The Cassandra

The Cassandra

A Novel

Book - 2019
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Early 1940s. Mildred Groves is gifted-- and cursed-- with the ability to see the future. She holds a secretary position at the Hanford Research Center on the banks of the Columbia River in remote South Central Washington, which 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. As Mildred starts to have prophetic dreams about what will become of humankind if the project is successful, she eventually risks everything to question those in power, putting her own physical and mental health in jeopardy. .-- adapted from publisher info.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250197412
1250197414
Branch Call Number: FICTION Shi
Description: xiii, 281 pages ; 25 cm

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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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