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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  538,793 Ratings  ·  8,706 Reviews
From the 1962 Jacket:
Like George Orwell and Philip Wylie, Ken Kesey is concerned with man's battle to be himself in a world of increasing controls, the battle of joy and freedom against a society which fosters guilt and shame. His first novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, tells the story of a struggle between a man and a woman for the spirits and hearts of a group of p
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Mass Market Paperback, US / CAN, 325 pages
Published February 1st 1963 by Signet (first published 1962)
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Joe Constantine McMurphy isn't a good guy. He is full of faults, full to the brim with them! He's a misogynist, a sex offender, a con man, a gambler, a thug. He isn't…moreMcMurphy isn't a good guy. He is full of faults, full to the brim with them! He's a misogynist, a sex offender, a con man, a gambler, a thug. He isn't our protagonist because he is virtuous in any way. We want him to succeed, to beat Nurse Ratched not because he is good, but because the alternative - a total, crushing conformity and control - would be worse. (less)
RJ The copy that I saw indicated that Kesey drew them, but frankly, I found the drawings distracting and acquired an edition without them. Others may…moreThe copy that I saw indicated that Kesey drew them, but frankly, I found the drawings distracting and acquired an edition without them. Others may find them interesting, though.(less)

Community Reviews

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Samara Steele
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Last night, at about 2 am, I finished 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' by Ken Kesey.

I lay awake for a long time afterward, watching the bars of light on the ceiling, holding my eyes open until the pupils dilated enough to shrink the light, then I'd blink and have to start all over.

Finally I sat up and turned on the lights.

The book had done something to me. Like it'd punched me in the face and said, "Do something, you idiot!"

So I gathered up a bunch of sentimental shit from around my apartment
...more
Lyn
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Profane, hilarious, disturbing, heartbreaking, shocking – powerful.

Ken Kesey’s genre defining 1962 novel that was made into a Broadway play and then made into an Academy Award winning film starring Jack Nicholson will inspire strong emotions. I can see people loving it or hating it.

I loved it.

First of all, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart: a book that is banned from libraries has a place on my bookshelf.

So all you amateur censurers out there – you are my enemy. I don’t like you. I de
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Milo
Nov 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
I have a love/hate relationship with this book. The writing and imagery are superb and I always love a "down with tyrannical overloads, generic living, and medicalization" moral, but its other lesson leaves me cringing. In the basic knowledge I have of Ken Kesey, the book ultimately seems very misogynistic and anti-feminist. I'm all for a gender balance, but this book botches up the entire process in a method that purposely lacks tongue-in-cheek flair.

Basically, the plot seems to involve men me
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Raeleen Lemay
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 2017, own, book-club
August 2017
THANK GOODNESS I GAVE THIS ANOTHER TRY. Honestly though, watching the movie is what motivated me to pick this book up, and the fact that we picked it for my book club helped as well. I love both the book and the movie, both for completely different reasons. In the movie, Jack Nicholson's R.P. McMurphy is the main focus, whereas in the book Chief Bromden (the narrator) plays a much bigger role, which is almost entirely neglected in the movie. Reading the book from Chief's perspective a
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shelby *trains flying monkeys* by: Edward Lorn
My friend Ed was recently updating his books with reviews on here and this book popped up in my feed. It's my husband's favorite movie/book of all time and I realized that I had never picked the book up. I've watched bits and pieces of the movie in the three thousand times that my husband has watched it, but I had never experienced it first hand.
I'm gutted.
Why have I not just sat down and watched the film that was made from this book? I'm completely off my rocker.


Randle Patrick McMurphy. That g
...more
Annet
I just watched an interview with Stephen Fry and he mentioned this book. Read it a long long time ago. Read it for highschool already I think. Remember being shocked and amazed. Scary, funny, dark and wonderful at the same time. Un-be-lievable. And I just realized this is one of the best and impressive books I ever read. Definitely a top tenner ever.
Evgeny
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic
…one flew east, one flew west,
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest.


This classic book gave birth to a movie which won a truckload of Academy Awards. This means the majority of readers are familiar with one or the other and I thought a very brief review would be enough; something along the lines, "The book is very good". Seeing that some people miss the point of the story I had to ramble a little more than this short sentence, sorry.

