Get a free audiobook

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Written by: Ken Kesey
Narrated by: Ken Kesey
Length: 3 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of the most electrifying, most admired novels of our time. Set in the bleak confines of a state mental hospital and narrated by a half-Indian patient named Chief Bromden, it's the story of a titanic battle of wills between two unforgettable characters.

On one side is Big Nurse, who rules her ward with iron discipline. On the other is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a lustful, brawling, life-loving new inmate who refuses to knuckle under to Big Nurse's soul-destroying methods. In the end, McMurphy pays the ultimate price for his defiance, but not before the rebellious spirit has shown Chief Bromden the way to reclaim his future.

©1962 Ken Kesey (P)1993 HighBridge Company

What the critics say

"A glittering parable of good and evil." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A roar of protest against middlebrow society's Rules and the Rulers who enforce them." (Time)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen

great listen especially from the author. watched the movie after. as usual the book was so much better. nothing can beat one's own imagination.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Marvelous novel. NOTE: Abridged; poor narration

Elsewhere on Audible, there is a full version of this novel (3× the length) read expertly by John C. Reilly. That is not to say this isn't a very good reading of this story. This 'Reader's Digest' version of the book maintains all important moments and scenes. Perfect for an afternoon in the garden or a road trip.
Kesey is not a great reader. Not horrible, but you can tell he's not a professional. He reads characters like Mcmurphy (always Nicholson in my mind's eye) like they're characters in a Robert Service poem. To his credit, he avoids accents, but all the characters sound kind of the same.

The interview at the end with the author is interesting. I give this version of an outstanding story 3.5 out of 5 stars

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unnerving and raw

The flow and manic nature of the prose really come to life when read by the author. It’s not an easy listen but well worth it.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nina
  • 2008-08-29

Even better than I remember1

Like most, I remember this movie from many years ago. At that time, I was quite moved by it. And when I listened to the book, I was doubly impressed. Exquisitely written and pulls no punches. Try this one.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JoeWig
  • 2010-06-17

Riveting!!!

Wow! I???d seen the movie some time ago in the 20th Century, but the book is electric. Told from the half Indian???s point of view and not Jack Nicholson???s McMurphy character, (which makes far more sense considering the story's outcome). There???s just so much more going on when you read/listen than when you watch. The imagination is the key thing and more importantly, the writing. Kesey is a brilliant folk story teller/writer who's prose is tight and riveting.

I recommend this one.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • majordude
  • 2007-03-04

A Masterpiece!

Ken Kesey says that he never watched the movie because he disagreed with Jack Nicholson playing the lead character. The book is definitely better than the movie. It's art.

Ken breathes heavily in parts and that is distracting but it is interesting to hear how the author reads his own words.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wade Lancaster
  • 2017-11-02

Great Classic

This is the abridged book. If you can, buy the unabridged version. It is worth the extra time. It still holds up as a classic minus the decision not to use a professional narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • R Fuller
  • 2008-08-07

Great Book

Interesting and captivating story and the author's interpretation makes it that much more interesting. After hearing the book, I had to see the movie, yeah, the book is far better. The interview with Ken Kesey is a very enjoyable addition to the download.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Pavel
  • 2011-03-31

Compared to the movie

I found the audiobook slightly less entertaining. I've read the whole book in the past, I guess it should be better to listen to unabridged version.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Barry
  • 2012-09-13

Did I really get the abridged version?

Geez, 3 hours is hardly more than a short story. Well, it's a powerful little book, but clearly the work of a young man. Part of the continuum in counterculture literature that began in the 1940s and had its zenith in the 1960s before petering out into new age pablum on one side and left wing diatribes on the other. This book was written with all the sincerity and passion of its times. I suppose it's essential reading to anyone who wants to get the full flavor of that era, but it's only one slice of the whole picture. Probably it should be read at different times of ones life because I guarantee you will see it differently at 20 than you will at 50.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Eric Hall
  • 2018-08-14

Great story better suited for a physical book.

Always a great story but not a story that can be listened to in the background while otherwise occupied. Missed nuances that changes the tone of the story and had to go back to hear what I missed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Glorianne
  • 2012-04-12

It's a classic for a good reason

I had seen the movie, so I wasn't sure I needed to read the book. But, I'm trying to read all of the books listed in 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, so I downloaded this for a quick listen.

I should have known. Any book, even a short book like this one, has a different feel than a movie, a way of getting into a character's head and sloshing around inside. Unlike the movie, the book is told from the perspective of Chief, which provides an interesting way to look at a story you thought you knew. I found the ultimate consequences doled out (don't worry, no spoilers) much more painful in the book, even though I was expecting it this time. Kesey writes and narrates well, and it's a powerful complement to the movie.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lynn M. Bashaw
  • 2010-07-18

Couldn't wait to get back in the car!

This was a great story and I really enjoyed listening to the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful