Sailor Song

( 5 )

Overview

This epic tale of the north is a vibrant moral fable for our time. Set in the near future in the fishing village of Kuinak, Alaska, a remnant outpost of the American frontier not yet completely overcome by environmental havoc and mad-dog development, Sailor Song is a wild, rollicking novel, a dark and cosmic romp. The town and its denizens—colorful refugees from the Lower Forty-Eight and DEAPs (Descendants of Early Aboriginal Peoples)—are seduced and besieged by a Hollywood crew, come to film the classic ...

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Overview

This epic tale of the north is a vibrant moral fable for our time. Set in the near future in the fishing village of Kuinak, Alaska, a remnant outpost of the American frontier not yet completely overcome by environmental havoc and mad-dog development, Sailor Song is a wild, rollicking novel, a dark and cosmic romp. The town and its denizens—colorful refugees from the Lower Forty-Eight and DEAPs (Descendants of Early Aboriginal Peoples)—are seduced and besieged by a Hollywood crew, come to film the classic children's book The Sea Lion. The ensuing turf war escalates into a struggle for the soul of the town as the novel spins and swirls toward a harrowing climax. Writing with a spectacular range of language and style, Kesey has given us a unique and powerful novel about America.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kesey ( One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest ; Sometimes a Great Notion ) sets his latest grand, cosmic adventure early in the 21st century, complete with celefones, cardkeys, Mylar pumpsuits and scoot, the artificial stimulant of choice. Ike Sallas, ``mental activist'' and Backatcha Bandit of the ' 90s, lives in a trailer in the ``neo retro'' Alaskan fishing village of Kuniak with his fishing partner, Rastafarian Emil Greer. Kuniak is invaded by legendary film director Gerhardt Steubins, minions Clark Bstet no period Clark and Nicholas Levertov, and troops with plans to film the Eskimo legend The Sea Lion (a Kesey children's book). This ``unstained cartoon caricature of mythic native life'' contrasts with the ``dirt and despair and perversion'' of `` real native life,'' according to Alice Carmody, matriarch of Kuinak DEAPs (Descendants of Early Aboriginal Peoples). His baroque humor in top form, Kesey skewers religious cults, organized lodges and land developers as the madcap adventures culminate in the phantasmogorical conclusion on the open seas when Ike is caught in a maelstrom. This is a gargantuan novel of epic dimensions that feeds on the need for love and heroes at a time when ``the hero business ain't so hot.'' 100,000 first printing; $75,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Aug.)
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
Kirkus Reviews
After 25 years, a new novel from Kesey—a brilliant, funny, heartening tale of the power of love to stomp out evil in the last decent town on earth—proves that the heroic old Trickster can still pitch a fastball. Just after the turn of the millennium, Isaak Sallas, a.k.a "the Bakatcha Bandit," a legendary environmental warrior from the "Nasty Nineties," wakes up in his antique trailer to confront a couple of unwelcome omens from the end of the world. The most deadly sign is the silvery albino Nick Levertov, the bad-seed son of Alice ("the Angry Aleut"), battering the hell out of blowzy Louise Loop. The next day, watching a huge silver movie-company yacht sail into the harbor with Levertov aboard, Sallas realizes that Levertov has come back to Kuinak, Alaska, to settle a score of grievances. A couple of decades before, Sallas, once a CIA flier who won the Navy Cross, had to bear the death of his baby daughter—a death caused by his own exposure to pesticides. The tragedy transformed him absolutely. The next day, he used his pesticide plane to drop a fragrant load on an upper-middle-class crowd at a California county fair: right "Bakatcha." His fire had burned out long since, he now thinks. He'd hoped to live in peaceful obscurity in this last unpolluted backwater, fishing with the jolly Brit skipper Carmody and his Rasta sidekick Greer. Now, however, with Levertov buying up and corrupting the town with wads of movie money and piles of a designer drug called "Scoot," Sallas discovers that he has the stuff—the love and faith—to drive evil out of town: "Dolls were being set up, and being knocked down. The situation was in progress, and in dedicated lock; itcouldn't be blinked and it couldn't be ducked." A wonderful tale for the times, proving Kesey is "Bakacha" after all these years.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140139976
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 766,398
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2005

    Prepare yourself for disappointment with the ending

    I really enjoyed reading this book. I'm a huge fan of novels/films/etc. that are character driven. Once I picked this novel up I couldn't put it down. The only thing I have a problem with, and it's a HUGE problem, is how this story ended. It was a major let down. The way it ended it seemed as though Mr. Kesey got tired of writing and said, 'Ahh %$@# it!' and hammered out the ending just to get the novel done with. You know that feeling you get after you read a great book? That warm fuzzy sense of satisfaction when you close it for the last time? It didn't happen for me with this book. For an analogy, it was like eating an exquisite dinner at a fine restaurant only to be served a bowl of sh!t for dessert. With that being said, I'd still recommend this novel despite the substandard ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2001

    Don't take my word on it.

    This book I enjoyed thoroughly so I do not wish to rate it by stars. The characters are complex and as usual Kesey shows his ability to link history to the future and everything in between. Kesey spends so much time on each charactor and the history of the area, that I find it hard to pick out who this story is about. It is collective and done well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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