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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 listeners say about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

33 people found this helpful

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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.

42 people found this 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.

13 people found this helpful

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Reilly made this

An excellent American classic, but Reilly as the narrator is what made it so easy to fall into. I can't say I would have listened to it if he had not been the narrator, but I'm glad he was and I'm glad I did.

4 people found this 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.

9 people found this helpful

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CrAzY Adds Color to the World!

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

One of the best. The story's not perfect, but most of it is very interesting. And the performance is great.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters. Colorful as they all were.

Which scene was your favorite?

Probably the scenes where all the patients are together talking in their group meetings. Quite funny.

If you could take any character from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Harding. Love his brilliance!

Any additional comments?

Their outing was unnecessary and a bit out-of-place. Should have kept it all in the cuckoo's nest. Overall though, definitely recommend this one!

3 people found this helpful

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Narrator rocked this favorite of mine!!!

If you could sum up One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in three words, what would they be?

Outstanding, & chillingly accurate.

What did you like best about this story?

Well of course when ol' R.P. McMurphy chokes the crap out of the sadistic nurse Ratchet.
Isn't that everyones?

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

Okay this is the reason why I wanted to write a full review. I have listened to a lot of books through Audible and John was one of the best narrators I've heard so far. He took the time and effort to give each character voice and well...character!! Thank you John for not messing up one of my all time favorite reads!!!!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

This book all ways moves me due to the subject matter, time period and how well it was written.

Any additional comments?

The US is still very much lacking in its care and treatment of the mentally ill. but man I am always more grateful for how far we HAVE come since the time period of this novel. It may only be a novel but it sadly is so true. This should be a must read!!!

3 people found this helpful

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McMurphy vs. Nurse Ratched

McMurphy lost the battle. Nurse Ratched remains the most famous villain of all American literature.

I ead Cuckoo's Nest a long time ago (approximately 50 years, but did not see the 1975 movie. My impression then was that it is a profoundly sad story about the treatment of people in mental hospitals at the time the book was published (early 1960s). At he time few lobotomies and electrical shock treatment were widely used. The value of the book is the strength of the message that our mental health system must be changed because it is likely doing more damage than good.

I'm now even more saddened by the story Ken Kesey tells. There are no winners here except for the great performance by John C Reilly. Cuckoo's Nest is was not written to entertain; it was written to inspire anger anger strong enough to stir Us citizens into action.

12 people found this helpful

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The best narration I’ve heard!

John C Reilly is a very talented man. He made this book extremely enjoyable. I hope he decides to narrate others!

2 people found this 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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • SloshyDolphin
  • 01-14-20

why the god awful music?

Brilliant story and excellent narrator , marked down because of the god awful random Indian music. Stop putting music in audio books keep it to plays and performances or tell me it has music in and save my time

7 people found this helpful

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  • Roddy
  • 05-22-19

Beyond excellent

I've read the book a number of times and watched the movie several times but listening to John C. Reilly read it was the best way to experience this wonderful story. His range of characterisations was a treat to hear. Definitely one of the best audio books I have experienced.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-06-20

Amazing story with amazing narrator

This took me a little time to get in to, but by half way through I was completely hooked. Incredible tale of a power struggle and oppressive authority. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out and convincing and all brought to vivid life through John C Reilly. I knew he was a great actor, but I'm now a massive fan!
Highly recommend this book!

2 people found this helpful

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  • declan brady
  • 04-20-20

classic

brilliant book , like the movie, it grabs you and won't last go till your finished ...have a listen

1 person found this helpful

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  • williamschef
  • 04-21-21

Simply brilliant

This is one of those books that you return to time and again.

Simply brilliant.

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  • rednagrima
  • 04-03-21

Great story, excellent narration.

The narrator brings out the characters very well. Story is really good! Definitely worth getting.

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  • Miss SL Murray
  • 03-17-21

Iconic story

Incredible storytelling, immersive and great character portrayal! I have already recommended it to many people, it's a must listen

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  • siobhan brophy
  • 01-16-21

wow

gripping from the get go. I loved this book and would highly recommend it. if you liked the movie, you'll love this book

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  • Stephen Thomas Watt
  • 12-06-20

John C Reily is fantastic

A fantastic book expertly narrated by John C Reily!! Loved the movie, loved the book even more.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-30-20

It was okay

I enjoyed it I think the book is way better than the movie as it goes more in depth

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-28-21

fan freaking tastic!

The narrator was incredible. I knew everyone by voice - and the emotion!
The way the author describes impressions and exchanges between characters is something you can't live without experiencing. This is my new favorite book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-18-20

Masterful narration

Whether you love or hate the novel doesn't matter. Though clearly it's excellent. Buy this audiobook for the narration alone though and you won't be disappointed. It's not surprising given it's John C Reilly but this is the best narration I've listened to in many years of audio books.

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  • Luke
  • 09-14-20

My favourite movie. highly enjoyed the book.

superb. I couldn't put it down. totally different from the movie. would highly recommend. cheers

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  • sam price
  • 10-14-19

really great narration and story!

as with the title of the review, John C Reilly is probably my favourite narrator now, too bad he hasn't narrated much books.
Actual story is great too!