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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Paperback – December 31, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 957 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This excellent version of Kesey's classic novel does not supplement the fine Recorded Books edition (Audio Reviews, LJ 2/1/93). However, this Blackstone version is a worthy companion, based on the reading skills of narrator Tom Parker. Parker does an exceptional job of bringing to life the characters of Randall Patrick McMurphy, Big Nurse Ratched, Chief Broom, and the others occupying the Oregon mental hospital. He is especially good with Chief Broom, the story's narrator, presenting the chief's state of mind in seeing dark forces behind the nurse's actions plus the changes he undergoes through McMurphy's rebellious, fun-loving nature. Parker's skills and the continuing popularity of this work make this version a required purchase for all collections, even those libraries that have the earlier edition.?Stephen L. Hupp, Univ. of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, PA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A glittering parable of good and evil." —The New York Times Book Review

"A roar of protest against middlebrow society’s Rules and the Rulers who enforce them." —Time
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (December 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141181222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141181226
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (957 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Hassan Galadari on September 9, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel officially ends the 4-book reading that I had set forth to get my teeth into this summer. I must say, that it truly stands out from anything I had read before it, be it this summer or anytime for that matter. Ken Kesey weaves a tale that is smart, witty, sometimes insane and ultimately tragic. Though the setting is mainly in a mental asylum somewhere in Oregon, this story has a universal appeal to it that can be felt by anyone, anwhere in this world.
R.P. McMurphy is a sane man that, due to a brush with the law, opts for being committed in a mental asylum rather than be incarcerated with hard labor. Upon his entry in the secluded world of the asylum, he strips all the barriers formed and starts laying his own rules, in his own way. This leads to problems with the head honcho of the place. A big, gruesome, and menacingly evil Nurse Ratched, dubbed Big Nurse for her huge frame and even huger bosom. The rollercoaster, that patient McMurphy takes the inmates through, finally leads them to realize the ultimate goal. That man, no matter the situation, can always hold his destiny in his hands. This knowledge, achieved in the end, does not come without a price.
Set in the late 60s, early 70s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a gem of modern literary works that came out at the time. It brought out a wonderfully-made movie, starring Jack Nicholson as McMurphy. The role defined him as an actor to be reckoned with. Though the mavie is seen through the eyes of McMurphy, the novel's perspective looks at things through the eyes of a big half white, half Native American inmate, that acts deaf and dumb in front of the asylum's staff. The narrative, because it is through the eyes of a mental patient, can at times be truly insane. That's where the fun really lies.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a great book and I'm sure you can read the other reviews for insight into why it is so great, but the Kindle edition isn't very good. It's like they ran the book through a cheap OCR and just threw it at Amazon. There are lots of scanning errors. 'He' often comes thorough as 'I Ie' and the letter 'c' and 'e' appear to be interchangeable in multiple places. Avoid the Kindle edition.
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Format: Paperback
Counterculture icon and author Ken Kesey (1935-2001) wrote his first novel, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," in 1960. The book was a response to the author's experiences testing mind-altering drugs for the federal government and his later tenure as a nurse's aide in the same facility. In the introduction to the novel, Robert Faggen places this seminal novel in its proper context, arguing that this book incorporates several themes of the 1950's: the Cold War, the plight of the Native Americans, the reliance on psychiatry as a cure all for social problems, and the vestigial remnants of McCarthyism. Even if you could care less about how Kesey's book fits into American cultural history, you could hardly fail to miss the overarching theme of his novel: the tensions between the individual and the state, between those trapped in an industrial society and those who wish to live in freedom. There is a film version of this book starring Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher that adequately captures Kesey's stark visions.
The author's tale takes place in a mental asylum at an unknown time. Perhaps this is because time has little importance to the inmates in the facility. The people in this particular ward of the hospital fall into categories of `acute' or `chronic,' depending on whether they have hope of recovery or are irrevocably ill. The days are full of drudgery, an endless round of medications interspersed with playing cards against the background of canned polka music. Everyday the acute patients meet for group therapy that really doubles as a McCarythyesque tattling session. The name of the game is acquiescence to the myriad rules and regulations of the institution. Those inmates who violate the rules earn a trip to the disturbed ward or a quick trip to the electroshock chamber.
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Format: Paperback
I had the pleasure of reading this classic a few months ago after I chose it off a list of books for an english paper. Little did I know that I had made a great choice. I have always enjoyed books that centered on individuality and rebellion's against the rest of the society. This book is no different. It follows the story of Randall McMurphy, who throughout the novel tries in every which way to disobey those with power in order to find a way out of the mental hospital for himself and to help the other members of the ward in escaping as well. He becomes a teacher for the ward, a helper for them. Many characterize him as a Christ like figure, as Kesey does provide enough evidence that he may have been notioning such an idea from the beginning through language, character descriptions, and events that parallel events from the Bible. This novel has become one of my favorites and opened up my heart to other classics such as The Great Gatsby and Catch-22. If it were not for "One Flew Over," I'd probably still be content with more recent novels. Thank you, Mr. Kesey, for such a fantastic book. It reads rather quickly and leaves you with a satisfied feeling at the end. "One Flew Over" has one of the best endings I've read in a very long time, possibly ever. I did not believe it would end as it did, but it makes complete sense when you sit back and think of the novel as a whole. Well done, Kesey, your effort is well appreciated and strongly recommended!
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