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Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker : review

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In spite of its intriguing premise Cassandra at the Wedding is a novel that is obscured by an impenetrable and confounding narration.
The story is divided in three sections, two of which are from the point of view of Cassandra. Her narrative reflects her state of mind and she reports things with a puzzling intense yet unfocused perspective. Her mind jumps from thought to thought, and she often provides no context—or reason—for what she thinks or observes which leaves readers trying to navigate her increasingly mystifying thought-pattern .
The novel is very much focused on Cassandra and her identity. Characters describe her personality in a way that suggests that she is much more alluring and passionate than she actually is. Cassandra spends way too much time exploring her sense of self, providing little information or motivation in the situations that would actually benefit from more clarity on her part.
She is depressed, unhappy, unfixed. Her life seems to have spiralled out of control after her sister moved away from their shared apartment. While the confusing style does reflect her skewed perceptions it also distances readers from her experiences. So much is unsaid that it was hard to find reasons to sympathise with her or her struggles.
Her sexuality is only vaguely hinted at which given the time the book was written in, it does ‘make sense’ but then…why include this aspect of her character if you will barely acknowledge it? Moreover, Cassandra’s obsession with her twin sister seemed far too undeveloped and unexplained. Her fixation seems the drive of this narrative, yet there seemed little substance to her relationship with her sister.
In conclusion, I was hoping that this novel would be far more innovative and entertaining than it actually was.

 

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