Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Ke-Ma)

Kesey, Ken

oregon contending

(US, 1935–2001)

Kesey came to notoriety as a fugitive from drugs charges and leader of the anarchistic ‘Merry Pranksters’ during their bus trips of the mid-1960s, but he had already written two major novels. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962), an allegory of American society set in a mental hospital, tells a story of the clash between individualism and authority. As seen by inmate Chief Bromden, Randle P. McMurphy stimulates the patients into regaining their identities by introducing rebellious freedoms to the ward, but is eventually subdued by Big Nurse. Sometimes a Great Notion (1964) is rated even more highly by many critics; in a complex narrative, Hank and Lee Stamper fall out while running an Oregon logging operation and contending with a local union strike. By contrast, Last Go Round (1994) recreates the 1911 World Rodeo Championships in Pendleton, Oregon; this Old West romp features contending black, Indian, and Southern cowboys, cowgirls, and Buffalo Bill.

Tom Wolfe, Robert Stone, Paul Sayer, Joseph Heller  JS

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