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Demon Box

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  1,198 ratings  ·  41 reviews
In this collection of short stories, Ken Kesey challenges public and private demons with a wrestler's brave and deceptive embrace, making it clear that the energy of madness must live on.
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 4th 1987 by Penguin Books (first published 1986)
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken KeseyThe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom WolfeHowl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg1968 by Mark KurlanskyAnother Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins
The Counter-Culture of the 1960s
80th out of 141 books — 51 voters
Good Morning, Midnight by Jean RhysButcher's Crossing by John WilliamsThe Slynx by Tatyana TolstayaThe Bostonians by Henry JamesThe Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin
Books with 1,001 - 5,000 Ratings
194th out of 500 books — 38 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,105)
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Katie Ulrich
Aug 16, 2007 Katie Ulrich rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes to work hard to derive meaning
This book was amazing. However, it could have been two hundred pages shorter and still achieved the same result.
Good old Ken...I mean Devlin. Pithy, detailed, occasionally rollicking, real as a razor stories told from the heart with a journalist's detail. Includes some terrific bull stories and a terrific Egypt trip. Kesey performs gentle gonzo journalism, never the hero but included in the colorful cast of characters.

Described by Penguin Books's blurb as Keysey's "third novel", in fact this is a collection of essays, mostly autobiographical, with the names changed. The title essay refers to Maxwell's dem
Entropy. It's not just a good idea, it's the law.

I know you've read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, now try a B-side tasty for your brain.
Jul 16, 2012 Terry rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: novel
This collection of stories and essays is a well written collection of pieces based on the author's life. The prose is excellent, and fast reading despite the fact it is somewhat autobiographical. The title essay told of the importance of keeping an open mind to combat entropy, which is "true only in closed systems." A trip of Kesey's to Egypt was also very enjoyable reading.
This book contains one of thee greatest short stories that tells of good and evil, of all time: "Good Friday." As a superstition, every time I move to a new place, I give away my copy and purchase a new one. I believe this helps keep the little demon in that box working.
A great and personal collection of stories from one of the best writer's of the 20th Century. They are playful and dark and excruciating and witty and all of the above. Kesey really did have a way with words that was like very few others.
Joe korvick
Jul 05, 2008 Joe korvick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those on the bus
"Where did we come from and more important, as our nation's worth leaks away and the gears of this cycle's trip grind from Pisces to Aquarius in approach of the promised shifting of the poles, where are we bound."

"Then the trembling starts to get worse. This must be how they begin, he thinks. Freak-outs. Breakdowns. Crack-ups. Eventually shut-ins and finally cross-offs. But first the cover-up . . ."
This book is broken up into several distinct chapters, each varying in length and subject. Kesey writes a fictional autobiography of sorts, dubbing himself Devlin Deboree in the book. The reader follows Deboree through the psychedelic sixties to the eighties. We see life on the family farm, hitchhiking hippies, pharmaceutical gatherings at Disney World, the creation of a screenplay One Flew Over A Cuckoo's Nest and the lives and deaths of many of Kesey's friends, including Neal Cassidy. All of t ...more
Demon Box by Ken Kesey (Penguin Books 1987)(818.0) is a collection of essays and short stories by the legend his ownself. I skimmed this and was surprised and dismayed that nothing caught my interest. After reading the reviews posted on Goodreads, I'm going to take another pass through before shelving this one. Babs? Cassady? How did I miss them? My (current) rating: 4/10, finished 3/26/14.
Max Nemtsov
внезапно. на всякий случай: я с ИДМ ничего не подписывал, знать их не знаю и они вообще не издатели, а хуй знает что. и в страшном сне не приснится, чтоб я с ними сотрудничал
This collection of stories and essays is quite mixed in its quality. Some were dazzling, but others rather lame. The importance of this book, however, is historically, and in glimpses into Kesey's life and those surrounding him. On that scale of importance, I'd give it 5 stars. I wish GoodReads had a multifactorial or matrix scale, to separate quality of writing from other interests in the work!

