Pin It
Favorite

Book Review-Kesey's Cuckoo Nest 

by Sheri Boggs


It is with no small amount of irony that one of the last things Ken Kesey did before he died on Nov. 10, 2001, was to write a new foreword for his first and most revolutionary novel,


The updated 40th anniversary edition of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which had been in the works for some time, features more than 25 line drawings by the author, a new introduction by literary critic and English scholar Robert Faggen, and a striking orange dust jacket with Kesey's art on the cover.


Fresh out of the creative writing program at Stanford University, Kesey took a position as an attendant at a psychiatric hospital in Menlo Park, Calif. But before that, strangely enough, he had participated in government-sponsored psychopharmacology experiments at the same mental ward at the same hospital where he would later work. While there, Kesey began scribbling notes and taking sketches of both the inmates and staff, paper jottings that would later become one of the great novels of both the Pacific Northwest and the 20th century. "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," he writes. "I just held the pen and waited for the magic to happen. This was, after all, the Sixties."


Inspired by the Beats and liberated by drugs, Kesey went on to found the Merry Pranksters. His psychedelic school bus adventures have become the stuff of American pop culture legend. With this new edition, readers will rediscover Kesey formulating the themes that would come to identify his life's work. A searing parable of psychiatry's dubious claims, the social upheaval of the 1960s and good versus evil, the book remains as fresh as when it was first written 40 years ago. Randle Patrick McMurphy's vital struggle against both Big Nurse Ratched and the soul-killing mechanism of "The Combine" is related in terms both ribald and poetic.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Skunked
  • Skunked

    Why Spokane County Commissioners passed a temporary ban on new outdoor pot farms without telling anyone
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Prisoner Problems
  • Prisoner Problems

    Computer errors continue to plague state Department of Corrections; plus, Washington ranked first in pro-charter-school policies
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • In Defense of Refugees
  • In Defense of Refugees

    In the aftermath of the presidential election, local residents seek ways to love and support their refugee friends
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Gingerbread Build-Off

Gingerbread Build-Off @ Davenport Grand Hotel

Sun., Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Sheri Boggs

  • BOOKS
  • BOOKS

    From Twin Peaks to the darkest reaches of our galaxy, there's a new book for everyone on your list
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


Comment


Readers also liked…

  • Our Republic
  • Our Republic

    Not just another small town heroin tragedy
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • This Old House
  • This Old House

    If it could talk, it could tell stories of three generations, along with a lot of griping from neighbors
    • Apr 29, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation