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Publisher's Summary

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of the most electrifying, most admired novels of our time. Set in the bleak confines of a state mental hospital and narrated by a half-Indian patient named Chief Bromden, it's the story of a titanic battle of wills between two unforgettable characters.

On one side is Big Nurse, who rules her ward with iron discipline. On the other is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a lustful, brawling, life-loving new inmate who refuses to knuckle under to Big Nurse's soul-destroying methods. In the end, McMurphy pays the ultimate price for his defiance, but not before the rebellious spirit has shown Chief Bromden the way to reclaim his future.

©1962 Ken Kesey (P)1993 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"A glittering parable of good and evil." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A roar of protest against middlebrow society's Rules and the Rulers who enforce them." (Time)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    17

Performance

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    68
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nina
  • Arlington, VA, USA
  • 08-29-08

Even better than I remember1

Like most, I remember this movie from many years ago. At that time, I was quite moved by it. And when I listened to the book, I was doubly impressed. Exquisitely written and pulls no punches. Try this one.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting!!!

Wow! I???d seen the movie some time ago in the 20th Century, but the book is electric. Told from the half Indian???s point of view and not Jack Nicholson???s McMurphy character, (which makes far more sense considering the story's outcome). There???s just so much more going on when you read/listen than when you watch. The imagination is the key thing and more importantly, the writing. Kesey is a brilliant folk story teller/writer who's prose is tight and riveting.

I recommend this one.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Masterpiece!

Ken Kesey says that he never watched the movie because he disagreed with Jack Nicholson playing the lead character. The book is definitely better than the movie. It's art.

Ken breathes heavily in parts and that is distracting but it is interesting to hear how the author reads his own words.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Book

Interesting and captivating story and the author's interpretation makes it that much more interesting. After hearing the book, I had to see the movie, yeah, the book is far better. The interview with Ken Kesey is a very enjoyable addition to the download.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Pavel
  • Czech Republic
  • 03-31-11

Compared to the movie

I found the audiobook slightly less entertaining. I've read the whole book in the past, I guess it should be better to listen to unabridged version.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Barry
  • Petaluma, CA, United States
  • 09-13-12

Did I really get the abridged version?

Geez, 3 hours is hardly more than a short story. Well, it's a powerful little book, but clearly the work of a young man. Part of the continuum in counterculture literature that began in the 1940s and had its zenith in the 1960s before petering out into new age pablum on one side and left wing diatribes on the other. This book was written with all the sincerity and passion of its times. I suppose it's essential reading to anyone who wants to get the full flavor of that era, but it's only one slice of the whole picture. Probably it should be read at different times of ones life because I guarantee you will see it differently at 20 than you will at 50.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wade
  • Modesto, CA
  • 11-02-17

Great Classic

This is the abridged book. If you can, buy the unabridged version. It is worth the extra time. It still holds up as a classic minus the decision not to use a professional narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Glorianne
  • BOULDER, CO, United States
  • 04-12-12

It's a classic for a good reason

I had seen the movie, so I wasn't sure I needed to read the book. But, I'm trying to read all of the books listed in 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, so I downloaded this for a quick listen.

I should have known. Any book, even a short book like this one, has a different feel than a movie, a way of getting into a character's head and sloshing around inside. Unlike the movie, the book is told from the perspective of Chief, which provides an interesting way to look at a story you thought you knew. I found the ultimate consequences doled out (don't worry, no spoilers) much more painful in the book, even though I was expecting it this time. Kesey writes and narrates well, and it's a powerful complement to the movie.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Couldn't wait to get back in the car!

This was a great story and I really enjoyed listening to the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome

I love this book and the author reads it well.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lottie
  • 04-13-13

I'm so glad I got this!

I have meaning to read/listen to this title for so long and felt ashamed that, as a book lover, I have never read it. You are in a mental institution and you see the cogs in the machine, and the big nurse pulling the lever. Until,that is a new patient arrives and his aim is to break down the whole operation. It is narrated by another patient that you feel yourself cheering for him at the end. A beautiful story about human soul and its obstacles through life and against oneself.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Natz M
  • 02-25-18

Poor

Downloaded this one as was a lot quicker than the one on YouTube...now I know why! As it doesn’t read the full book and misses out loads of the the book. Glad I didn’t purchase it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • J Conroy
  • 11-01-17

Bad

This book is not the same as the original written and skips a lot of sentences and passages.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bianca Lashley
  • 11-04-16

good book and storyline

the performance was good and the story was gripping, but quite shocking as well. really enjoyed it and a relatively short book compared to what i have been reading recently.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Brian Mc
  • 05-20-17

Not so cuckoo

I enjoyed this book. I listened to the author read it on Audible. The story is superb and invites another perspective on mental illness. I felt a little uneasy with some of the prejudices that reflected the less equality informed attitudes of the time. The narrator's perspective - a Native American chief's son added further depth to the material (Kesey says he wrote the first number of pages while high on peyote, and this narrating character was a surprise to him). A classic must read!

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Chantelle
  • 04-05-16

Skips Paragraphs

What disappointed you about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?

I liked the book but the audiobook skipped many paragraphs so it was impossible to read along with my copy of the book

Has One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest put you off other books in this genre?

No, but it has put me off other audiobooks as I don't want to read another book that skips parts.

How could the performance have been better?

Ken Kesey sounded drunk whilst reading and skipped parts

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?

NONE! I'm complaining about the fact scenes were cut.

Any additional comments?

Frankly the audiobook was a disappointment.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful