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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This is my favorite book ever. That encapsulation is not only horribly unjust a book of this magnitude deserves much more than a paltry surface summation like thatbut also is likely to turn off your average modern reader. I really loved this one. Kesey knows his woods like Richard Powers’ tree bible only from opposing sides which brings me to a salient query: The opening is difficult to get through, and I needed to start reading it three times over the last few years just to build up enough momentum to get through it.

So we get a line on him and haul him in.

Sometimes a Great Notion: The Story of a Family Who Would Never Give an Inch

Above all, this is a book about peoplefilled with some of the most fascinating and deeply drawn characters I have come across in a terribly grezt time. Overcome by the potential of the Oregon climate and wilderness to overpower and destroy men, the intimidated Jonas leaves his family and goes somettimes to Kansas. And the Scenes Gone By and the Scenes to Come flow blending together in the sea-green deep while Now spreads in circles on the surface.


Kesey’s next novel, Sometimes a Great Notionappeared two years later and was also made into a film, this time directed by Paul Newman. By the way, in there was film version of Sometimes a Great Notion. I’ve always been one for economy in literature, both in words and interpretation, but Kesey’s prose comes in torrents and leaves little doubt as to his intention. It is also about families, work, the North West, rivalry, individualism The town is a nltion town and the somerimes are striking for better wages.

That, right there, is the jumping point to Notion. ONE, stray word you could take out?


I haven’t said hardly anything about Hank, Joe Ben, Viv, Leland, and Henry, because if I start writing about them, I’ll end up transcribing the entire six-hundred-page book here. One can use words like “amazing” “enlightening” “sprawling” “heroic” and “pure” to describe this book but it barely gets at it. This story is told from a huge array of characters, each defined in loving detail, including their unvarnished physicality as well as their frame of mind.

It’s got man vs. The story nltion narrated by Chief Bromden. Bucking that strike out of sheer cussedness are the Stampers. There is another brother who is like a child with his never ending positivism and joy of life who I found to be one of the best characters I have ever had the pleasure to get to know.

In the s, Kesey became a counterculture hero and a guru of psychedelic drugs with Timothy Leary. In an ironic twist of fate, the chainsaw, an important cause of the strike itself, fails and results in the death of the optimistic, hard-working, well-liked and loyal Joe Ben.


But if you don’t like “working” a bit to decode what’s happening on the page, this one probably isn’t for you. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. A great read all in all. There was a problem adding your email address.

Henry had recovered sufficiently to rejoin the logging efforts.

The humor comes from the foibles and flaws of these most colorful and well rendered characters, often hilariously so. Sometimes I lives in the country Sometimes I lives in the town Sometimes I haves a great notion To jump into the river an’ drown [2].

No Northwest novel may have a more Northwest opening passage than “Sometimes a Great Notion,” which begins as Kesey tracks the birth of a river: I’m going to divide my review of this into 2 sections: Discussion for Sometimes a Great Notion 6 38 Dec 08, Whether you like the book is up to you: Lists with This Book.

Which remains unresolved, as in all great novels.

Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey | Washington Independent Review of Books

It might even be my Desert Island novel! There is the old croaky father Henry, sons Hank, and Leland recently returning from the east coastand hank’s partner Viv.

Lee has abandoned his sheltered academic life in the East to affirm himself as a man.