One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

by Ken Kesey

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Overview

An international bestseller and the basis for the hugely successful film, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of the defining works of the 1960s.

In this classic novel, Ken Kesey’s hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and openly defies the rules at every turn. But this defiance, which starts as a sport, soon develops into a grim struggle, an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Nurse Ratched, backed by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. What happens when Nurse Ratched uses her ultimate weapon against McMurphy provides the story’s shocking climax.

“BRILLIANT!”—Time

“A SMASHING ACHIEVEMENT...A TRULY ORIGINAL NOVEL!”—Mark Schorer

“Mr. Kesey has created a world that is convincing, alive and glowing within its own boundaries...His is a large, robust talent, and he has written a large, robust book.”—Saturday Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101209042
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/27/2007
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 110
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Ken Kesey (1935-2001) 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.

Read an Excerpt

Sketches

Psychedelic sixties. God knows whatever that means it certainly meant far more than drugs, though drugs still work as a pretty good handle to the phenomena.
Eight o'clock every Tuesday morning I showed up at the vet's hospital in Menlo Park, ready to roll. The doctor deposited me in a little room on his ward, dealt me a couple of pills or a shot or a little glass of bitter juice, then locked the door. He checked back every forty minutes to see if I was still alive, took some tests, asked some questions, left again. The rest of the time I spent studying the inside of my forehead, or looking out the little window in the door. It was six inches wide and eight inches high, and it had heavy chicken wire inside the glass.

You get your visions through whatever gate you're granted.

Patients straggled by in the hall outside, their faces all ghastly confessions. Sometimes I looked at them and sometimes they looked at me. but rarely did we look at one another. It was too naked and painful. More was revealed in a human face than a human being can bear, face-to-face.

Sometimes the nurse came by and checked on me. Her face was different. It was painful business, but not naked. This was not a person you could allow yourself to be naked in front of.

Six months or so later I had finished the drug experiments and applied for a job. I was taken on as a nurse's aide, in the same ward, with the same doctor, under the same nurse—and you must understand we're talking about a huge hospital here! It was weird.

But, as I said, it was the sixties.

Those faces were still there, still painfully naked. To ward them off my case I very prudently took to carrying around a little notebook, to scribble notes. I got a lot of compliments from nurses: "Good for you, Mr. Kesey. That's the spirit. Get to know these men."

I also scribbled faces. No, that's not correct. As I prowl through this stack of sketches I can see that these faces bored their way behind my forehead and scribbled themselves. I just held the pen and waited for the magic to happen.

This was, after all, the sixties.

Ken Kesey

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
by .
Copyright © 1977 Ken Kesey.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Sketches by Ken Kesey   vii
Introduction by Robert Faggen   ix

Part One   1
Part Two  127
Part Three  173
Part Four   223

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"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

Customer Reviews