediately before, at the time of,and immediately after the murder, shows the transition of culture from the sixties to the eighties. the death of lennon is the end of the dream of the sixties. it alone is worth the purchase of the book.
another great story is the tranny man over the border. its most interesting part deals with kesey's father.
a story about his farm animals, abdul and ebenezer, is hilarious.
this book gives the kesey fans a better understanding of the man, his family, and his friends.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Because this book is one of Kesey's lesser-known works, I assumed that it would be of lower caliber than what I had previously read by him. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was wrong. Kesey has not lost his flair for words. The story jumps around a bit, but it is quick-paced. It kept my attention, but what really got me hooked was the eloquent writing. Kesey has a great talent for detail, but he does not ramble on for pages about trivialities. His wit made me smile, and his honesty made me sigh. A great book if ever there were one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
An intense glimpse into the life and the mind of a man who helped to change the world. A raw collection of very personal essays, this book is sometimes dark and unsettling, but Kesey's spirit and naked honesty makes for an ultimately uplifting read. What does it mean to be human? Perhaps you can get a hint or two here.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Cody Sorensen on April 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
Demon Box is great for those who have read The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, One Flew Over the Coo Coo's Nest, and Sometimes A Great Notion and still want to hear more about Kesey. In the book, Kesey, as Devlin Debree, decribes his life after the Prankster days and gives insight into the failure of the 60's counter-culture.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By gasmark9@hotmail.com on February 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
ken kesey is my favourite author, his books just beg to be read and this was no exception. it's a collection of short stories and so of course it's not all going to be great, though the parts you least expect to like are for the best part the highlight of the book. the story about killer, the stories written from the viewpoint of his grandmother and the return to the mental ward which was the inspiration for one flew over the cuckoos nest are all great stories and there are so many others. read and enjoy. prepare to be baffled, confused and dumbstruck but above all prepare to be taken to other places, better times and marvel in the genius that was ken kesey. may he rest in peace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Remington on July 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Using Kerouac's technique of writing autobiographical fiction (the events may be true, but the names have been changed), Kesey presents DEMON BOX, a series of short shorties and vinettes depicting his life on his farm in Oregon.
Relating a variety of experiences, ranging from scary hangers on to adventures with farm animals, and fallout from the drug haze of the '60's, Kesey vividly captures specific times and places. His humor, characterization and descriptions of geographical space (my native Oregon)all remain intact and on a level with his finest work.
Some vinettes are obviously more memorable than others and often the writing seems unfocused and in need of editing.
This is really a small matter considering that this is the closest to a autobiography the world will ever get. DEMON BOX certainly makes for a strong and worthwhile read.
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