The magnificent second novel from the legendary author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Following the astonishing success of his first novel, One. Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. Andrew Imbrie Dayton; May 1, This monthly feature invites readers to (re)discover a work that’s so rich and. “Sometimes a Great Notion” () has always played a second novel fiddle to ” One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (), especially after the.

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Oddly enough, I wasn’t terribly confused by the character-jumping narrative, for me the trudge came at the hands of the drawn out descriptions, the constant, seemingly trifling ruminations, and the inexplicably soap operatic family skeletons, so easy to predict yet delivered with such severe, assured confidence. He decides to travel back to his roots in the Oregon timberlands to help with the logging business and to gain revenge against Hank. Hank is in tune with nature in a physical and metaphysical sense.

Henry never finds out about the affair and Hank never realizes that Leland knows about his secret affair with Myra. Hank, by his first wife, and Leland Stanford by his second.

Dressed in a jester’s outfit, Kesey was the chief prankster. To be fair, Kesey knew the area much better than that, but it doesn’t come out.

The only truly developed gal was Viv, and she was not nearly as thoroughly done as any of the men. The only Kesey book I’ve appreciated. American writer, who gained world fame with his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nestfilmed Sep 05, Simon Robs rated it really liked it.

He is asked to return home to help with the family logging business due to strike action and even before he gets there he is going over in his head what will happen when he notoon his family again and especially his oldest brother as there are certain tensions between them.

Sometimes a Great Notion

He also returns to a dying father and a union squabble between the town of Wakonda and the Stamper philosophy from time immemorial: Because I will tell you right now, this book made me cry. There is another brother who is like a child with his never ending positivism and joy of life who I found to be one ggreat the keseh characters I have ever had the pleasure to get to know.


Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest was one of the best novels of he season and certainly the most striking in many years.

Looking for More Great Reads? Some times, maybe it’s better to write a fun, kick ass, hilarious, vivid, sad, confusing, all-encompassing messy book! Quotes from Sometimes a Great They need help xometimes finish this contract job, so brothers Joe Ben and Hank Stamper send a postcard to their estranged half-brother, a student at Yale.

Every character has a turn at first person voice and the speaker can switch kese times, sometimes even within a single paragraph. It’s written in several intersecting styles. By this time, Kesej and Joe Ben have been killed, the mill has been partly burned down, and the boathouse has been dynamited into the river. The small town is dying due to the introduction of the gas-powered chainsaw, which has reduced greatly the need for manual labor.

Leland receives the card from Oregon just after he has unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide by gassing himself. Kesey brings the whole place to life, in such vivid and articulated way, this is eksey great strength of the Great Notion, and has to rank up there with the best contemporary novels of all time!. The only problem, for me anyway, is that it takes Kesey hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages to get to the payoff.

Which remains unresolved, as in all great novels. He also jumps around between character perspectives, sometimes at the start of paragraphs, but even within a paragraph, too, and typically not signifying that a switch has happened.


Kesey spent his early years hunting, fishing, swimming; he learned to box and somefimes, and he was a star football player. There’s a vitality and life in this narrative; it almost feels conversational, like someone’s whispering it in your ear. The Stampers will not succumb to the demands of the union workers to cease working so that they can gain the benefit of higher wages. Dec 07, Mary rated it it was amazing Shelves: Lee comes back, much to everyone’s surprise, but he returns motion complex motivations.


Viv feels trapped and her love kessy her husband, Hank, wanes as she comes to understand her place in the household. In association with his family, Hank is able to withstand a variety of pressures including the forces of nature, i. It’s in my personal Top Three of All Time.

Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

This told in the broken language of the uneducated oldtimer of a father. There is one passage of obser By far my favorite book ever May 24, Diana Welsch rated it it was amazing. It starred Paul Newman and Henry Fonda, and like the book it is not nearly as popular as the film version of “Cuckoo’s Nest” mentioned above.

All are players acting out their ultimate destinies, railing against the power of nature human and earthly. Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. The novel teaches that a person should have the right to try to be as big as he believes it is in him to be.

He fled to Mexico, where he faked an unconvincing suicide and then returned to the United States, serving a five-month prison sentence at the San Mateo County Jail. With no axes to be found, Hank valiantly but unsuccessfully attempts to save Joe Ben.

Struggling at that time with my undone want to write and my fear of a future as a bank employee or an accountant or something equally as awful and cubicleized — I was so impressed by Kesey’s peaceful smile that it encouraged me to continue with my art.

View all 9 comments. A quintessential Northwest read, I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a moving, memorable and challenging read. Whether you like the book is up to you: