One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

83%

20 Critic Reviews

This is a thoroughly enthralling, brilliantly tempered novel, peopled by at least two unforgettable characters.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of a counterculture classic with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk

Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Now in a new deluxe edition with a foreword by Chuck Palahniuk and cover by Joe Sacco, here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them all imprisoned.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Ken Kesey

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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.
 
Published December 31, 2002 by Penguin Classics. 324 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Children's Books, Business & Economics, Humor & Entertainment, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Action & Adventure. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
All: 20 | Positive: 18 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Good
on Sep 26 2011

This is a thoroughly enthralling, brilliantly tempered novel, peopled by at least two unforgettable characters.

Read Full Review of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest | See more reviews from Kirkus

Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Peter Kelton on Jan 16 2012

Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey's “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest”...has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time.

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Pajiba

Above average
Reviewed by Sinnh on May 16 2015

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It is a slow starter and doesn't really count as radical or eye-opening in today's age, but it is a good yarn.

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The Daily Beast

Good
Reviewed by Nathaniel Rich on Jul 26 2012

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest may have served as the “nonconformists’ bible” during the sixties, but the connection Kesey draws between conformity and the capacity to wage war remains provocative today.

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Paste

Good
Reviewed by Charles McNair on Aug 20 2013

...thank goodness this writer, Ken Kesey, discovered psychedelic drugs. I believe that because this great writer turned on and tuned in, he created some of the most astonishing sentences and images written in the last century.

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AnnArbor.com

Above average
Reviewed by Melissa LR Handa on Jul 20 2010

You may like this book if…you enjoy a quick and riveting read; you like in-depth character studies; you enjoyed the film...You may not like this book if…you have no interest in reading about the mentally ill or these types of issues hit too close to home for you...

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Bapalapa2 on Aug 20 2014

An unexpected ending adds to the book's constant thrill factor, and serves as the cherry-on-top to an already fabulous novel.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by _KTLS_ on Aug 20 2014

What makes One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest the most unique book I've ever read is that the narrator isn't the main character, but instead a supposed deaf-mute who watches from the sidelines until the very end. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a change.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Bailey R. on Aug 20 2014

Kesey’s exploration of mental instability, sexuality, conformity, and control make this book a provocative and challenging piece of literature. Its impact is different for each reader, and the topics are intriguing.

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Brothers Judd

Excellent
on Aug 20 2014

This is a great book and belongs on the shelf with Orwell, Brave New World, Farenheit 451, Clockwork Orange, Darkness at Noon and Cool Hand Luke--the Century's great dystopic fantasies that have best symbolized the human dilemma and come down on the side of Freedom.

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Between The Covers

Above average
Reviewed by Heather on Jun 12 2013

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a good-versus-evil story, or a fight-the-power story that is quite moving while also being darkly humorous at times.

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http://roofbeamreader.com

Good
on Oct 08 2012

Part of why One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest works so well as a narrative is because it is simple but strange; it is straightforward, but twisted; it is clear, but perhaps entirely unclear.

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Caribous Mom

Excellent
Reviewed by Wendy on Aug 16 2010

Kesey’s novel deserves its reputation as a classic work of literature. The characters are well developed and although the subject matter could be perceived as being depressing, Kesey’s sharp sense of humor rescues the book from bleakness.

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Caroline Bookbinder

Good
Reviewed by Carin Siegfried on Sep 23 2010

It's hard to imagine what reading the book in the 1960s would have been like...To read it 30+ years later, long past when electroshock treatment has been discredited and when many reforms in the metal health arena have taken place, it just can't be the same experience. A brilliant critique of society.

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Blurb Hack

Good
Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi on Jun 27 2009

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is funny, sad, rebellious and thoughtful. I enjoyed it both as a high school student - focusing on the themes and subtext - as well as recently, revisiting it again as a general reader. This time focusing less on the mechanics and more on the humanity.

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The Bibliobrat

Excellent
Reviewed by J.C. on Oct 20 2009

This will be one of those books that will have a permanent place in my personal library. I don’t know if I can give it a higher recommendation than that.

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RatRaceRefuge

Excellent
Reviewed by Stephen Roof on Aug 20 2014

There are some extremely emotional ups and downs in this novel with an ending that is one of the most powerful in literature. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a novel that should not be missed.

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Lit Witch

Good
Reviewed by The Lit Witch on Feb 22 2012

...I guess I could have done with less insight into Bromden’s mental pathology. But that is my only complaint with an otherwise gripping novel. A brilliant mid-century modern classic that is well-deserving of its spot on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list.

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Owl Tell You About It

Good
Reviewed by Laura on Oct 30 2012

I think this book is equal parts plot development and character development, which is what I hope for in every book. The plot is gripping enough keep a reader engaged, but how the characters grow and learn is just as important.

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Tom Conoboy's Writing Blog

Good
Reviewed by Tom Conoboy on Jan 25 2010

That flight at the end, then, is truly a moment of beauty. The dog may or may not have been on a collision course with the car, but the Chief surely is not. He is able to choose his destiny.

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