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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. Turning conventional notions of sanity and insanity on their heads, the novel tells the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the story 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.
Hailed upon its publication as a "glittering parable of good and evil" (The New York Times Book Review) and a "roar of protest against middlebrow society's Rules and the invisible Rulers who enforce them" (Time), Kesey's powerful book went on to sell millions of copies and remains as bracing and insightful today as when it was first released. This new deluxe audio edition commemorates the 50th anniversary of the original publication of the novel on February 1, 1962, and will be a must have for any literature lover.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Anon on 06-04-18
An incendiary meditation on the nature of sanity (or the lack thereof), power, and individuality in the face of absolute compliance. Never have I read a book which walked the razors edge of these thematic elements with such subtle and profound elegance. While I have seen the movie, of course, and as a result knew the general ending... it was still breathtaking. And, without question, the novel dwarfs the movie.
One could write a whole essay, if not an entire second book, discussing the implications of the plot and its characters. I won't attempt to do such a thing here, but will parse a few major thoughts.
Power only works through the ability to be seen as powerful.
This can be built, or stripped, with tremendous ease.
Those who seem the weakest, roughest, or least likely to have unfathomable levels of compassion can surprise you. I'm not saying they will. Only that they can.
On the flip side, those placed in a position which should be paragons of kindness and compassion can be reprehensible and, I'll say it, outright evil.
Fear is the mind killer. Anyone can be brave, just like anyone can be broken. In this book the most downtrodden, for the most part, were set free by the sacrifice of one, the destruction of another's facade, and the annihilation of both. There were no true victories in the classic sense, but in the theoretical sense... the victor remains extremely clear in my mind.
Highest marks. Excellent, excellent, excellent.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Scott on 08-03-12
What did you love best about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?
John C. Reilly's performance. Hats off to whoever it was that thought of having him read 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' When I saw this on audible's homepage I knew it was going to be something special.
What other book might you compare One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to and why?
'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' has been compared to 'The Catcher in the Rye' and that sounds about right. However, I've always found it difficult to compare some books to other. In terms of quality, where the source material and the narrator are well matched, I would compare this to audible's 'The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao' and 'Blood Meridian.'
What does John C. Reilly bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
I would probably find John C. Reilly's readings of directions on how to take Tylenol entertaining. Having him read one of the best English-language novels is a rare treat.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
I don't think another film adaptation needs to be made of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' The Milos Forman, Jack Nicholson version is pretty damn good.
Any additional comments?
One of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to from audible. I’d put it right up there with Junot Diaz’s and Jonathan Davis’s ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ and the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R. R. Martin and Roy Dotrice. This is one of those rare examples where the marriage of performer and material are perfect. I would also highly recommend this to first-time listeners as an example of what the medium can be when it’s at its best.
27 of 30 people found this review helpful