Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews

Still Me (Me Before You #3) by Jojo Moyes

36598421.jpgGenre: Fiction

Date Published: January 23, 2018

Pages: 480

Source: Penguin Random House Review Copy

Goodreads Synopsis: Lou Clark knows too many things . . .

She knows how many miles lie between her new home in New York and her new boyfriend Sam in London.

She knows her employer is a good man and she knows his wife is keeping a secret from him.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to meet someone who’s going to turn her whole life upside down.

Because Josh will remind her so much of a man she used to know that it’ll hurt.

Lou won’t know what to do next, but she knows that whatever she chooses is going to change everything. 

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My View: I am glad I don’t read the first book in the series the moment it is out. It gives me the privilege to read the series back to back. I think that’s helpful as I have a terrible memory and I need to read the next book right away. This was one of those series that I read back to back. And boy, am I glad?

After reading not so good reviews of ‘After You’, I still decided to listen to it as an audiobook and happened to love it. So when I saw ‘Still Me’ was up for review, I snagged it right away from Penguin Random House.

And that was when I decided to sacrifice my four night’s sleep. Not like four full nights but a couple hours every night for four consecutive days. Although I didn’t regret that behavior when I kept telling myself, just half an hour more, just an hour more. But did I regret it when I had to wake up for work in the morning? Ah, yes! But did I repeat the same thing for three more days? I sure did. Call it crazy, call it insane. But I had to know what was going to happen to Lou. She no longer was a mere character. I had got to know her intimately for so long. I couldn’t just let it unroll slowly. That would have been painful. So for four nights, every couple of hours, I was in Lou’s world, getting better acquainted, crying with her, smiling with her and just being there. Moyes captivated me with Lou and her family. Oh, I do love her family. And Lou. She’s just one of a kind. I wonder if someone like her exists. I think I would want her as a friend. She’s that kind of a girl.

Yes, the plot goes from A to Z, there are way too many twists and turns. Some I like, others I just go along with to see how things will fare for Lou. But hardly at any point was I tempted to keep the book down or take a break. Nah. Joyes had my attention with every word. I just couldn’t look away except when the clock struck 1am and I had to, without wanting to, shut it down and get some winks.

There are new characters in this book, several of whom I love and some I hate. Each of them holds their own and are adequately etched for the reader to feel like we know them personally. Lou’s family, ah. I do love them, I really do. And Lily. Lily is amazing even though she has a very minor part to play in this book. Her actions made me laugh. 😀

I think Moyes is done with the series. To be honest, I am a little sad. I was mesmerized with Lou and her life. And after reading the three books, one after the other, there’s a gaping hole in me which wants more of Lou. I know many readers are quite done with her. But I liked knowing Lou and her character has developed by leaps and bounds with each book. That sure is something to enjoy.

I think you should get this one if you are following the series. It won’t disappoint you.

3.5/5 stars – Somewhere between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’. 
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Author Bio:

Jojo Moyes is a British novelist.

Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full-time novelist.

Moyes’ novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.

She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.

Thank you, Penguin Random House for the review copy. All views expressed are my own and unbiased.

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Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

15507958.jpgGenre: Romance

Date Published: December 31, 2012

Pages: 369

Source: Library

Goodreads Synopsis: Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

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My View:  Wow. I am still reeling from the after effects. This book sure had a lot going for it. I mean, look at the concept. It’s so fresh, hasn’t been done earlier. I really applaud the author for taking on such a sensitive yet risky plot and bringing it to life.

Lou and Will shine as characters. You get to know them intimately. But my favorite characters were Lou’s family. They sure are a riot!

Although the book is full of sad moments, it still retains a sense of humor and I love that about it. I love the fact that despite the overall sadness of the plot, the author ensured the reality of life showed through. Humor does seep in, in real life scenarios, sometimes in the toughest of situations.

A huge sigh of relief was also the relationship between Lou and Will which was given just the right amount of leeway and it was closer to real life than all the insta-love I usually get to read (insert eyeroll here).

Overall, an innovative plot with vividly etched characters and a true to life depiction. Well worth a quick read.

Have you read it? Did you watch the movie? Should I watch the movie? Let me know.

3.5/5 stars – Somewhere between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’. 
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Author Bio:

Jojo Moyes is a British novelist.

Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist.

Moyes’ novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.

She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.

