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Sometimes a Great Notion por Ken Kesey
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Sometimes a Great Notion (original 1964; edição 1977)

por Ken Kesey

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2,819455,153 (4.2)1 / 193
A literary icon sometimes seen as a bridge between the Beat Generation and the hippies, Ken Kesey scored an unexpected hit with his first novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. His successful follow-up, Sometimes a Great Notion was also transformed into a major motion picture, directed by and starring Paul Newman. Here, Oregon's Stamper family does what it can to survive a bitter strike dividing their tiny logging community. And as tensions rise, delicate family bonds begin to fray and unravel.… (mais)
Membro:sombrio
Título:Sometimes a Great Notion
Autores:Ken Kesey
Informação:Penguin Books (1977), Paperback, 640 pages
Coleções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:*****
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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Sometimes a Great Notion por Ken Kesey (1964)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 44 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This feels like Kesey’s “Great American Novel” and he considered it his masterpiece, but while I liked it, I think “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” should hold that honor. It’s remarkable to me that the subject of the novel was a labor dispute between loggers in the rugged forest of Oregon, gritty and not the kind of stuff that generally takes one’s breath away, considering the author would soon be leading his “Merry Pranksters” across the country in a bus, and would become a leading figure in the psychedelic movement. While I admire Kesey taking the road less travelled in his life, it’s a shame that he didn’t write more books, as his talent is certainly on display here.

At over 700 dense pages, this book is quite a tome, and if its style throws you off early on, stick with it. Kesey experiments with a technique of switching between perspectives rapidly, sometimes within a sentence, which can be a little disorienting, particularly as the story is being filled in. Ironically, in contrast to this style and the fluidity with which he wields it, he’s at his best with the level of realism in his dialogue, which invariably seems natural and unforced, and the level of detail in his description of the surroundings.

There are two central conflicts in the story, the primary of which is a logging family’s stubborn refusal to join others in a strike, and their attempt to go it alone amidst the rancor of their community. Interestingly, Kesey doesn’t choose sides in describing this struggle, satirizing both union leaders as well as the rugged individuals who disregard the strike, which may have been a part of why initial reactions to the book were mixed. The other conflict is within the family, with the younger son returning from college harboring a secret grudge against his brother, and plotting to have an affair with his wife.

There are topical references scattered in here, such as an allusion to the threat of nuclear war, the love the hip had for jazz music, or popular figures like Alan Watts, but this story mostly feels timeless, and intentionally so. There is something primal in the emotions in play, and it builds to moments of fantastic tension towards the end.

At the same, the book probably could have done with some editing, as it gets rather elongated (bizarrely, including 60 pages between 602 and 662 where a main character goes missing entirely). Worse yet, the female characters are terribly under-developed across the board, which was a serious detractor. As a warning, there are also bits of mild racism, such as the use of N-word between white workers, comments like “what other Caucasian ever moved with that slack-limbed indolence?” and the minor character of “Indian Jenny,” a prostitute who is more of a stereotype than anything else. Aside from the ridiculously terse updates for her throughout the novel, Kesey writes of her expression that it never changes, and is “somewhere between blunt ferocity and brute pathos.” (ugh)

All in all, however, it’s certainly a good book, and one that feels like it should be better known. ( )
1 vote gbill | Apr 11, 2024 |
Since I read a bit about Ken Kesey in a few other books last year, I was curious about this book. The author himself seemed like a bit of an asshole, but his writing turned out to be ok. He is great with imagery, anyway. Otherwise his novel was awfully disjointed and hard to follow. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 15, 2023 |
A classic published in 1964 and takes place in the 60's in fictitious logging town of Wakonda, Oregon. I did not like reading this book at all. There were too many first persons telling the story. I was constantly lost in who was actually talking. On top of this, the author, would throw in other people's thoughts in parenthesis while another character was talking in first person. So, I was seriously like...Who the hell is thinking now?

The basis of the story: Jonas Stamper, the pioneer who brought his family there to homestead on the Wakonda Bay, Oregon, the sin of always looking for greener pastures, moved slowly over time from the east coast to the end of the line, the Pacific Coast. He built a house on the banks of the Wakonda Auga. But, Jonas couldn't handle the continuous fog, the wet and enclosed feeling of the woods all around, so he just up and left the family, a wife and three boys, for the local towns people to take care of. Henry, the oldest son swore he would stay and show the people they weren't quitters.

When the other local logging companies became unionized, the Stampers did not. They worked strictly with family members and when the loggers went on strike, the Stampers stepped up their game and contracted with the companies for their logs, which was highly disruptive to the union organization and the towns people who were now out of jobs.

Being a man short, they needed Leland, the youngest brother...a mother's boy who went away to college, to return home and help the family prove they were capable and worthy and help the family business. But, Leland had a bone to pick with his oldest 1/2 brother, Hank, and struggled with honoring the family name or betraying Hank, who he found out had a love affair with his mother. ( )
  MissysBookshelf | Aug 27, 2023 |
I could not understand why most of the characters acted the way they did. One thing just happened after another. Not a pleasant novel. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 13, 2023 |
I bought this book nearly 30 years ago when I first moved to Oregon the late summer of 1992. I read the first part and put it down thinking I would get back to finishing it. Funny thing how a book can sit on shelf for three decades. I picked it back up after retiring from the military. It was hard a first to get into this book with the way Kesey wrote it, switching characters paragraph my paragraph without attribution. I was only reading about 30 pages or so a day until I read the last 150 in day because it finishes in such a flurry. I remember bits and pieces of the film and the All-star cast that was done in 1970-71, but the book is so much more nuanced with background and character developed. There are seminaries I found in this novel and John Steinbeck's "East of Eden," with the struggle between two bothers, the western independent spirit of working on the land, and the plot lines that lead to tragic ending for key characters. It's one of those books that I am glad I 'pushed through' to finally read in completion, even though it took picking up more than a couple of times. The characters are so well defined as most of this comes from their interactions with each other and by their own voice that Kesey weaves into the narrative. I understand why this has been reviewed as a "Classic" on many levels. Clearly a reflection of the 1960s creative stream of conscience narrative writing style that Jack Kerouac used in "On The Road." ( )
  John_Hughel | Oct 31, 2022 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Kesey, Kenautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Kirsch, Hans-ChristianTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lehmusoksa, RistoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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A literary icon sometimes seen as a bridge between the Beat Generation and the hippies, Ken Kesey scored an unexpected hit with his first novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. His successful follow-up, Sometimes a Great Notion was also transformed into a major motion picture, directed by and starring Paul Newman. Here, Oregon's Stamper family does what it can to survive a bitter strike dividing their tiny logging community. And as tensions rise, delicate family bonds begin to fray and unravel.

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