Download Best Sometimes a Great Notion By Ken Kesey – Circuitwiringdiagram.co

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 Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest, Ken Kesey wrote what Charles Bowden calls one of the few essential books written by an American in the last half century This wild spirited tale tells of a bitter strike that rages through a small lumber town along the Oregon coast Bucking that strike out of sheer cussedness are the Stampers Out of the Stamper family s rivalries and betrayals Ken Kesey has crafted a novel with the mythic impact of Greek tragedy


10 thoughts on “Sometimes a Great Notion

  1. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    Sometimes I lives in the countrySometimes I lives in townSometimes I take a great notionTo jump into the river an drown I know little about Oregon State, what little I do know is that it s damp almost all of the time, has it s fair share of trees and woodland, and it s where The Goonies and Stand by Me were filmed, and River Phoenix was born there Ken Kesey s Sometimes a Great Notion is quite simply a contemporary American masterpiece, set on the rain soaked Oregon coast, the fictional Sometimes I lives in the countrySometimes I lives in townSometimes I take a great notionTo jump into the river an drown I know little about Oregon State, what little I do know is that it s damp almost all of the time, has it s fair share of trees and woodland, and it s where The Goonies and Stand by Me were filmed, and River Phoenix was born there Ken Kesey s Sometimes a Great Notion is quite simply a contemporary American masterpiece, set on the rain soaked Oregon coast, the fictional town of Wakonda early in the 1960 s The story, if you could call it that, is surrounding a logging family The Stampers , who cut and procure trees for a local mill in opposition to striking, unionized workers They live in an old house built out on the river and pretty much keep to them selves, and due to current circumstances are the scourge of the town I wouldn t exactly call them hillbilly folk, but they re not far of There is the old croaky father Henry, sons Hank, and Leland recently returning from the east coast , and hank s partner Viv.The bitter strike is at the centre of the novel, which sees the labour force demanding the same pay but for less hours due to the on going problem of less demand in this market The Stampers who own and operate their own company decide to continue logging to supply the regionally owned mill, but cause fury with the locals A Union man is called to town Mr Dreager to try and solve the dispute, the Stampers play dirty and won t budge The Striking details remain largely in the background You are left wondering on certain points But the story truth be told is all about the day to day lives of the Stampers, they completely steal the show A huge chunk of the narrative takes place within the walls of the Stampers residents, and has an almost voyeuristic sensibility, and conversations between family members can seem to last for tens of pages at a time Now I made reference to hillbillies, and the dialogue here takes some getting used to There is lots of slang talk and derogatory comments made throughout, even the N word gets used a lot, but this simply reiterates the off the beaten track type of people we are dealing with, living out on the river in seclusion, they take to hunting and setting traps for animals,as a way to provide for food when getting into town is difficult.At 715 pages things do eb and flow here and there, and can get slightly tiresome, but that s just me being picky, because on the whole it s length is something that the further you go on the less of a problem it becomes, you become totally involved in this damp and dreary community your feelings for certain characters change from hatred to that of pity.The novel s multiple characters speak sequentially in the first person, seemingly without alerting the reader to whom they are listening to , this can get confusing as narrative will skip from one to the other without any idea of knowing so, again you just get used to it over time.If I could sum up the Stampers in one word that would be Stubborn , the house for example appears to be about to fall apart at any time, the interiors are awash with ermess, they are living so far in the past, but nothing and no one will get them to change, they firmly hold their ground The most intelligent of the pack is Leland, who returns to Wakonda after years spent on the east coast with his mother, he is attracted to Hank s Viv, and late on in the novel the two will come to loggerheads, there is also an incident that could see their resolve shattered, and the last 100 pages or so are set up for what appears a climactic and tense finale, but going on the overall nature of past proceedings, don t expect some huge grand spectacle of a finish, you will be let down The slow pace stays for the whole duration.Another important aspect of Notion is the weather , it rains, it rains constantly, even when it s dry it s still wet and damp The river swells, the town has puddles the size of small lakes, and residents continually shake their caps of rain water, have constant colds, and foul stinking attitudes they carry around forever Kesey brings the whole place to life, in such vivid and articulated way, this is the great strength of the Great Notion, and has to rank up there with the best contemporary novels of all time I am still mystified why this seems to have gone into obscurity , even around the time of first publication, was is marketed badly , or did people simply not like it Not sure, don t care, all that matters is my own reading experience.An astonishing piece of writing


