From Publishers Weekly
Author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and the leader of the Merry Pranksters, Kesey was a seminal '60s anti-authority figure-with some consequences via The Man. His lushly illustrated account of time in prison was begun in 1968, when Kesey was serving time for pot possession in an experimental low-security "camp." Kesey drew, collaged and wrote a running narrative of his experiences in several notebooks, which 30 years later, toward the end of his life, he assembled into this single work. The original intent was to contrast the swirling, colorful collages and watercolors of his jail surroundings-many of which suggest the influence of Blake-on the verso pages with printed text on facing rectos, but his later revision and considerable expansion of the text decidedly tilts toward the text. The latter reads like a time capsule of slang and drug references that will instantly transport those that partook: "Hot Double Damn! There's four STP tabs, couple of psilocybin pills and five good old Owsley purples!" A running confrontation with a camp supervisor named John Wayne illustrates Kesey's ongoing interest in authority figures out to crush the spirit, but does not resolve as it would in a work of fiction. While often silly and funny, Kesey also poignantly and often tragically depicts issues such as racial tension, mental instability and the eternal clash between order and freedom.
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About the Author
Ken Kesey was born in 1935 and grew up 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. His other books include Kesey's Garage Sale, Demon Box, Caverns (with O. U. Levon), The Further Inquiry, Sailor Song, and Last Go Round (with Ken Babbs). His two children's books are Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear and The Sea Lion. Ken Kesey died on November 10, 2001.