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on 10 September 2017
Can it really be 50 years since the publication of this book, I remember my first reading in the mid 70's and it has been a great pleasure, and a walk down memory lane, to once again make the acquaintance of the residents of an Oregon Psychiatric Hospital and in particular one Randle P McMurphy. Most people will remember the 1976 movie and the electric performance of Jack Nicholson as the audacious and colourful "Mack", in a movie that won many awards. The book has lost none of its magic even now reading the it so many years later, and the emotions that it can produce are still very real.

McMurphy is moved to the mental institution from a prison farm where he was serving a sentence for the rape of a 15 year old girl. Although he is not mentally ill, he is hoping to avoid hard labour and serve the rest of his sentence in a relaxed environment. The life of the rest of the inmates is now turned on its head as McMurphy proceeds to wreck havoc in an attempt to control and alter the mundane existence of lethargic and inactive inmates...."We are lunatics from the hospital up the highway, psychoceramics, the cracked pots of mankind."....The only obstacle standing between Mack and his dreams is the formidable figure of the steely strict Nurse Ratched....."Her face is still calm, as though she had a cast made and painted to just the look she wants. Confident, patient, and unruffled."...

The story is told in the first person through the eyes of one long term resident Chief Bromden a tall native American believed to be deaf and mute. Through a series of minor misdemeanours and coercion McMurphy is hoping to breakdown the stranglehold of power that Nurse Rached holds over the inmates, who are dulled and kept under control by the constant and daily consumption of medication. It would therefore appear that the prime function of the institution is to manage, by this use of drugs, the minds and temperaments of the residents, rather than try to rehabilitate them and reintroducing them back into society where they might once again make a useful contribution. If the use of drugs and stimulants fails to pacify the disturbed mind the institution is willing to apply electroshock therapy and in the most severe cases a lobotomy is performed.

This is a book fully entrenched in the methods and institutions of its time. It is also a story of power and authority, those who wheel it and those who would attempt to question it by any means possible. It is a wonderful and colourful narration, strong and memorable characters, essentially funny yet ultimately sad. To me Randle P McMurphy is more than a comic figure, he chooses to question the reality and sense of his surroundings and by doing so set himself on the road to confrontation with the soulless Nurse Ratched and ultimately there can only be one winner, and an ending that is both shocking and captivating. Highly Recommended.
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on 6 September 2017
I'm not sure I can say anything about this book that hasn't been said said before.
Suffice to say that its a classic for a reason.
Beautifully written and in Mack, surely one of the greatest characters ever created.
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on 10 September 2017
Good book.
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on 4 July 2017
perfect
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on 4 January 2016
Great price and quick delivery.Highly recommend this seller and this particular story. Read first to get the real insights behind the characters and the story,then watch the movie. Long live Mc Murphy!!!!!!
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on 1 April 2015
Classic!
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on 20 September 2015
Received on time and good quality
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on 26 September 2008
`Granted I am the inmate of a mental asylum': the famous opening words of Oscar Matzerath in The Tin Drum could equally be applied to pretend-deaf and dumb Chief Bromden who narrates Ken Kesey's dark and sombre satire on the heavy-handed treatment of mental illness in modern America. Set in the golden days of electro-shock therapy, psychedelic drugs and frontal-lobe lobotomies, the giant half-Indian, tells the story of Pendleton Mental Institution, Oregon, ruled with an iron fist by Big Nurse, an allegorical Big Brother, and her carefully hand-picked team who control the soul-crushing routine of the brow-beaten inmates, cynically divided into Acutes, Chronics, Vegetables and Disturbed. However, the balance of power is sent into a tailspin by the arrival of Randle McMurphy, a hard-drinking, hard-living Irish-American, who takes up the cudgel on behalf of his oppressed companions as he attempts to break the hold of Big Nurse and, by extension, the all-powerful authorities. The charismatic McMurphy, who has faked insanity to escape a prison sentence, bears a close resemblance to the almost Christ-like Cool Hand Luke who similarly takes on the prison authorities in the eponymous film made five years after this novel was published. Like Luke, McMurphy is at times exasperated by the way that his colleagues so often fail to support him and leave him to fight back single-handed, but he retains a touching devotion to them nevertheless.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest can be read on many levels. Though essentially a satirical critique on mental institutions and their methods, it also demonstrates the oppressive role that authorities play in controlling and manipulating the lives of individuals in different circumstances, and is a sharp comment on the blurred distinction between sanity and insanity. Boisterous and brutal, it remains one of the iconic works of America's 1960s counter-culture and one of that country's most original and brilliant novels.
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on 19 July 2017
Book is a great read and is very well written. Is one you have to pay attention to found it took a while to comprehend but the imagery is excellent which is a huge factor in the success of the story for me. Started reading this book in school and never got to finish so read again as an adult- leaves a good impression to last that long and would definitely read again.
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on 22 March 2017
Having seen the film countless times, it was a pleasant surprise to find that the story is told through the eyes of Chief Bromden, as opposed to the third person perspective the film offers. With this, the novel takes you deep inside the Chief's mind, plagued by hallucinations of the machinery in the walls of the hospital - the Combine taking people in, restoring them, and churning them out again - the fog machine that clouds the hospital so the patients can't see, so they are stunted in place, in silence, in fear, to gain further order upon them.

My favourite book I've read so far this year, it's easy to see why Ken Kesey's novel 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' was a bestseller on publication in 1962.
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