  2. Oriana Oriana says:

    after reading Oh my Oh my goodness what an incredible book Absolutely stunning Sometimes A Great Notion which, btw, gets its title from the Ledbelly song Goodnight Irene is the story of the Stamper family, renegade loggers in Oregon in maybe the fifties It s an incredible family Henry, the patriarch, the crazed, stubborn old goat who started the logging business his son Hank stoic, serious, earnest, proud, charming and Hank s cousin Joe Ben brimming with enthusiasm and joy and good after reading Oh my Oh my goodness what an incredible book Absolutely stunning Sometimes A Great Notion which, btw, gets its title from the Ledbelly song Goodnight Irene is the story of the Stamper family, renegade loggers in Oregon in maybe the fifties It s an incredible family Henry, the patriarch, the crazed, stubborn old goat who started the logging business his son Hank stoic, serious, earnest, proud, charming and Hank s cousin Joe Ben brimming with enthusiasm and joy and good will , who now run the company Hank s gorgeous and quiet and wonderful wife Viv and Hank s much younger half brother Leland, an intellectual and a weakling who fled the rough workaday life as soon as he was old enough, and now lives in New York where he is finishing college There has been a lifelong and mostly unspoken rivalry between the brothers, but because the Stampers have run afoul of the logging union, Hank and Joe Ben write to Leland, asking him to come back home to help make a big run The other important thing is that the entire town despises the Stampers Currently all the loggers are on strike, but the Stamper clan is still working, and because of that, they are preventing the strike from ending, since there s no reason for the company that wants the lumber to negotiate with the union when the Stampers are doing all the same work Everyone has always hated the Stampers anyway, because they are big and strong and stubborn and put everyone else to shame, and now the whole town is seriously turning against them.Now look That encapsulation is not only horribly unjust a book of this magnitude deserves muchthan a paltry surface summation like that , but also is likely to turn off your average modern reader I know, I know, an entire novel about logging in the country And a boring union struggle with a bunch of backwoods hicks It wouldn t have caught my attention either But listen, there is so muchthan that here Above all, this is a book about people, filled with some of the most fascinating and deeply drawn characters I have come across in a terribly long time 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 made bitter by a life of grudges Boney Stokes, Henry s alleged best friend, who wishes for his downfallthan anyone who hates him Teddy the fat bartender who thinks he knows everything about the human condition as he waters down all the drinks.And those are just the incidental characters 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 The complicated ways these people love each other, the intricate ways they fuck each other up it is so intense, so believable, so real 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 Because I will tell you right now, this book made me cry Not just cry but sob In public On the fucking subway It crept into my dreams, the way really intense movies do, I kept repeating lines to myself and my friends, re examining scenes I had read days ago to smooth them out and polish them and find in thembeauty and meaning and truth And listen Kesey is not without his own literary machinations For example, he manages to tell the story from several points of view At once As in, in the same paragraph there would be three I s one in italics, one in parentheses, and one in regular type But where with a modern day irnoicist, this might come of as metafictional gimicry, here it felt not only smooth and effective, but necessary Because everyone is thinking all the time, right And all these characters have rich internal lives to match their rich outer ones, and so a major climactic scene needs to be told by everyone at once, just like it happens Each narrative augments and enhances the other, making for a stunningly complete picture One drawback I did notice was the womenfolk 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 evenpowerful forces than the living The only truly developed gal was Viv, and she was not nearly as thoroughly done as any of the men One of her central decisions, one of the axes on which the entire plot turned, I found completely unfounded, unjustified, and almost insulting But Ultimately that was not nearly enough to seriously detract from this utterly amazing story I cannot remember the last time I was so thoroughly knocked out by a novel I cannot believe how much this affected me.mid read Ok, so this is seriously weird While reading this book for pleasure, I am also proofing an erotic vampire romance novel for work I wish that was a lie And you would think that the stark contrast between, you know, amateur silliness and a serious work of literature would bring this book into absolute focus And that s true, of course But what s seriously blowing my mind is that there are all sorts of parallels between the two books, in odd and creepy ways Both heroes are ruled by revenge, in ways that warp and twist their minds, ways that are meditated upon constantly, with, um, predictable and harrowing results, respectively it s obvious which is which, though, right Anyway and also, the sections of each that I m up to today both take place on Halloween Maybe that s a small coincidence, but I think it s crazy.old This is one of my parents favorite books I read it in high school, and wasn t as impressed as I d hoped Soon I ll read it again, and see who was wrong, the rents or my younger self


