REVIEWS – first

A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline.

First review in after Cassie was released into the wilds of the Book sellers – now I’m smiling.  Click on the link below to go the Goodreads site.

A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline
by Glenda Guest


Marianne‘s review

Jan 14, 2018
“Now it seems her mind is reaching for its own darkness: to be made human by the faculty of memory and then to have it ripped away is the ultimate satire, worthy of Shakespeare. To be born, progress through those ages of man, then revert to the mewling infant rather than dying an appropriate death is surely what is meant by purgatory or limbo, the place between.”
A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline is the second novel by prize-winning Australian author, Glenda Guest. Cassandra Aberline is not dissatisfied with her life: her own place in Surry Hills, a successful career as an actor, and now a position sharing that acting expertise with eager drama students. But it is all threatened by a disquieting diagnosis from a neurologist. Before her occasional symptoms take a deeper hold on her brain, she needs to finally find out if, all those years ago, she made the right decision.

Forty-five years earlier, Cassandra had left Home Ground Farm, collected a package from their neighbour at Omorfi Thea, then caught the Indian Pacific to Sydney, promising never to return. She made her life in Sydney, eventually doing exactly what she had wanted to. But now she is on the Indian Pacific, heading back to Perth, “back home”. It’s a long, leisurely and luxurious journey, with the last-minute purchase of a Platinum Cabin fare, and she has the time and the solitude to think about all that happened back then, to remember.

Guest gives the reader a credible plot with just enough mystery to keep the reader intrigued. As Cassie examines her memories of that long-ago time, the who and the how and the why are gradually revealed. Guest’s characters are eminently believable, their dialogue natural, and her rendering of both rural Western Australia and inner-city Sydney during the latter half of the twentieth century is faultless. Guest examines the reliability (or otherwise) of memory, and its importance to one’s sense of self.

Guest’s descriptive prose is often exquisite: “The early-autumn fog makes the ghostlike figures of other runners appear and disappear like hallucinations or partly forgotten memories” and “The lamb is perfectly pink and tender, the shiraz rounded and smooth; the two women are prickly and jagged” are examples. Readers of her debut novel, Siddon Rock, will recognise the Aberline name; those new to her work will very likely want to seek it out. A marvellous read from a talented author.