 

Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

33843362.jpgGenre: Young Adult/ Mystery

Date Published: September 5, 2017

Pages: 264

Source: Bloomsbury India Review Copy

Goodreads SynopsisFrom the author of the unforgettable New York Times bestseller We Were Liars comes a masterful new psychological suspense novel–the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

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My View:  I had heard so many good things about ‘We were liars’ that when I got an opportunity to read this one by E. Lockhart, I dived at it.

Genuine Fraud pulls you right in. That was my first emotion.

And the last? After I was done reading the book – ‘What did I just read. OMG!’

Yeah, well. This book will ‘play crazy’ (insert the abusive word here) with your mind. Like really! I have never read such a creative work that takes you back. In time. Literally. No,  there’s no flashback. It’s all written in the opposite order. You go from present to the past when it all began, one chapter at a time. It’s like, wow. I really need to understand how she wrote it. Haha. Intriguing!

It’s unputdownable. I love me some crazy characters and Genuine Fraud is swarming with them. The writing is clear, precise and to the point. I finished the book in a marathon read of two days (would have finished it sooner were I at home and under usual circumstances).

Jule is my favorite character. I only wish she would have done something more, something different. But well, I didn’t write the book. And Lockart did a good enough job!

If you like a crazy, mind-boggling mystery, thriller you can finish in one sitting. This. This should be your pick.

3.5/5 stars – Somewhere between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’.
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Author Bio:

E. Lockhart is the author of Genuine Fraud, We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The Boyfriend List and several other novels.

website: www.emilylockhart.com
Liars site: www.wewereliars.com
blog: www.theboyfriendlist.com
Twitter: elockhart

 

Many thanks to Bloomsbury India for providing the review copy. All views are my own and unbiased.

Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews

The Good Psychologist by Noam Shpancer

17679534Genre: Fiction

Date Published: Aug 3, 2010

Pages: 256

Source: Owned Books

Goodreads Synopsis: Noam Shpancer’s stunning debut novel opens as a psychologist reluctantly takes on a new client- an exotic dancer whose severe anxiety is keeping her from the stage. The psychologist, a solitary professional who also teaches a lively night class, helps the client confront her fears. But as treatment unfolds, her struggles and secrets begin to radiate onto his life, upsetting the precarious balance in his unresolved relationship with Nina, a married former colleague with whom he has a child?a child he has never met. As the shell of his detachment begins to crack, he suddenly finds himself too deeply involved, the boundary lines between professional and personal, between help and harm, blurring dangerously.

With its wonderfully distinctive narrative voice, rich with humor and humanity, The Good Psychologist leads the reader on a journey into the heart of the therapy process and beyond, examining some of the fundamental questions of the soul: to move or be still; to defy or obey; to let go or hold on.

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My View: When you come across the word ‘psychologist’ in the book title and google the author to find out he’s a clinical psychologist himself and working in the area of anxiety disorders, your curiosity is piqued and you buy it during an online sale. The book patiently waits to be picked up for a couple of years until it’s finally brought to the forefront of the bookshelf during spring cleaning and set down by the bedside to be read.

You try not to let your expectations hit the roof and start reading without peeking at the synopsis. Gradually, you find yourself being pulled in by the setting of the therapy, the interesting client to see which direction it will take. You find yourself enthralled by the really good examples, the psychologist gives to the client and mentally make a note to add that to your therapeutic skills. And then you are put off by the casual throwing around of the client information and find yourself doing a ‘you didn’t do that!’ only to tell yourself this is fiction and perhaps the author is taking creative liberty, don’t go all ethics on him. And you read on.

The plot could have been made more interesting than it was. It did appeal to me when it began. But the only thing that held my interest steadfast was the really good examples given by the clinical psychologist to his client as well during his class. Those I intend to make use of in my therapeutic practice. I liked a bit of the unravelling but I am sure my expectations did get in the way. Perhaps I was looking for an ethical, doing it by the rules, clinical psychologist who leads the client from point A to point B but of course, this isn’t a text and not made to be taken in that way. So well, it made for an interesting one-time read but perhaps a non-psychology background reader would do it more justice by being objective about the plot and the treatment.