  3. Vit Babenco Vit Babenco says:

    Sometimes a Great Notion is very polyphonic, the story is narrated by many The novel is a wicked and extravagant black comedy cleverly disguised as a family and social drama Look Reality is greater than the sum of its parts, also a damn sight holier And the lives of such stuff as dreams are made of may be rounded with a sleep but they are not tied neatly with a red bow. An estranged son, bent on taking revenge upon his older brother, reunites his hardheaded family And at times, almost certa Sometimes a Great Notion is very polyphonic, the story is narrated by many The novel is a wicked and extravagant black comedy cleverly disguised as a family and social drama Look Reality is greater than the sum of its parts, also a damn sight holier And the lives of such stuff as dreams are made of may be rounded with a sleep but they are not tied neatly with a red bow. An estranged son, bent on taking revenge upon his older brother, reunites his hardheaded family And at times, almost certainly, a little sneak of memory would slip past your whipping boy and you would be whacked just as hard as ever by that joker s bladder of reality, of pain and heartache and hassle and death You might hide in some Freudian jungle most of your miserable life, baying at the moon and shouting curses at God, but at the end, right down there at the damned end when it counts you would sure as anything clear up just enough to realize the moon you have spent so many years baying at is nothing but the light globe up there on the ceiling, and God is just something placed in your bureau drawer by the Gideon Society Yes, I sighed again, in the long run insanity would be the same old cold hearted drag of too solid flesh, too many slings and arrows, and too much outrageous fortune Sometimes a Great Notion is a book of collisions reason against foolishness, spirit against flesh, sanity against madness, individual against community, man against nature one against many.It took nothan that first day to bring back all his faults sparse though our communication had been it had taken only a few seconds at each exchange of words to convince me that he was crass, bigoted, wrongheaded, hypocritical, that he substituted viscera for reason and confused his balls with his brains, and that he was in many ways the epitome of the kind of man I regarded as most dangerous to my kind of world, and certainly for these reasons should I seek his destruction.But even if one wins, victory is an ambivalent thing a stick with two ends a coin with two sides Man is a gregarious being and herd either makes one conform or destroys one


