A Book You’ve Read More Than 3 Times
Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey
This book you may be seeing quite a few times in my blog posts, continually referenced for different reasons and in different contexts.I have read this book five different times and, even then, I still open it to random pages sometimes just to come into contact with the language again. For all of you who don’t remember hearing the name Ken Kesey, then I’m going to say next, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. If you just had a eureka! moment, good. You’re halfway there. Now what you have to do is read Sometimes a Great Notion. Over twice the length of Cuckoo, SAGN is the greatest book of the last half of the 20th Century. I state this with no reservations whatsoever. Faulkner wrote the greatest book of the first half of the 20th Century and Kesey owned the second half. The themes in the book go on forever. I could compose a doctoral thesis on this book and actually intend to someday.
As it is, Kesey picks up the Faulkner tradition and hones it to perfection, running with it all the way, making adjustments by including Oregon state lore, pop culture references, film making techniques translated to text. Kesey said he read Absalom, Absalom! to get down the form for the book. Kesey’s work isn’t as inaccessible as some people claim Faulkner’s to be, so don’t be afraid to jump right in. A couple things to remember when reading the book:
Time shifts occur frequently
Perspective shifts occur frequently
These shifts will be indicated by italics, parentheses, or paragraph breaks.
Most importantly: Take your time!