Wednesday, February 1, 1962: 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'

The novel by Ken Kesey is published by Viking Press. The New York Times wrote on February 4: "What Mr. Kesey has done in his unusual novel is to transform the plight of a ward of inmates in a mental institution into a glittering parable of good and evil. ... The catastrophic terminus of this novel is a bit obvious. But the route traversed is so brilliantly illuminated that it is reward enough."

Time magazine wrote in 2005, in listing it among the top 100 English-language novels since 1923 (the year Time was founded): "When Kesey decided to take on the hypocrisy, cruelty and enforced conformity of modern life, he dug into his own experiences as a test subject in a mental hospital. In Cuckoo's Nest the irrepressible inmate Randle McMurphy does battle with the icy, power-mad Nurse Ratched to liberate, or at least breathe a little life into, the crushed and cowed patients she lords it over, while the book's stonily silent narrator Chief Bromden looks on. Both an allegory of individualism and a heart-tearing psychological drama, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest manages to be uplifting without giving an inch to the seductions of sentimality."

* More about Kesey (from The Beat Page): @
* Kesey tribute site: @
* Website of Kesey's son, Zane: @
* Actor Christopher Lloyd reads from the book: @
* "The Parts That Were Left Out" (from www.redhousebooks.com): @
* "Insanity as Redemption in Contemporary American Fiction: Inmates Running the Asylum" (book by Barbara Tepa Lupack): @

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