Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cassandra at the Wedding” as Want to Read:
Cassandra at the Wedding
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Cassandra at the Wedding

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  1,275 Ratings  ·  189 Reviews
Cassandra Edwards is a graduate student at Berkeley: gay, brilliant, nerve-racked, miserable. At the beginning of this novel, she drives back to her family ranch in the foothills of the Sierras to attend the wedding of her identical twin, Judith, to a nice young doctor from Connecticut. Cassandra, however, is hell-bent on sabotaging the wedding.
Dorothy Baker’s entrancin
ebook, 272 pages
Published March 21st 2012 by NYRB Classics (first published 1962)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Cassandra at the Wedding, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Cassandra at the Wedding

Fingersmith by Sarah WatersMikey and the Chickadee by Kid BoiseFun Home by Alison BechdelTipping the Velvet by Sarah WatersGiovanni's Room by James     Baldwin
LGBT for Adults
135 books — 58 voters
Butcher's Crossing by John  WilliamsStoner by John  WilliamsMoby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman MelvilleBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy2666 by Roberto Bolaño
Hip Opinions
308 books — 45 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 11, 2012 Mariel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: little drummer boy versus thunderclap
Recommended to Mariel by: Carson McCullers
"You've always needed a lot more of everything than I do," she said. "Haven't you?"
I wanted to tell her that I didn't need much. Just a few essentials- faith in something and a little sense of location, but I didn't. I didn't because I was looking at her and seeing, again, the very face I'd seen behind the bottles in the bar this afternoon, the one that can always give me a turn when I really look at it and know who it is and why it looks back at me the way it does- as if it belonged to me.

Apr 21, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014, nyrb
She wastes herself, she drifts; all she wants to do with her life is lose it somewhere.

The title of this novel sounds peppy and chick-flick-y. Thankfully, it was a self-deprecating, slow moving madness. A fog. A bundle of nerves.

The story switched gears halfway and became serious very quickly. And it's wonderfully dark and frantic.

I wanted to stop and explain it to granny, tell her it was my fault for not knowing what I should have known - that people like us can't really be people and live h
The things that get in your way; the indignities you have to suffer before you’re free to do one simple, personal, necessary thing--like work.
But I will release Cassandra's self pity that I have come to imagine as my own. As I watch the winds as carrying away my contrived notion of reality, watching the light do great many things to it until, it is out of sight and perhaps I will be bold enough to make the distinction.

It has become increasingly hard for me to put the jibber jabber of thoughts
Cassandra's twin sister is getting married and Cassandra is grieving this schism. Who gets the Bösendorfer? What do twins wear at one twin's wedding? For once, in literature, a harmlessly drunk father.

They were like this:

"Do you remember, Papa?" I said, "when you read to us out of The Anatomy of Melancholy --'Be not idle, be not solitary'?"
"It's the other way around, I believe," papa said. "'Be not solitary, be not idle.' What about it?"
"Nothing, except I remembered it. It's why I left Berkeley
Feb 13, 2012 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, fiction
This was a treat of a short novel. You'd think that family drama over a wedding would be a well-worn subject, but Baker approaches the subject with nerve and excitement.

The story revolves around Cassandra Edwards, a lesbian graduate student at Berkeley, receives the news of her sister Judith's wedding. She plans to 'rescue' her sister and destroy everything. The funniest parts are where the Cassandra explains her ridiculous actions in very reasonable (if a tad neurotic) tone.

For some reason, I
Mar 13, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nicholson Baker
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: library shelf
Shelves: nyrb, fiction
Dorothy Baker was apparently a straight woman who liked to write lesbian fiction. The lesbianism of the main character and narrator, Cassandra, is subtly treated. She sits down with her identical twin sister Judith and tells her "as honestly as I could how I'm constituted. With men I feel like a bird in the clutch of a cat, terrified, caught in a nightmare of confinement, wanting nothing but to get free and take a shower." She's also more than a little emotionally disturbed, sees an analyst, and ...more
Jul 11, 2015 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, nyrb
Twins, for the most part, have close bonds. A bond that many of us cannot relate to. They sometimes have their own way of communicating, their own way of relating to others and trying to find themselves apart from their womb companion. When one tries to leave -- that bond, that strong, substantial, never-broken bond -- erodes away; leaving one vulnerable to the world of strangers that are not like themselves.

Judith and Cassandra were born into a life of luxury and of old money. Both are educated
Mar 11, 2016 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first thing one learns in life is that the self is a partial thing; at the very moment of birth one is consigned to terminal separateness. The one attribute we can be sure that we all share is incompleteness.

Reading this in Deborah Eisenberg’s afterword sent volts through me. My sister and I just had this conversation, over the dregs of our breakfast coffee at 2pm: conceptions of self are so fluid, so contingent on other people, so impossible to articulate. And I don’t know that we’re inco
Sep 13, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a deep fondness for sad-stuff-presented-cheerfully. The example I always think of is that song “But Not for Me,” specifically one of the versions by Judy Garland. The song is really about anguish, I think, but she sings it in a lovely, fairly understated way that sort of lets you off the hook somehow – like you have a choice between listening to it remotely and staying emotionally calm, or really focusing on it and getting kind of verklempt and suicidal. Most especially, I love the funny ...more
Aug 28, 2016 julieta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-americans
I have to confess that the reasons that lead me to read this book were kind of personal. I have a tendency to become infatuated with certain publishers, and I have a big crush on NYRB. All the books I have read have been incredible discoveries, and I love their translation, even their introductions and afterwords in the novels they publish.

