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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Penguin Classics)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey, Robert Faggen It took me much too long to read this book. I had trouble getting into it at first. Chief Bromden, the deaf-mute narrator, was hard to follow. His rants about the fog and the machine were abstract streams of consciousness that I felt were overboard. Honestly, I found Bromden unbelievable. Now, I know, he's supposed to be an unreliable narrator, but not in the way I'm talking about. I can buy that he is masquerading as a deaf-mute and that the story is partially, if not completely, fabricated. Yes, this makes him unbelievable. But where his tale falls apart to me is that fact that he is even able to make a sentence. Here is a man so far gone that he believes machines run everything, that a thick fog descends around him allowing bad things to happen, and that his mind can be controlled by others. How could Bromden possibly come out of the fog long enough to tell his story? Even after his "transformation" he doesn't seem competent enough to have been able to process the deeper meaning of the story around him.As Bromden's rants diminish, the novel begins to read faster. The plot picks up and there is a story. All the characters are entertaining. The supporting characters are well-crafted. It was good. Maybe a little better than good. But for me, it wasn't the makings of a classic.