Saturday, February 13, 2010

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

A man struggles against the sticky tentacles of suffocating modern society as personified by a big titted nurse.

I never realized what a good read this book was – the plot races along, pulling the reader with it. The conflict is clear and sharp. RP McMurphy thinks he’s going to outsmart the system by transferring from jail to the nuthouse. But this time he’s the one who gets outsmarted. Instead of backtracking and being shrewd, and saving himself, he sacrifices himself for the weak lunatics who have lost their manhood. He gives them a sense of worth, and a sense of fun. The book is full of great details from the asylum. The characters are presented very vividly, yet a little clich├ęd. None of them are really very surprising.

The twist is that the novel is narrated by a crazy person who of course can see the truth. The strong man afraid to use his strength. The dated misogyny drew me out of the story at times. Sympathetic women characters revere McMurphy, though he comes off as a fuck up.

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