3.5/5 stars – Somewhere between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’
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Author Bio:

Noam Shpancer was born and raised on an Israeli kibbutz. Currently he is a professor of psychology at Otterbein University and a practicing clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders. He is also a blogger at psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-therapy and an op-ed columnist for the Jewish bimonthly The New Standard. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews

The Nine-Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat

36682054.jpgGenre: Fiction

Date Published: 25 November 2017

Pages: 216

Source: Harper Collins Review Copy

Goodreads Synopsis: ‘You, though, are as beautiful as light splitting through glass.’ Nine characters recall their relationship with a young woman – the same woman – whom they have loved, or who has loved them. We piece her together, much as we do with others in our lives, in incomplete but illuminating slivers. Set in familiar and nameless cities, moving between east and west, The Nine-Chambered Heart is a compendium of shifting perspectives that follows one woman’s life, making her dazzlingly real in one moment, and obscuring her in the very next. Janice Pariat’s exquisitely written new novel is about the fragile, fragmented nature of identity – how others see us only in bits and pieces, and how sometimes we tend to become what others perceive us to be.

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My View: The first I heard of this book was when I was invited to its book launch. I had never seen a performative play before and I am glad I finally did. It was really well done, intense and made me inquisitive about the book. Of course, the prior interview with the author helped. And hence I asked for a review copy.

Lo and galore, this beautiful hardback landed in my mailbox. I started reading it the same day. While reading, my mind went back to the play. I could ‘see’ the characters playing their parts, could remember their voices. They had indeed done a really good job!

About the book, I am really not sure where to begin. The words paint vivid pictures, the expressions intense, a smile here, a curious glance there. It’s like a movie running in your head. And all the while, you’re trying to picture this character, filling in the gaps, kohl’ing her eyes, painting her lips. A little by little, as you get to know her better but do you really? Get to know her better? Or is it all a mirage and you’re just looking from nine pairs of eyes and seeing someone different each time? Is it the same person throughout? Or have the layers piled on? The character has developed and is no longer who she was earlier? Such an enigma.

Truth be told, I read so much international fiction, that sometimes it takes me ages to get into an Indian-author written book. That was so not the case with Pariat’s book. It just went on, smoothly, without any bumps. Like lyrics, the writing flew by. At times melodious, at times rough. But there it was. Very vivid and striking. It follows you days after you have read it. And you wonder.

I like the way the relationships are projected. Fleeting, fragile, gone with the wind. Isn’t it how they all are? Maybe a touch of imagination, a dash of freedom has been added but the essence remains. All these relationships, they speak their own mind, tell their own story and leave for you to unravel this person, this central character who never really appears except what you know of her through others and the kind of relationship they have had with her.

Despite all the things I liked, there are a couple caveats. I understand the need to not label names, places etc and leave them as they are. That is not a problem. But if I have to read ‘city without a river’ and ‘city with a river’ 8 times (or maybe more), it irritates the hell out of me. I would rather read ‘Delhi’ or ‘Sikkim’ or I can even do without any mention of it. But that line, again and again, drives me crazy. Really!

However, if you can put this little irritant aside, there’s a lot for you here. Hidden in this gem of a book. I think I will go back to it again one day and re-read, to once again lose myself in the mystery, the way relationships work and don’t. The way in which life goes on with hiccups. The way you don’t know where life is headed and have no control over it. And maybe learn a bit or two. To add a bit of carelessness to yourself, to live a little, to throw caution to the wind, and go on living, unabashed, unfettered…

3.5/5 stars – Somewhere between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’.
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Author Bio:

Janice is a writer based between London and New Delhi/Shillong (depending on the weather). Her first book Boats on Land: A Collection of Short Stories won the Sahitya Akademi Young Writer Award and the Crossword Award for Fiction in 2013. Her novel Seahorse has been published by Vintage, Random House India, in November 2014.

She studied English Literature at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, and History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.

Her work has featured in a wide number of national magazines & newspapers including OPEN, Art India, Tehelka, Caravan: A Journal of Culture & Politics, Outlook & Outlook Traveller, Motherland, and Biblio: A Review of Books, among others.

(Thank you, Harper Collins for providing me a review copy. All opinions are my own and unbiased.)

Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

6632785.jpgGenre: Classics/ Play

Date Published: 1955

Pages: 124

Source: Owned Books

Goodreads SynopsisCat on a Hot Tin Roof first heated up Broadway in 1955 with its gothic American story of brothers vying for their dying father’s inheritance amid a whirlwind of sexuality, untethered in the person of Maggie the Cat. The play also daringly showcased the burden of sexuality repressed in the agony of her husband, Brick Pollitt. In spite of the public controversy Cat stirred up, it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Drama Critics Circle Award for that year. Williams, as he so often did with his plays, rewrote Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for many years—the present version was originally produced at the American Shakespeare Festival in 1974 with all the changes that made Williams finally declare the text to be definitive, and was most recently produced on Broadway in the 2003–2004 season. This definitive edition also includes Williams&rsquoi; essay “Person-to-Person,” Williams’ notes on the various endings, and a short chronology of the author’s life. One of America’s greatest living playwrights, as well as a friend and colleague of Williams, Edward Albee has written a concise introduction to the play from a playwright’s perspective, examining the candor, sensuality, power, and impact of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof then and now. 

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My View: I have never been a person who reads plays. I would rather go and watch one. But when it is one which has won a Pulitzer Prize, has an interesting title and pretty book cover, you end up buying it during an online sale. It resides prettily in your bookshelf until almost 3.5 years when you decide to pick it up for a Goodreads challenge to read books with pages 100-200 and it just fits in.

I know people love descriptive terms and all the words about non-verbal body cues or setting the scene so as to say. I, however, am not one of them. I will go with it for a while and then just skim over until I find the real deal. So even though people appreciate how vividly Williams has each character imagined, to the extent of how the character is walking, I tend to skip it. Don’t get me wrong. I love him for what he has done and it would come as a great help when directing the play or the movie but it isn’t so pleasant to read all that is written in the brackets. It deflects my attention from the actual story.

About the plot, certainly, Williams has a lot going on in those short 91 pages to be precise. So much of societal oppression and themes to do with greed, animosity and loads about human nature, truth be told. He brings out the characters to be in-your-face. They aren’t hiding their faults and human vices but it is there for everyone to see. And that is what strikes me most, not the human nature per se, which we see around ourselves day in and day out but the alarming presence of it amidst everyone for all to see. And it is then that it hits you hard, for what we are. It’s clever, the people, the play. It comes rushing down on you with so much going on in such short a time and the play ends before you have time to grapple with them all.

The book presents two versions of Act 3 and I am tempted to go with Williams on his version. It seems truer to fact. I agree with his observations and why characters are behaving in the way they are.

I can guess why this won the Pulitzer. It brought on quite an uproar for its bold theme during that time. I think I should watch the movie now. The play is so short, I am sure the director would have taken creative license to extend this to movie length.

The title is very innovative but the author makes sure you get the meaning, not once but twice and it fits like a glove. A bit hillarious if you have a good visual imagination though. 😉

Apart from the play, I absolutely loved Williams’ essay on author and director. It told me more about his thought process and writing than the play did. It’s beautiful and gives an insight into the author-director duo at work. This and not the play itself, makes me want to read more by him. You got any suggestions?

3.5/5 stars – Between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’
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Author Bio:

Thomas Lanier Williams III, better known by the nickname Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright of the twentieth century who received many of the top theatrical awards for his work. He moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to “Tennessee,” the state of his father’s birth. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. In addition, The Glass Menagerie (1945) and The Night of the Iguana (1961) received New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards. His 1952 play The Rose Tattoo (dedicated to his lover, Frank Merlo), received the Tony Award for best play.

Characters in his plays are often seen as representations of his family members. Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was understood to be modeled on Rose. Some biographers believed that the character of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire is also based on her.

Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was generally seen to represent Williams’ mother, Edwina. Characters such as Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and Sebastian in Suddenly, Last Summer were understood to represent Williams himself. In addition, he used a lobotomy operation as a motif in Suddenly, Last Summer.

The Pulitzer Prize for Drama was awarded to A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. These two plays were later filmed, with great success, by noted directors Elia Kazan (Streetcar) with whom Williams developed a very close artistic relationship, and Richard Brooks (Cat). Both plays included references to elements of Williams’ life such as homosexuality, mental instability, and alcoholism. Although The Flowering Peach by Clifford Odets was the preferred choice of the Pulitzer Prize jury in 1955 and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was at first considered the weakest of the five shortlisted nominees, Joseph Pulitzer Jr., chairman of the Board, had seen Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and thought it worthy of the drama prize. The Board went along with him after considerable discussion.

Posted in 3.5 stars, Book reviews

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

11224.jpgGenre: Classics

Date Published: 1963

Pages: 325

Source: Library

Goodreads Synopsis: In this classic of the 1960s, Ken Kesey’s hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and openly defies the rules at every turn. But this defiance, which starts as a sport, soon develops into a grim struggle, an all-out war between two relentless opponents: Nurse Ratched, back by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. What happens when Nurse Ratched uses her ultimate weapon against McMurphy provides the story’s shocking climax.

