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Sailor Song Paperback – July 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 533 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (July 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140139974
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140139976
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kesey's latest cosmic adventure, set in 21st-century Alaska, finds aging hippies hiding out in a fishing village that is invaded by a film crew. Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- The sleepy little fishing village of Kuinak, Alaska, is transformed into a movie set when a Hollywood production company sails into port. The community, populated by Deaps (Descendants of Early Aboriginal Peoples) and a few adventurers from the Lower 48, is swept up by the glamour and promises of wealth. However, Nick Levertov's motives for choosing this site for filming are more complex than a simple return trip of a native son--and they're not all honorable. This master storyteller weaves a plot around a cast of characters as colorful as the aurora borealis. His writing style is complex and sometimes the story line changes abruptly without transition. The book will appeal to mature readers who can appreciate the humorous and bizarre aspects of the plot.
- Grace Baun, Robert E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Copyright 1992 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

That's a bit odd.
Jeremy Roth
If you like Kesey, if you liked Cuckoos Nest or Sometimes a great notion, you will not be disappointed here at all.
Rosh
The ending was rather ant-climatic and leaves several story lines hanging.
Gerald G. Grafstrom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ken Egbert on December 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ken Kesey's recent passing made me look back at my favorite books of his and fellow trafficker in the anti-Divine Jack Kerouac and somehow I revisited SAILOR SONG first. The New York TIMES didn't like it when it was published in '93 but I recall thinking "They're just not on the bus... DUHHHH" and bought it anyway. The ride was stellar, and it still is. Kesey's tale of the last bunch of individualist crazies at the end of America (and the world too) has its flaws, and I agree with the other online reviews you will read here: the end has a deus ex machina look to it (not that one character, the bookish Billy the Squid, doesn't red-flag the reader with a warning mid-on; a spectacularly nervy aside), the romance subplot is a bit shaky, the air of the novel smacks of the NORTHERN EXPOSURE television show from a few years back, the end of Bad Guy Nick Levertov is not as well-described as it might be... but the central theme of a moneyed juggernaut sailing into an untamed, delightfully-chaotic-because-it's-meant-to-be backwater of America (whatever, as Jack K. said in his dedication in VISIONS OF CODY, that is) strikes a chord on my piano. In SAILOR SONG two halves of America (Babbitt versus Walt Whitman) collide, and thanks to the success of the Babbitt half over many years (the befouling of the natural world) the payback interrupts the flow of the novel. Another nervy trick from the old Prankster, but for me it works. Because as we can see from the disrupted weather patterns of the last 20 years, we are going to be in a similar situation very shortly. And Kesey's description of Mother Nature's payback to the human race is the best thing in the book. Well, not quite, but close.Read more ›
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Albert J. Miller on May 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Up front: I'm a long-time fan of Ken's -- including the videos, the CDs, and his classic periodical SPIT IN THE OCEAN. I liked SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION a lot better as a book than a film. So that's where I'm coming from...
SAILOR SONG is superb, remarkable and unmatched in contemporary literature. Ken's grasp of the human condition is extraordinary: man/woman, inter-family, small town, international, global, you name it and Ken's got it in SAILOR SONG. It's an easier read than NOTION, but not as clearcut as NEST.
So many posts here question the ending; not me. I trust Ken ended this the way he saw fit, like the master he was. Life doesn't end cleanly, even though it begins with promise and evolves with careful plot. I don't think any other writer has addressed the scenario of the poles shifting, so while this isn't quite an "end of the world" tale, surely it's clear why Ken dubbed this his science fiction novel.
The characters are unforgettable, and yes the novel reads like a screenplay because it is so extraordinarily vividly written. There are plot twists and curlicues galore -- that's the skill and scope of Kesey coming across. SAILOR SONG, like his other novels, is brimming with quotable phrases and passages that ache for outboarding and inclusion in BARTLETT'S BOOK OF QUOTATIONS. He's that good.
The scenario overall is unforgettable, and the pace is so beguiling that despite the novel's length; when it was over my ONLY regret was that there wasn't more superb literature to keep me riveted. If you are anxious to be engaged, challenged and rewarded by a book time and again, savor SAILOR SONG to the last drop. There ain't no dregs here, just sweet wonderful language coming from a mind without equal. Ken's passing last November was a loss without measure, but we readers are blessed with these words. Enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matt P(bluheron@lida.net) on November 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is Keysey's most brilliant comentary on the present state of affair of the global village as seen from the not to distant future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is a book that you can laugh out loud at and my wife will turn to me and say "What is so funny" and I for the life of me can't explain what is so funny. The tale has alot of charisma and chutzpah. Kesey's expansiveness reminds me of Kerouac or Whitman ( God help me if I spelled their names wrong don't all you snobs e-mail me with the correct spelling, please ) and is genuinely funny. He has a way of making all the politically correctness we are obsessing about funny. Anyway rent the movie Alaska but enjoy the book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Martin on November 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Well anyone who knows Kesey knows this isn't his best book. But after such a long hiatus from novel writing it's a pretty strong piece of work. In fact, some of the scenes in here are as vivid and compelling as anything the wise old prankster ever wrote. I think it's especially poignant to realize that Kesey knew full well this would be his last book, and he put all kinds of little touches in it to acknowledge that fact. A big, lusty book from a big lusty man, and a worthy coda to an amazing life.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul A. Mcaskill on March 8, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read 8 other reviews of this book, and I am still buying it, for the second time. I was captivated by the issues, characters, and story line that was depressingly promissing. Hope. I do agree that all could have been wrapped up differently in the end. It was too quick and well empty. But it is not the joy of the top of the mountain that has us climb. It is the climb. Enjoy the ride! Enjoy Sailors Song.
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