I read this immediately before I dug out Vineland by Pynchon to attempt again, and I really do recomm
Pat Murphy
Good stuff in here if you are into the Merry Pranksters of the sixties and early seventies.
I began this book with great anticipation. It was sent to me in Nepal, maybe by Kate Klaus or John K or Craig H; memory fails me with that detail, but I remember well how quickly disappointed I became as I moved from piece to piece that the author of Cuckoo's Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion could publish such a weak book of fluff and garbage. If it wasn't for "The Day Superman Died," Kesey's experience with a couple of trespassers on the day he learned of Neal Cassidy's death, I'd give this b ...more
Steve  Williams
Great storytelling
I was pleasantly surprised and drawn in by the slight "gonzo-ism" Kesey demonstrated in this book. A little different from his usual writing, but still very entertaining. Half of the time I had to look at the front just to make sure I wasn't suddenly reading HST. Some of the short stories I enjoyed more than others, and I love how some of them slightly tie into the others. A great read, if you have about 2 weeks to devote. It's all worth the time.
Some of these stories are better than others, but overall this was such a fun book to read. Kesey really captures voices you wouldn't necessarily get to hear otherwise.
Rafiq Esedov
Ömrümü aldı. Bilsəydim oxumazdım. Başlamışdım deyə məcbur oxudum. Bu il ən uzun müddətə oxuduğum kitab oldu.
I really did enjoy the amount of this book that I finished, but the short story format, and my crazy schedule, made it a situation where I found that I just wasn't making fast enough progress to keep on going with this one. I'll try it again later, perhaps, but for now, I think I need something more "Bam! Pow!" to keep my attention.
Mar 15, 2012 Caio rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caio by: everyone interested in the author or counterculture in general
A real unpretentious masterpiece. The innovative fragmentary style and the indivisible blend of fiction and non-fiction by themselves make it worth checking out. His thoughts and experiences (and thought experiences?) years after his Prankster days ended and the whole scene fell apart are just priceless.
Vincent Eaton
Will be dipping in and out of this over the summer, since it's collected bits and pieces, which I expect my summer to be....
Completed reading. Collected magazine articles over a 20 year period. The unique voice surfaces and fades, and was fun.
The master at work. His prose is both so dense and yet frequently conveys so little. You really want to focus on all ten words in each seven word sentence. The stories are hit or miss but with Kesey, you know you're in good hands.
Aug 05, 2011 Rogier added it
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Sailor Song, and Sometimes a Great Notion are three masterpieces by Ken Kesey. This collection of stories is not. Did Kesey need money for a new car or something? Some demons are better left in their box.
For insights into the icy, slightly conservative mind of the man who lead the Merry Pranksters, and for revelations regarding the life and death of minor cult hero Neal Cassidy, in the essay "The Death of Superman".
Sherrie Pilkington
This is the story of the journey of a crazy young hippie becoming an wise-ish old hippie. It's not chronological, but it's magical and comforting and everything I want from a Ken Kesey novel.
I was curious to know what had happened after the acid tests and the flight to Mexico. No real answers but some nice Kesey insights...
Great, great book of short stories by Ken Kesey. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. The second best thing by Kesey after Cuckoo's Nest.
Rich Is
It's okay to hate hippies. Entropy is only a problem in a closed system. Don't forget the summer of love in the chilly season of Reagan.
Catherine Woodman
this is no sometimes a great notion, but it is a good story, more in that vein than in the cuckoo's nest vein
I didn't finish this book - it was really disjointed and I had a very hard time getting into it.
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American writer, who gained world fame with his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962, filmed 1975). In the 1960s, Kesey became a counterculture hero and a guru of psychedelic drugs with Timothy Leary. Kesey has been called the Pied Piper, who changed the beat generation into the hippie movement.

Ken Kesey was born in La Junta, CO, and brought up in Eugene, OR. Kesey spent his early years hun
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“Then the trembling starts to get worse. This must be how they begin, he thinks. Freak-outs. Breakdowns. Crack-ups. Eventually shut-ins and finally cross-offs. But first the cover-up . . .” 15 likes
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