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My View: This book was on my TBR list for so long. The very first reason being it was set in an asylum. Being a clinical psychologist by profession, I try and read as many fiction books on mental illness as I can, a) because they interest me, b) I am hoping they give a real picture of the situation and the illness to create awareness among the laymen, c) I want to keep re-sensitizing myself so that I don’t become a technician and forget the person across the table has emotions and to empathize truly with what is going on with him/ her (though this isn’t very likely but sometimes I find that knowing how it feels like from the point of the person involved really helps keep me rooted and be motivated again and again to do my best at work). Anyhow, I had picked it up around 5 years back, couldn’t get into it. Finally gave up and watched the movie first, which is usually not what happens. I keep postponing the movie until I read the book (no wonder I watched Shutter Island last year and am still to watch Lord of the Rings and so many more movies!). But I wanted to try yet again and hence issued this book out of my library.

When I began reading, this book felt like a lot of work. I just couldn’t get into it. But I was determined to finish it this time around. The book dragged on till around 80 pages! After which it really picked up and my perseverance paid off. There really was no looking back. Am I happy to get it out of the way? You bet. Did I like it? I did, I really did. Am I going to pick it up again for a re-read? Umm, I doubt that very much. Not because it doesn’t deserve a second read but because it’s sad. In fact, I would go ahead and say this book is downright depressing. I didn’t feel this way after watching the movie (if memory serves me right). However, I understand that with a book, you feel more close to the character than a movie because you can read their thoughts and know them better than a movie ever allows. At times, I felt like abandoning the book in between, not because it wasn’t interesting but because I felt this was not going to go where I wanted it to. And I almost wanted to hold the author’s pen and drive it away from where he was taking it. The characters are so breathlessly etched that I felt so close to them. They were like family whom I wanted to save from anything and everything. No wonder after I finished reading, I just lay on my bed for 2 hours and did absolutely nothing. I felt like all my energy had drained, I felt really sad and I just wanted to move onto another book to distract myself from what this book had led me through.

Not to say, the book is all sad. There are many moments when I laughed. It’s quite funny at times, really. It’s interesting to know that Kesey got inspired to write this book after his time spent as a part-time aide at a psychiatric hospital. The book really does give you food for thought although it doesn’t represent the true picture of mental illness but perhaps it does portray the true reality of asylums during that time.

I do recommend giving it a read but not if you are already feeling low or have no intention of wanting to feel sad.

3.5/5 stars – Between ‘I liked it’ and ‘I really liked it’
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Author Bio:

American writer, who gained world fame with his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest(1962, filmed 1975). In the 1960s, Kesey became a counterculture hero and a guru of psychedelic drugs with Timothy Leary. Kesey has been called the Pied Piper, who changed the beat generation into the hippie movement.

Ken Kesey was born in La Junta, CO, and brought up in Eugene, OR. Kesey spent his early years hunting, fishing, swimming; he learned to box and wrestle, and he was a star football player. He studied at the University of Oregon, where he acted in college plays. On graduating he won a scholarship to Stanford University. Kesey soon dropped out, joined the counterculture movement, and began experimenting with drugs. In 1956 he married his school sweetheart, Faye Haxby.

Kesey attended a creative writing course taught by the novelist Wallace Stegner. His first work was an unpublished novel, ZOO, about the beatniks of the North Beach community in San Francisco. Tom Wolfe described in his book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) Kesey and his friends, called the Merry Pranksters, as they traveled the country and used various hallucinogens. Their bus, called Furthur, was painted in Day-Glo colors. In California Kesey’s friends served LSD-laced Kool-Aid to members of their parties.

At a Veterans’ Administration hospital in Menlo Park, California, Kesey was paid as a volunteer experimental subject, taking mind-altering drugs and reporting their effects. These experiences as a part-time aide at a psychiatric hospital, LSD sessions – and a vision of an Indian sweeping there the floor – formed the background for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, set in a mental hospital. While writing the work, and continuing in the footsteps of such writers as Thomas De Quincy (Confessions of an English Opium Eater, 1821), Aldous Huxley (The Doors of Perception, 1954), and William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch, 1959), Kesey took peyote. The story is narrated by Chief Bromden. Into his world enters the petty criminal and prankster Randall Patrick McMurphy with his efforts to change the bureaucratic system of the institution, ruled by Nurse Ratched.

The film adaptation of the book gained a huge success. When the film won five Academy Awards, Kesey was barely mentioned during the award ceremonies, and he made known his unhappiness with the film. He did not like Jack Nicholson, or the script, and sued the producers.