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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I read it in high school, and wasn’t as impressed as I’d hoped. Often the same event is viewed from several different perspectives.

Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey | : Books

The writing is lovely. He also jumps around grrat character perspectives, sometimes at the start of paragraphs, but even within a paragraph, too, and typically not signifying that a switch has happened.

Sep 25, A-ron rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: The way he describes someone with a mustache with a mouthful of nails sticking out as he goes along the side of a plank of wood, hammering.

In the ragged logging community where they both grew up, things don’t go entirely as planned.

Sometimes a Great Notion

The Wine of Solitude by Patricia Bochi. View all 3 comments. When the town finally thinks it has crushed Hank Stamper, there is only superficial joy, because his spirit was the spirit someti,es had all given up too long ago.

Books give all kinds of cues as to where you left off reading, from where they naturally open, to ink smudges on the edge, to remembered bits of dialogue or description.



It represents the strength of men to defeat, at least temporarily, overwhelming forces. I hated this book for a long time. See all 4 questions about Sometimes a Great Notion…. This is a wet novel. Sorry fella, no weirdness here. That, right there, is the jumping point to Notion. Even the supporting cast have rich backstories, like the town prostitute Indian Jenny who calls men to her bed by throwing clamshells and then buying them drinks; Biggy Newton, the overgrown class bully who has been beating up and getting beaten up by Hank since they were in school together; Les Gibbons, an old drunk someimes bitter by a life of grudges; Boney Stokes, Henry’s alleged best friend, who wishes for his downfall more than anyone who hates him; Teddy the fat bartender who thinks he knows everything about the human condition as sometime waters down all the drinks.

All of the elements of the novel including its characters, events, settings, symbols, and so on, are integrated and oriented toward the themes of independence, individualism, and self-sufficiency. This one is also my desert island novel, and I’m having trouble finding anything that makes a comparable impact.

Whether you like the book is up to you: On the fucking subway. Henry returns with a youthful new wife, Myra. And a boring union struggle with a bunch of backwoods hicks?

Kesey has been called the Pied Piper, who changed the beat generation into the hippie movement. And all these characters have rich internal lives to match their greaf outer ones, and so a major climactic scene needs to be told by everyone at once, just like it happens.

Draeger is convinced that all people behave according to predictable patterns.


These stoic, complicated, multifaceted men were unfortunately not graced by the presence of equally complex women; most of the ladies in the book were shrewish, mute, or dead though the dead were often even more powerful forces than the living. A logging family, right? Jul 26, Martin rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: It made me remember that one of the things we’ve lost in our pomo irony age is the serious emotional connection that it is possible to make with earnest, deep characters.

Kesey attended a creative writing course taught by the novelist Wallace Stegner.

Lee Stamper is a pill-addled pretentious beatnik who has his head in the oven when the card drops through his mail slot. In the s, Kesey became a keaey hero and a guru of psychedelic drugs with Timothy Leary. One of her central decisions, one of the axes on which the entire plot turned, I found completely unfounded, unjustified, and almost insulting.

We each have our own struggles and in that, we can closely relate with some of these people. After the work, Kesey gave up publishing novels.

Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

With Henry kese injured, the family needs additional labor and, as a result, Hank sends for his half-brother, Leland, who is doing graduate work back East. What do you do? Return to Book Page.

A lot of people love this book, but for the life of me, I can’t say why.