A ward of a mental hospital in Oregon was ruled by an iron hand of it
...more
F
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seen-movie, usa
loved this.
One of my favourites.
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Time 100, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
"Ting. Tingle, tingle, tremble toes,
She’s a good fisherman, catches hens, puts ‘em inna pens
Wire blier, limber lock, three geese inna flock
One flew east, one flew west
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest

O-U-T- spells out… goose swoops down and plucks you out."
The title of the book was taken from a nursery rhyme but the first 3 and last lines were from the book, i.e., thoughts inside the head of the schizophrenic narrator, Chief Bromden as the nursery rhyme was used to be sung to him by his grandmothe
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Aj the Ravenous Reader
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Aj the Ravenous Reader by: Parthiban Sekar

Really unpopular opinion coming your way. Escape while you can.^^

How much of life is defined by choices and how much is determined by fate? Or is really fate that directs life’s order or is it people’s thirst for power, to remain strong? Does the rabbit live in a hole because the wolf decided so? What happens when the rabbit decides to challenge the wolf?

Such thoughts are provoked by this widely read and loved classic novel. The messages buried in an unexpected setting (a mental institution re
...more
Matt
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-novels
“All I know is this: nobody’s very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.”
- Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest


This is a book I had little interest in reading. A novel set in an insane asylum? No thanks.

I spent four years of my legal career defending indigent clients facing commitment before our local Board of Mental Health. It was an experience I had not trained for, prepared for, or frankly could have imagined befo
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Dannii Elle
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This renowned classic is a slow-paced read and an intense character study, set in the enclosed environment of a psychiatric hospital. Nurse Ratched rules her ward with a tyranny and a close-scrutiny that has the patients bent to her will and fearful of any misstep they might make to upset her. That is until a new character joins their ranks and threatens to usurp Ratched's rule. In their fight for dominance the inhabitants of the ward begin to understand a little something about personal freedom ...more
Robin
I really wish I'd read this before seeing the film.

Because all I could think about while reading, was him:



and, her:



and, of course, this guy:



It's a case of a brilliant movie sucking the life out of its original source. I was pleased to learn that the movie was true to the book, but it was SO true, I didn't find I got much out of this that I hadn't already. I have to give kudos to Ken Kesey for creating a fantastic trio of characters - McMurphy is a complex and compelling protagonist, Chief Bromd
...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
I first read this book in 2007 after I became a daytime outpatient at Our Lady of Peace, my city's mental health facility. I had a nervous breakdown after losing my teaching job. I went 5 days a week; I ate lunch there. I was so medicated they transported me. Somehow this book and movie, and especially the character of McMurphy, was how my dad related to me during this trying time. Mental health is a trigger issue with me. It's not understood today. It certainly wasn't understood in the '60s. Le ...more
Ann
Jun 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
This is one of the most fantastic novels of individualism pitted against the vast depersonalization of industrial society ever written. Ken Kesey has an extraordinary grasp of the challenges faced by us all in modern civilization, and he is able to convey his ideas through some of the richest imagery I have ever read. My favorite line in the novel, when Chief Bromden (the paranoid schizophrenic narrator) says, "But it's the truth, even if it didn't happen," sets the reader up from the very begin ...more
Наталия Янева
Декори: лудница... прощавайте, психиатрично отделение
Действащи лица: психично болни; Системата
Първо действие, първа сцена:
Елате по-близо. Още по-близо. Сега повдигнете завесата. Хайде де, не е толкова страшно. По-страшно е... Ето, точно така:

„Всички по местата си. Острите, седнете във вашата част на дневната и чакайте да ви се донесат картите за игра и монопола. Хрониците, седнете във вашата част и чакайте да ви се раздадат мозайките от червенокръстката кутия. Елис, върви на мястото си до стенат
...more
Anne
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-english
I needed some time to get used to the writing style, but letting the Chief (an outside figure, who, due to his "deafness", doesn't intervene with the main storyline too much) is certainly a stroke of genius, and after a while, I got used to his way of telling the story.
All the characters found a place in my heart, and they are what make the book so remarkable and memorable.
I thought they were some unnecessary scenes, but they were really minor, so they didn't put a huge dent into my enjoyment.
T
...more
Elyse
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was one of the best books I had ever read years ago. (just could not stop thinking of it)....

THEN....I went to see the stage play in S.F. (young maiden in High School) --

Powerful Classic!
jayne
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5

He knows that you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.

