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Demon Box

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  1,350 Ratings  ·  48 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.
Published (first published 1986)
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Frank
Aug 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Katie Ulrich
Aug 16, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jenna
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book contains one of thee all-time greatest short stories about good versus evil: "Good Friday." As a superstition, every time I move to a new place, I give away my copy of this book and buy a new one. That way I can keep the little demon in that box working.
Cedar
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Terry
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
These stories and essays are 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 tells 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.
Joe korvick
Jun 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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."

Jordan
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Johnny
Dec 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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 . . ."
David
Feb 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: purged-books, 2011
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
Caio
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sherrie Pilkington
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
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.
Shai
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jimyanni
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Not sure what to make of this one. This book, while not badly written, is not what I read Ken Kesey for. Generally I love his bigger-than-life heroes, be they Randall Patrick McMurphy, Leland Stanford and Hank Stamper, or even the trio of cowboys from "Last Go-Round" (who aren't memorable enough for me to recall their names, but are definitely pretty impressive in their own rights.) The main character in this episodic collection of stories is Devlin Deboree, who may or may not be an avatar of Ke ...more
Olya Neshcheretnaya
"Demon box" is a series of stories describing events from the life Devil Debry, alter ego of Ken Kesey. In General from reading remained ambiguous impression: on the one hand there are stories that you really like, in places raises a smile and laughter, and on the other hand there are a lot of situations, forcing to think about whether to read this book. Maybe in my subconscious still have those vivid impressions of the novels "Sometimes a great notion" and "Sailor song"? And I was expecting abo ...more
Pecker
Sep 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Petergiaquinta
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
David Ward
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.
K
Aug 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Patrick
Nov 03, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
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.
Corwin McAllister
It's time to hang up the quill when your brain's too frazzled by decades of abuse to bang coherency and sense out of your keyboard. Or maybe it's time to fire the editor, for letting all that rambling to hit the printing presses? Don't get me wrong, I like Kesey, but his latter writings exemplify just how wasted and over-hyped 50s and 60s counter-cultural intelligentsia ended up being.
Travelin
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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".
John
Apr 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rogier
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.
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.
Pat Murphy
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good stuff in here if you are into the Merry Pranksters of the sixties and early seventies.
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
Jamie
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Ken Kesey. Period.
Schuyler
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Kesey proves himself to be a master of the short story.
Steve  Williams
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great storytelling
Sara
May 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I forgot how much I enjoyed this book, first read it on my sojourns over fifteen years ago.
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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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More about Ken Kesey...
“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 . . .” 16 likes
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