Books: The Strength of One

SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION by Ken Kesey. 628 pages. Viking. $7.50.

A good man is hard to find, and intolerable to men and gods once he is found. The age of the anti-hero tends to overlook this fascinating half-truth, which is the durable paradox at the core of Oedipus Rex and Othello. But Ken Kesey used it well in his short, cruelly focused first novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. McMurphy, laughing con man and indestructible alley fighter, cons his way into an insane asylum to escape the drudgery of a prison farm. His battle is with Big Nurse, the white-starched...

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