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Sometimes a Great Notion [Mass Market Paperback]

4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 599 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553130641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553130645
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,199,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great American Novel 1 Feb 2004
By A Customer
In the search for the 20thC "Great American Novel", what a pity that Kesey's masterpiece (yes, even better than "Cuckoo") should have fallen foul in its time of what was deemed political incorrectness.
"Gravity's Rainbow" is perhaps the only other late 20thC work of such epic proportions (but it's not about America).
I don't think any other novel brings face to face so many vital opposites of the American way of life. The Cain/Abel, East coast/West Coast and generational confrontation between the two half-brothers: one with his six-pack and Fats Domino records, the other with his joint and Coltrane, is sublime.
Across from the fierce small town solidarity during a hard loggers' strike, Kesey places the nuclear and extended independent family spirit; both are wholly American. The district union leader and the local bar owner (increased activity for both) provide a wider, detached view; while the East-coast half-brother (coopted after fleeing a failing student career and a hilariously failed suicide suicide attempt) narrates a wonderful tale.
There is not a dud character in the whole novel; and it abounds with characters...
I envy those who have not read it, so much pleasure to come; although I may just dig my copy out and go for a fifth or sixth read
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes a Great Notion 15 Jan 2008
By C.S
Undoubtedly better in both form and content than Cuckoo's Nest, Sometimes a Great Notion is as a challenging, but enjoyable read. It is a long novel, with extremely lenghty chapters which demand the readers constant attention. Kesey presents characters even more memorable and convincing than those of Cuckoo's Nest. The conflict between the two Stamper brothers is utterly compelling, as is the presentation of other minor roles. The novel is more realistic than Cuckoo's Nest, being set in an Oregon logging town, but far more experimental, with Kesey employing multiple narrative viewpoints. As Kesey's finest novel, it works on an epic scale, dealing with the multi-generational Stamper family drama, and in a wider sense, American history.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this for your own sake! 10 Sep 2005
This is the best book I have ever read. A bold statement, I agree, but nothing else comes close apart from watching your own family through the eyes of a fly on the wall. The relationship between the brothers is so fine tuned and subtly written it's amazing, not to mention the whole family. There's just so much good stuff in this book. The only reason that it has been overlooked so much is that it's rather long with some hefty chapters that need a couple of hours each. That doesn't detract from the book at all, it adds to it, making the reader commit to and become immersed in the story. Every character is real and I still think about bits when on the bus or train as if it were a memory from my own life it's that vivid in my mind. Do I sound mad yet? Probably. Should you read this book? Definitely.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I've loved this book for years, probably the most read book in my collection and I'm pleased to see by the previous reviews that I'm not alone. It's a real Kesey tour de force and stands head and shoulders above Cuckoo's Nest. And apparently it's now been elevated to Penguin Classic status, wonderful.
So I got quite excited when I thought I could get it on my new Kindle and take it everywhere with me. Wrong...! Penguin UK know nothing of the US Kindle version, which I'm not allowed to buy since I live in the UK. Strange, since it's only downloadable digits. I don't even think they are aware it has their "classic" status either. When asked they knew nothing about it...?!

Now this is a great American Classic so why on earth is it being ignored by Penguin UK? It's all very confusing and it also reveals what could be the serious future shortcomings of owning a Kindle, territorial exclusivity, something I hadn't considered until now. But it becomes obvious when you think about it, it's a vendor's dream. It does seem to go against the Amazon claim of wanting to have every book available for the Kindle though, I guess that's just a marketing ploy after all. Duh! and there I was thinking I was clever enough to spot a ploy. So for me this has revealed a major drawback and I'm not so happy with my Kindle now.
Maybe one day Penguin will publish it in the UK in some form or other, you never know.

Anyway, apart from my pointless carping about availablity on a commercial e-reader, I would recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone interested in great writing and storytelling and what actually makes the real America tick. Timeless...
Get a copy in any shape or form, you won't be dissapointed.

Update: Almost a year laterand still no sign of it for the Kindle...I rest my case...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Individual versus society 29 Mar 2010
By noc
This is a long and dense book but a rewarding read. Kesey brings the reader right into the deepest recesses of the characters' minds. The novel is thick with profound consideration of human relationships and social behaviour and how this balances with the strong instinct for individual survival. As well as the meticulously detailed characterisation, the landscape is described in such a way that you feel it , see it and smell it along with the Wakonda locals. This isn't an easy read, though it is surprising how easy it is given its unusual narrative style, flicking seamlessly between points of view and from first-person to third person, to subconscious, even into the minds of animals. However, it is a rich, beautiful, moving and at times shocking novel of wide scope and substance. I loved it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great saga
Persevere with this book it will reward you. It starts off with a flourish but then the next 100 pages take a bit of getting through. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jazzguy
5.0 out of 5 stars Irresistible Force Meets An Immovable Object
This is a truly great book. My favorite of Kesey's although `Last Go Round' is good it doesn't compare to the weight that this book carries. Read more
Published 21 months ago by M. Longazel
1.0 out of 5 stars awesome_books_001 aka WRAP LTD
Purchased from awesome_books_001 aka WRAP LTD. Book was heavily yellowed with age, cover was not the same as that shown in the listing, the book was marked as £1. Read more
Published on 9 Feb 2012 by Tinea cruris
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning - best book I've ever read
Just amazing. Long but totally absorbing, packed full of beautifully written characters. Swings this way and that but you always feel like you're being led by a masterful writer.
Published on 10 Dec 2008 by Paul Rodriguez
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern American Masterpeice
Sometimes a Great Notion is an absolute masterpeice of a novel. It's a great pity that it has been overshadowed by 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' in popularity because it is a... Read more
Published on 14 Jan 2007 by Aaron Noy
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare reincarnated
Absolutely one of the best contemporary american novels I've read.

Shakespearean in scope and depth. Read more
Published on 6 Sep 2006 by WhiteCrow
5.0 out of 5 stars A great notion
Having read Cuckoo's nest, which I enjoyed a great deal, I brought 'Sometimes a Great Notion'. When it arrived I unwrapped it to discover a great block of a book and promptly... Read more
Published on 11 Aug 2006 by Sandy Potato
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recomended
this is one of the best books ive ever read. easily as good as coocoos nest if not better. The book is massive; loads of characters and lovely discriptions of oregan. Read more
Published on 12 Nov 2003 by "fuzzythinker"
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