The second reason is because I am a twin, and I am always looking for a good twin story, which don't really come by much. So I read it for very different reas
I identified strongly with Cassandra for several personal reasons, which I won't detail. This probably helped me maintain sympathy for her despite her often inconsiderate thoughtless behaviour (one of the reasons is that I also tend towards these unattractive traits) and vitriol:
There again, I thought, say it twice and underline it. The emblem of good women is always this anxiety about drinking – other people's drinking. And I knew why. Because alcohol releases truth and truth is something good
Oct 03, 2011 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
CASSANDRA AT THE WEDDING. (1962). Dorothy Baker. ****.
The Edwards girls are identical twins – Judith (Jude) and Cassandra (Cass). They were both born and raised on a ranch in the foothills of the Sierras in southern California. Judith still lives at home, but has announced her plans to marry a young man who is about to enter into his internship to complete his M.D. Cassandra is a student teacher at Berkeley, working on completing her doctoral thesis. Their mother died years ago and the girls we
Sian Lile-Pastore
Feb 11, 2012 Sian Lile-Pastore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classics
I really liked this... published in 1962 with a great sense of place and a wonderful narrative voice, 'cassandra at the wedding' is charming, smart, sad and funny. Perhaps more witty and smart than funny, it's not laugh out loud funny, here's a quote so you can see what I mean:

'"I think I'll tell you something I wasn't ever going to tell you," she said, and I knew by her face it was important. Also by how long it took her to follow it up. But she did finally.

"It's about Jack," she said. "He doe
Jan 20, 2016 Romina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cassandra al matrimonio

E’ un libro commovente sulla famiglia, sui conflitti e sulle dolcezze che accompagnano i nostri rapporti.
In Cassandra al matrimonio si affrontano molti temi tra cui il tema del doppio infatti, quello dell'impossibilità di essere se stessi, quando nel mondo esiste un individuo come te.
Il tema dell’amore, l’amore ossessivo tra sorelle, l’amore del padre e della nonna. Tocca temi come quello della morte, la madre che muore lasciando un vuoto enorme, incolmabile, e il tentato
Dec 16, 2014 Leggendolibri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Favoloso in tutta la sua crudeltà...
Aug 03, 2016 JacquiWine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cassandra at the Wedding (first published in 1962) will make my end-of-year highlights, no doubt about it. As this novel opens, Cassandra Edwards, a graduate student at Berkeley, is preparing to drive home to her family’s ranch for the wedding of her identical twin sister, Judith. From the opening pages, she seems in two minds as to whether to take the trip, and as she looks at the Golden Gate Bridge, we begin to sense that something is desperately wrong:

Besides, my guide assures me that I am no
May 03, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyrb
Quirky, nervy little book with wonderful characterizations. Made me think of Chekhov a bit, those slightly fraught, flawed characters and the way your sympathy for them sneaks up on you. Cassandra is a lovely character. Well, they all are, even if Judith is a bit bland -- but she's supposed to be, so it's OK. And you end up sympathizing with her for just having had to grow up in the shadow of her sister's wacky brilliance.

The Aristophanes connection is accurate, but it's also kind of simplistic
Tightly written with a very well-drawn protagonist, Cassandra at the Wedding is worth reading even if it is a bit dated in some (not all) of its psychological themes. I almost didn't read it for suspicion of any writer who would name her protagonist "Cassandra," but you get over it.

The premise is that Cassandra, one half of identical twins, is preparing to attend - and hoping to thwart - the sudden wedding of her sister Judith. Cassandra is gay (although references to this are oblique, probably
To me this was a difficult read because of the subject matters of madness and twins. My grandmother was part of a twin and mad as a hatter. Her entire life she threatened to commit suicide, an act she ultimately managed to complete when I was a young girl of twelve. My mother and her sister were terrified of her and so were my sister and I. She could be lovely at times but she could be so manipulative that it made your blood run cold.
As a result of this I became very interested in psychology as
Oct 20, 2014 Kittaroo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Veramente bello.
Comprato al SalTo15 perché in sconto, confesso, mi é davvero piaciuto tanto.
Scritto con uno stile tagliente e sarcastico, così moderno da sembrare frutto di un autore contemporaneo.
La storia, che si svolge nell'arco di poche giornate, di due gemelle, una che non vuole né può vivere senza l'altra, Cassandra, appunto, e l'altra che da questo rapporto morboso é soffocata, così come dalla bizzarra ed intellettualmente snobbissima famiglia.
Nonostante la brevità del romanzo, la scri
Aug 03, 2010 Christy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The perfect airplane read for a person en route to a wedding, this tautly written 1962 novel about a woman falling apart, coming home to her family’s ranch to derail her twin sister’s wedding. That’s the summary – but obviously it’s about so much more: about the nature of love and obsession, about identity and the self. It’s a novel filled with light and despair, anguish and pathos and extreme feeling. It made me think of the film "Rachel’s Getting Married", another story of a conniving, distrau ...more
July 2012

I read The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin last month, but I kept getting stuck (it's the longest short book I've ever read), so to distract myself I started working through my NYRB collection instead.

