The Cassandra

The Cassandra

A Novel

Book - 2019
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"The Cassandra follows a woman who goes to work in a top secret research facility during WWII, only to be tormented by visions of what the mission will mean for humankind. Mildred Groves is an unusual young woman. Gifted and cursed with the ability to see the future, Mildred runs away from home to take a secretary position at the Hanford Research Center in the early 1940s. Hanford, a massive construction camp on the banks of the Columbia River in remote South Central Washington, exists to test and manufacture a mysterious product that will aid the war effort. Only the top generals and scientists know that this product is processed plutonium, for use in the first atomic bombs. Mildred is delighted, at first, to be part of something larger than herself after a lifetime spent as an outsider. But her new life takes a dark turn when she starts to have prophetic dreams about what will become of humankind if the project is successful. As the men she works for come closer to achieving their goals, her visions intensify to a nightmarish pitch, and she eventually risks everything to question those in power, putting her own physical and mental health in jeopardy. Inspired by the classic Greek myth, this 20th century reimagining of Cassandra's story is based on a real WWII compound that the author researched meticulously. A timely novel about patriarchy and militancy, The Cassandra uses both legend and history to look deep into man's capacity for destruction, and the resolve and compassion it takes to challenge the powerful."--
Publisher: New York :, Henry Holt and Company,, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781250197412
Branch Call Number: FIC SHIE
Characteristics: xiii, 281 pages ; 25 cm


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Jul 25, 2020

Scary. A waking nightmare. Takes the reader back to VJ Day and what awful events occurred. Hiroshima and Nagasaki and on and on.

IndyPL_CarriG Feb 15, 2019

The Cassandra is a book about three things - it's a retelling of the Greek myth of Cassandra the prophetess; it's a story about a very young woman trying to go to work and be more than her family thinks she can be in the 40s; and it's a piece of historical fiction about the Hanford nuclear research site. Mildred Groves flees from her role as her mother's caretaker to take a job as a secretary at Hanford on the Columbia River. She does very well in her work, but is more than ever troubled by her visions of a calamitous future. Though she finds friends here no one listens to her any more than they ever did at home.

There is a level of dread throughout this book that belies the naivity of its narrator. Of course, if the reader knows anything about WWII or the Cassandra myth, you know that dreadful things are going to happen, and Mildred is not as innocent as she seems. Mildred's rye observations on being a woman in a man's world make this novel a bit more than the sum of its parts. It's at times uncomfortable to read, but worth the struggle.


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