This was one heck of an intelligent, gripping and daring novel. Whilst, Ken Kesey's work is classified as a classic - it definitely does in no way correlate to that of Jane Austen or Charles Dickens. It was vulgar and uncomfortable and, definitely, controversial at the time of its publishing - but, man, was it a complex, mind-numbing, page-turner
...more
Perry
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ratched Up: A Spectacle of the Power
Literature May Provide One's Ebullition against Oppression
"I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind

Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?"
Gnarls Barkley, Crazy, 2006.

For me, this novel is the monotypic iconoclastic novel illustrating the evils of unbridled government oppression in the institutional forms of a democracy, both subtle and ruthless. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest evinces the fortisimmo force
...more
Manny
Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Like most people who grew up in the 60s, I loved this book and, even more, the film version with Jack Nicholson. I was reminded of it yesterday when Not and I got to talking about the Winona Ryder movie Girl, Interrupted.

"Oh," said Not dismissively, "it's just a remake of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

But I completely disagree. In fact, I think it's the most coherent criticism I've ever seen of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and does a wonderful job of subverting the message. Throughout mo
...more
Glenn Sumi
Thoughts after reading Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest:

1. Jack Nicholson (from the movie version) is physically NOTHING like Ken Kesey’s Randle Patrick McMurphy, who’s described as a big, barrel-chested, red-headed guy with beefy hands and a big scar over his nose. Everyone knows the story, right? McMurphy escapes a prison farm sentence by pretending to be mentally ill; he imagines a stay at a mental ward will be much easier than hard labour. Little does he know he’s going to meet hi
...more
AMEERA
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
absolutely 5/5
Lisa
Painful and heartbreaking to witness humanity's struggle to have a decent life while living within the boundaries others set for them. Not to be a rabbit, that is the ultimate goal!
Rebbie
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 huge magnificent stars!!

Someone could write an entire novel discussing all the genius intricacies and hidden meanings in this crafty book.

It's time to gather some notes and jot down some important highlights so this book gets the proper review it deserves from me.

Side note: I never watched the infamous movie with Jack Nicholson, but now I have to! Hopefully Netflix has it.
Mariah
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was listening to it on audio CD and had a lot of problems with it, so I needed to take many day breaks in-between listening…. so I got a little behind!

I read this book for the goodreads book club Diversity in All Forms! If you would like to participate in the discussion here is the link: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

I found this book fascinating. What I am really focused on right away was the nicknames everyone had and how that represented where they stood, their importance. The BIG
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
436. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
عنوانها: پرواز بر فراز آشیانه فاخته؛ دیوانه از قفس پرید؛ نویسنده: کن کیسی؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ششم اکتبر سال 2005 میلادی
عنوان: پرواز بر فراز آشیانه فاخته؛ نویسنده: کن کیسی؛ مترجم: سعید باستانی؛ تهران، نیل، 1355؛ در 332 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1357؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، هاشمی؛ 1384؛ در 368 ص؛ شابک: 9647199090؛
عنوان: دیوانه از قفس پرید؛ نویسنده: کن کیسی؛ مترجم: امیر اسماعیلی؛ تهران، توسن، 1368؛ در 170 ص؛
داستان در بیمارستانی روانی در ایالت اورگن آمریکا میگذرد؛ و حاوی
...more
Roberto
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 1001, nord-america

Una normale anormalità

Ho un collega un po’ particolare; precisissimo (pedante e meticoloso alla massima potenza), autistico (allinea le penne), poco flessibile (il vetro al confronto è gomma da masticare), si costruisce dei film mentali che poi ritiene veri. Gli ho udito dire “scusa, mi metto in modalità lettura veloce”; per fare il tagliando dell’auto fa seicento km perché “là lo fanno meglio”. Usa otto sveglie al mattino, una per ogni cosa che deve fare (una per alzarsi, una per lavare i denti
...more
Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, recent
"It's the truth even if it didn't happen.”
Candychaser21
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
NO SPOILERS!!!!I watched the movie first since I didn't know at the time that it was one of those book/movie adaptations. I prefer to watch the movie after I read the book because I do not want to read a book that I already know whats going to happen in. A book is a much bigger investment of time compared to a movie. Since I enjoyed the movie so much, I decided to break my rule and read the book since the book is most of the time better than the movie. I was glad that I did because while readin ...more
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1,427 followers
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
...more
More about Ken Kesey

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“Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.” 2315 likes
“All I know is this: nobody's very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.” 636 likes
More quotes…