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Demon Box

Demon Box

3.5 2
by Ken Kesey

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In this collection of short stories, Ken Kesey challenges public and private demons with a wrestler's brave and deceptive embrace, making it clear that the energy of madness must live on.


In this collection of short stories, Ken Kesey challenges public and private demons with a wrestler's brave and deceptive embrace, making it clear that the energy of madness must live on.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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. (August 18)
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''

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet 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.

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Demon Box 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not the military so ignore the stars because they have little significance in literature. This book has been dragged through the mud by critics who feel Kesey was going to enlighten them. I dont know Kesey and never met him but I'm almost sure he is sick of people coming to him as if he had all the answers. Demon Box is basically a collection of travel essays mixed with personal experiences of the author. I was taken to Cairo, China, Mexico, Oregon and into history. The essay on the death of Neil Cassidy was worth the price of admission. I was not dissapointed but then again, I'm not a snobby critic who thinks Ken Kesey can answer all my questions of life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a collection of stories ranging from the end of the sixties to, well, what Kesey has been up to ever since. What I believe his best work since 'Sometimes a Great Notion,' Kesey proves to still be an incredible writer. This book exposes to the reader many entertaining and significant stories which would probably never reach the mainstream. The title story is probably the best piece, touching on philosophy and psychology while being extemely well written and entertaining. Book may possibly be hard for some unfamiliar with the history surrounding Kesey. Another negative aspect is that the overall tone of the book is quite depressing. Kesey intentionally or not exposes the distinguishing of the light in the sixties which he helped create. Such a cryptic reflection of the time after frequently depresses the reader. Although a grand point in classic Kesey style, he gives the reader a well written collection of entertaining stories.