  4. Lostinanovel Lostinanovel says:

    I didn t want to read this one Its long Its by some acidhead hippie Its only famous because Kesey is famous He has fans because of his lifestyle, not his literary merit Its about a group of loggers on strike Ugh, sounds boring But I gave it a shot and was blown away.The storyline didn t grab me right away but Kesey s writing did He had talent and this book is creatively ambitious Every character has a turn at first person voice and the speaker can switch several times, sometimes even w I didn t want to read this one Its long Its by some acidhead hippie Its only famous because Kesey is famous He has fans because of his lifestyle, not his literary merit Its about a group of loggers on strike Ugh, sounds boring But I gave it a shot and was blown away.The storyline didn t grab me right away but Kesey s writing did He had talent and this book is creatively ambitious Every character has a turn at first person voice and the speaker can switch several times, sometimes even within a single paragraph Seems confusing but I rarely had to reread because Kesey is that good I am amazed that anyone would ever have the arrogance to write this way and evenamazed that someone could pull it off so smoothly.Some beautiful sections of writing I loved the paragraph when he describes a canyon along the river where one can hear clear echoes such that one can sing along with yourself to tunes like Row, row, your boat but the description slips into the relentless of an echo, how its sounds cant adjusted but that you must adjust your new words to it as you sing The story as well as a circular effect so that after I closed on the last words I promptly reread the first 20 The storyline develops from a struggle between two brothers to the struggle of a town to a struggle in each of us and the true meaning of what it is to have strength and weakness The spirit of the American working person and the frontier is captured When the town finally thinks it has crushed Hank Stamper, there is only superficial joy, because his spirit was the spirit that had all given up too long ago.Criticism characters were a bit simple Not a lot of confusion as to what each felt and why Just the same, they aren t not flat but very real, just a little simple.Question Why didn t Kesey ever manage to be that good again Did he ever even try again


  5. adam adam says:

    Hands down the most underappreciated American novel ever I think it should be up there with Moby Dick Grapes of Wrath etc In fact, I think it is better it s hard to imagine Ken Kesey, hippy acid head that he was would be able to so write so poignantly and beautifully but he absolutely pulled it off, his other famous novel One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest doesn t even hold a candle to Sometimes a Great Notion It s rather long and it is written in a Faulkneresque style where POV s switc Hands down the most underappreciated American novel ever I think it should be up there with Moby Dick Grapes of Wrath etc In fact, I think it is better it s hard to imagine Ken Kesey, hippy acid head that he was would be able to so write so poignantly and beautifully but he absolutely pulled it off, his other famous novel One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest doesn t even hold a candle to Sometimes a Great Notion It s rather long and it is written in a Faulkneresque style where POV s switch back and forth but you get used to the rhythm you can easily sense the flow between characters points of view You ll find each character equally dynamic so you don t have to worry about one characters story being duller than another s I ll leave it at this, if you don t read this book before you die, you are missing out


  6. AnnaRebecca Crary AnnaRebecca Crary says:

    If V Woolf hada grown up within sight of the Coastal Range, andb enormous, swinging testes,then this book would be sold in a 3 pack with Mrs Dalloway and The Waves today It s such literatoor, but it s so masculine and so blue collar also God I love it The beautiful, funny slang the creepy, right on descriptions of the menacing landscape It s got man vs land and man vs man Who could ask for anything


  7. Mary Mary says:

    I must admit that the premise for this novel a strike in the logging industry during the 1960s didn t exactly set my heart aflutter with excitement, but I loved Kesey s writing so much in One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest that I really wanted to give this one a chance That turned out to be an excellent decision.The crux of this novel, to me, was the complicated relationships that we have with one another and the deep rooted hurt that lives quietly within us Our parents, our siblings, our spo I must admit that the premise for this novel a strike in the logging industry during the 1960s didn t exactly set my heart aflutter with excitement, but I loved Kesey s writing so much in One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest that I really wanted to give this one a chance That turned out to be an excellent decision.The crux of this novel, to me, was the complicated relationships that we have with one another and the deep rooted hurt that lives quietly within us Our parents, our siblings, our spouses What is it like to feel intense hatred for someone and be cursed to incurably love them at the same time What do you do If you ve ever had a less than perfect relationship with a family member, if you ve ever experienced the sting of betrayal from a parent, if you ve ever left home and returned a stranger unable to relate to your kin or if you ve spent your life trying to escape only to come full circle you will relate to Leland Stamper Kesey s writing blows me away The novel is dense and scattered and the language is rich and beautiful The narrative switches between different character s points of view constantly and several times within one page It took some getting used to but once I acclimatized, I liked it Kesey seamlessly illustrated the way every moment is seen through different eyes and interpreted differently A conversation, a decision, the smallest gesture nothing is absolute Everything we think we know is just a result of our perception This novel is deceptively intricate and contains keenly observed power struggles between brothers, between white collar and blue collar, between workers and bosses, between husbands and wives, between dreams and cold hard reality and a twist on a good ole fashioned Oedipus complex thrown in for good measure It s about the consequences of our decisions and the way one moment can change the rest of one s life It s about absolution and letting go It s about love.This book is heartbreaking, engrossing and very underrated


