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Publisher's Summary

A 50th-anniversary edition of Ken Kesey's searing American classic.

Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Turning conventional notions of sanity and insanity on their heads, the novel tells the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the story through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them all imprisoned.

Hailed upon its publication as a "glittering parable of good and evil" (The New York Times Book Review) and a "roar of protest against middlebrow society's Rules and the invisible Rulers who enforce them" (Time), Kesey's powerful book went on to sell millions of copies and remains as bracing and insightful today as when it was first released. This new deluxe audio edition commemorates the 50th anniversary of the original publication of the novel on February 1, 1962, and will be a must have for any literature lover.

©1990 Ken Kesey (P)2012 Penguin Audiobooks

What members say

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Story

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Fantastic

What did you love best about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?

John C. Reilly's performance. Hats off to whoever it was that thought of having him read 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' When I saw this on audible's homepage I knew it was going to be something special.

What other book might you compare One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to and why?

'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' has been compared to 'The Catcher in the Rye' and that sounds about right. However, I've always found it difficult to compare some books to other. In terms of quality, where the source material and the narrator are well matched, I would compare this to audible's 'The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao' and 'Blood Meridian.'

What does John C. Reilly bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I would probably find John C. Reilly's readings of directions on how to take Tylenol entertaining. Having him read one of the best English-language novels is a rare treat.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I don't think another film adaptation needs to be made of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.' The Milos Forman, Jack Nicholson version is pretty damn good.

Any additional comments?

One of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to from audible. I’d put it right up there with Junot Diaz’s and Jonathan Davis’s ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ and the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R. R. Martin and Roy Dotrice. This is one of those rare examples where the marriage of performer and material are perfect. I would also highly recommend this to first-time listeners as an example of what the medium can be when it’s at its best.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book is one that will stick with me for a long time. I have seen the movie several times but never took the time to read the book. I had no idea what I was missing out on! Understanding psychiatric illness from a patient's perspective so completely is a rare experience and one that I would recommend to anyone. John Reilly did an excellent job narrating, capturing the characters so that the listener is drawn in.

What was one of the most memorable moments of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?

When Chief finally talked.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I wouldn't make a film of this book, as I don't think a remake would top the original film.

Any additional comments?

I rarely write reviews, but this one just begged for comment. It was moving at times and hilarious at times. I can understand why it is considered a modern classic.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Best Narration I have ever listened to

This is a great book, made perfect by the narration of John C Reilly.
The best narration of an audible book I have ever listened to.
This book is a stunning example of how power corrupts so completely.
There is a fine line between sanity and normality.
I hope Mr Reilly graces us with more narrations in future.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A Monument of Wit


"The monuments of wit survive the monuments of power."
-- Francis Bacon, 1561-1626

This novel still represents for me the tremendous power of literature; a monument of wit so keenly illustrating the evils of unbridled government oppression, in a democracy, and its institutional forms, both subtle and ruthless.

Ken Kesey wrote this relatively straightforward story in 1959 (published in 1962) of an Oregon mental ward, its patients and the battle between Randle McMurphy, a rebellious, gregarious convict who saw the ward as an easy way to serve his few months prison time, and Nurse Ratched, one of the most memorable and monstrous villains in all of literature. The book's primary metaphor is that of the government as "The Combine," as it's known by the narrator "Chief" Bromden, a mechanism for manipulating individuals and processes. Kesey personifies The Combine in Nurse Ratched, a hellhag who uses a bagful of disciplinary tactics, most so subtle that the mental patients can't see they're being controlled and some so heinous it's unimaginable they can be used without some sort of due process (e.g., electroshock "therapy" and lobotomy).

The novel is, by turns, hilarious and infuriating.

John C. Reilly, a one-time Oscar nominee and best known for his comic roles in Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, is the perfect narrator for this motley crew of characters and is spot-on in his portrayal of McMurphy.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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John C. Reilly is amazing!

Where does One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the top books.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the beautifully constructed sentences. You can't listen to this book and not appreciate the vivid imagery and the how well it is written.

What about John C. Reilly’s performance did you like?

I chose this book because I like John C. Reilly. I loved it from the beginning because he did a great job with the voices and was one of the best narrators I've heard. By the end I was so captivated in the story and the characters that I almost forgot who was narrating. Excellent job!

Who was the most memorable character of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and why?

The character narrating the book is Chief Brompton and thought he was most memorable because of how much he changes from beginning to end.

Any additional comments?

Great read!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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This is a MUST HAVE audio book!

What does John C. Reilly bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I have been an audiobook user for many years, and John C. Reilly is absolutely the best narrator I've ever heard. He could turn the phone book into riveting entertainment. The book is a classic, so I knew I'd enjoy the story and characters, but John C. Reilly took the experience to another level.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic!

Mr. Reilly does a beautiful job of bringing this classic to life. A story that digs into the human psyche and roots around till we see a clearer picture of ourselves. It is hard not to have a picture of Jack Nicholson as McMurphy in ones mind during this compelling story. Could we all be as crazy as McMurphy, things might be more fun around this blue ball we live on. This is a great listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Aroma Park, IL, United States
  • 08-15-12

Great American Novel

What did you love best about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?

I love this novel and consider it one of the best American novels of the past 100 years. John C. Reilly's narration was supperb.

Have you listened to any of John C. Reilly’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've never heard him narrate a book before but I do think that he is a good actor and have enjoyed him in such movies as Boogie Nights.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Good listen!

Interesting story and loved John C. Reilly reading it!! Definitely wanted to listen before watching the movie.

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Couldn't stop listening, and perfect narration

I saw the movie decades ago and rembered the general story, the characters of Randel and Nurse Ratched, and the ending but that was it. This story was incredible. I couldn't stop listening, the characters intrigued me, the situations/experiencea so vivid and John C. Reilly's narration was pure perfection. An all time favorite now. Finished 2 days ago and now listening again as I type this. That good!