Publishers Weekly: "Carelessly administered treatments lead to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Neststyle ward freakouts...Kocan tells the story with grace and humor."
Date: Apr 30 2008
As a young man, Australian native Kocan (b. 1947) was sentenced to life imprisonment after a failed attempt to assassinate a member of Parliament and served 10 years in a mental hospital for the criminally insane. In these two linked novellas, Kocan fictionalizes his time there. The plot turns on protagonist Len's various transfers from maximum to progressively lesser-security wards: paradoxically and ironically, with each security downgrade, the inmates become loonier, and Len finds he has more to lose. Carelessly administered treatments lead to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest–style ward freakouts. Len, however, discovers a vocation for poetry, and his reading and writing give him the means to understand his situation and the purpose to try to navigate it. Using a “you do this, you do that” second person, Kocan tells the story with grace and humor.