  8. Megan Baxter Megan Baxter says:

    You know how George R.R Martin changes narrative voices between chapters Well, this book does that, but within paragraphs In the first hundred pages, there were a few paragraphs that had, internally, four different perspectives And I thought, what have I gotten myself into Is this pretentious Is it precious Andto the point, can I put up with this for 700 pages Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I You know how George R.R Martin changes narrative voices between chapters Well, this book does that, but within paragraphs In the first hundred pages, there were a few paragraphs that had, internally, four different perspectives And I thought, what have I gotten myself into Is this pretentious Is it precious Andto the point, can I put up with this for 700 pages Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook


  9. Robert Beveridge Robert Beveridge says:

    Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion Bantam Windstone, 1964 I really, really wanted to like this book An underread novel by an acknowledged American master of letters with a core of fans who consider it one of the best novels of the last century What could be better Well, to put it in as few words as possible, Kesey s writing style.One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest works, and works so well, because it s tight It s terse It says what needs to be said Kesey knows what he wants to say and says Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion Bantam Windstone, 1964 I really, really wanted to like this book An underread novel by an acknowledged American master of letters with a core of fans who consider it one of the best novels of the last century What could be better Well, to put it in as few words as possible, Kesey s writing style.One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest works, and works so well, because it s tight It s terse It says what needs to be said Kesey knows what he wants to say and says it You get the idea It s been compared to A Christmas Carol a number of times, and with very good reason But if Cuckoo is Kesey s Christmas Carol, then Sometimes a Great Notion is Kesey s Bleak House It s long winded, rambling, incoherent, and could easily have lost three hundred pages from its final length without anyone noticing anything had gone when your main character doesn t get to the place where all the action is happening until page 88, and still hasn t gotten his baggage from the bus terminal eight miles away fifty pages later, you know there s a whole lot of extraneous material therein And while that makes sense within Kesey s chosen stylistic framework the story is told by awoman flipping through a photograph album , there s just too much of the rambling and not enough plot advancement It s like being stuck in a whole novel of Melville s two hundred page cessation of action in Moby Dick If you thought that was painfully unreadable, Sometimes a Great Notion may well send you into apoplectic fits


  10. Judy Judy says:

    Most people only know of Ken Kesey, the novelist, because of One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest Some people know of him as the grand master of the Merry Pranksters in all their counter cultural madness Either you re on the bus or you re off the bus Sometimes A Great Notion was his second novel It is long, it is deep, it is a bit experimental, but it is also considered his masterpiece I spent four days reading the book s 628 pages The last two days I read over 200 pages a day because once I Most people only know of Ken Kesey, the novelist, because of One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest Some people know of him as the grand master of the Merry Pranksters in all their counter cultural madness Either you re on the bus or you re off the bus Sometimes A Great Notion was his second novel It is long, it is deep, it is a bit experimental, but it is also considered his masterpiece I spent four days reading the book s 628 pages The last two days I read over 200 pages a day because once I got through the eye of the needle that was the beginning, I was exponentiallyenraptured every day If you like long novels, this is one well worth spending your time reading The novel concerns an Oregon logging clan, their struggles, their successes, their deep family problems If at any moment it feels like the Stampers are going down, you don t find out until the very end if they will Such fully fleshed heroic characters, such desperate dysfunction, such glorious writing about the people, the location, the weather, the physical and emotional strife Such eccentricity in the face of change, such sheer cussedness indeed John Steinbeck is probably the most famous writer of the American West Another guy who became well known for one novel The Grapes of Wrath Both went to Stanford University, both wrote about the plight of the common man They were a generation apart I would bet that Kesey read Steinbeck My favorite Steinbeck novel is East of Eden I think Sometimes a Great Notion was Kesey s East of Eden