There may have been a conflict of interest there.
Mar 08, 2017 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. Cassandra Speaks
2. Judith Speaks
3. Cassandra Speaks
4. Afterword by Deborah Eisenberg

“Cassandra” is one of the identical twins, on the surface the "stronger" of the two, the other is Judith, who's wedding to Jack is central to the story. Physically identical they may be but that's as far as it goes: the sisters are quite different, their sexual preferences to begin with. Much of the 'action' is set on the family's ranch in the foothills of the Sierras. As a character Cassandra is some
Oct 31, 2015 Brina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Auf "Zwei Schwestern" von Dorothy Baker war ich ganz besonders gespannt, denn bislang habe ich viele Meinungen gehört, die doch sehr weit auseinander gingen, von daher wollte ich unbedingt herausfinden, wie mir das Buch gefallen wird. Jetzt, nachdem ich das Buch beendet habe, muss ich dann doch leider sagen, dass ich eher zu den Menschen gehöre, die von dem Buch eher weniger begeistert sind.

Man merkt dem Buch bereits auf den ersten Seiten an, dass es schon viele Jahre auf dem Buckel hat, denn di
May 03, 2009 Eleanor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eleanor by: Lauren Martin
This book has a lot of potential and falls a bit short. Or rather, the character Cassandra has a lot of potential because she's a bitter, queer intellectual, but falls a bit short and is, shall we say it bluntly, annoying and immature. This writing is engaging and very well done and this books a quick read, but the characters grated on me. This book fits into a similar category as "The Dud Avocado" or much of Joan Didion's work. Written in the 1960's it's about privileged white women who never h ...more
Philip Fracassi
Oct 28, 2010 Philip Fracassi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit
This book is MESSED UP. I mean, what a riot this thing is.

The people in the book are weird, but in a way deep down sense. You don't really understand why they're such a strange family, it just kind of dawns on you as you go how very, very f*d up they are. Way big time so.

Although a bit of a period piece because of when it was written the story itself is timeless and unique at the same time - one of the best compliments I can give any story.

I loved it so much I bought a few of her other titles
Jan 18, 2010 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book, I couldn't help but think of 'Catcher in the Rye', which I hated, and how much better this is. Now, 'Cassandra at the Wedding' is not very similar to 'Catcher in the Rye', but they share enough similarities for my mind to be stuck on the comparison.

The other comparison I made was with the documentary 'The Bridge', which captures and explores people killing themselves by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Anyway, I highly recommend this book. I can only imagine how exciting it
Nov 22, 2016 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure where I read about this as it was first publisher in 1962. Really very modern and a times simple and deep, hilarious and heartbreaking. So many good lines and descriptions (while not being overly descriptive). One of my favorites, which pretty much sums up how I feel about getting older: "I didn't look bad, as a matter of fact. Just to look, you'd say young, and attractive, although an autopsy would probably reveal an incipient ulcer and all kinds of damage, here and there..." A really ...more
Jun 03, 2015 natura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Relaciones de sangre muy difíciles. Formas distintas de luchar por ser tú misma, por madurar y seguir adelante por mucho que cueste.
Nos asomamos a un trozo de realidad arrancado a lo vivo de sus protagonistas, sin juzgar ni encontrar soluciones bienpensantes, esperando que su vida tome algún rumbo "normal" aunque no te queda ninguna seguridad de ello.
Terry Pearce
Oct 06, 2016 Terry Pearce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this might have been five stars had it just been longer. I wanted more of this, if Cassandra. I wanted the drama dragged out, I loved her voice. I still might come back and give it five. Short isn't necessarily bad, but when something is so compelling, why stop?
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Outward Room
  • Wish Her Safe at Home
  • The Pumpkin Eater
  • After Claude
  • The Old Man and Me
  • Great Granny Webster
  • Lolly Willowes
  • A Way of Life, Like Any Other
  • A Meaningful Life
  • The New York Stories
  • The Mountain Lion
  • The Pilgrim Hawk
  • Victorine
  • Blood on the Forge
  • The Vet's Daughter
  • Ride a Cockhorse
  • What's for Dinner?
  • The Pure and the Impure
Dorothy Baker (1907–1968) was born in Missoula, Montana, in 1907 and raised in California. After graduating from UCLA , she traveled in France, where she began a novel and, in 1930, married the poet Howard Baker. The couple moved back to California, and Baker completed an MA in French, later teaching at a private school. After having a few short stories published, she turned to writing full time, ...more
More about Dorothy Baker...

Share This Book

“So go, girl. We should have been one person all along, not two.” 31 likes
“You shouldn't ask me whether I like him or not. The way you mean it, I don't suppose I like anybody.” 5 likes
More quotes…