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:||Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 2.10(d)|
About the Author
Sharma Shields holds an MFA from the University of Montana. She is the author of the short story collection Favorite Monster, winner of the 2011 Autumn House Fiction Prize, and the novel The Sasquatch Hunters’ Almanac, winner of the Washington State Book Award. Her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, Electric Literature, and more. Shields has worked in independent bookstores and public libraries throughout Washington State. She lives in Spokane with her husband and children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I absolutely devoured this book. At first it seems a simple coming of age type story. Mildred wants adventure and to get out from under the control of her mother and sister. We find she is socially awkward and a little different. Then we find she is a lot different. She has visions that lead her through the story. These visions and her inability to get anyone to listen to her have shaped her life and her mind. We are constantly, from that point on, told that we have no idea who Mildred really is. So I couldn't put it down. There was so much about it, quirky and hopeful and unpleasant and dark, that tears you in so many directions. The horror of war. The horror of being different. The horror of men. The horror of women. All of them so completely connected with the Manhattan Project and the mythology of the Cassandra. What that did to Mildred... You sometimes really pulled for her though you were never really sure of how reliable her account of any of it could be. Cruelty was everywhere and everyone played their parts. I am so glad I had the opportunity to read and review this book. Thank you to Sharma Shields, it couldn't have always been easy to write, to the publishers, and to Netgalley for my copy.
Fascinating & Spellbinding This is a good, fast enjoyable read. Funny and Tender. The plot is very provocative and kept my attention throughout. It is a very emotional book. I love this book. I couldn’t put it down. I want to read more of this author.