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A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  21 reviews
After forty-five years in Sydney, Cassandra Aberline returns to her home town in the Western Australian wheat belt in the same way she left: on the Indian Pacific train.

As they cross the emptiness of the vast Australian inland, Cassie travels back through her memories, too, frightened that she’s about to lose them forever—and with them, her last chance to answer the quest
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 20th 2018 by Text Publishing (first published 2018)
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Dale Harcombe
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When this book arrived at my house I could not wait to read it, but started it immediately. By the end of the first page I was drawn in. From that point on I could not put it down. I finished it in the early hours of yesterday morning. It is not a fast paced, action novel but rather a gentle, reflective novel that absolutely captivated me. The writing is beautiful, ’The early-autumn fog makes the ghostlike figures of other runners appear and disappear like hallucinations or party forgotten memor ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“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 no
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reviews
Taken on face value, Glenda Guest’s A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline could be mistaken for a maudlin story about Alzheimer’s — but it is much more than that.

It’s the kind of richly layered novel I really like, one that mixes a journey (in this case by train across the width of the Australian continent) with an immersive back story about one woman’s markedly independent life. And at the heart of it, there’s a long-buried family betrayal that has thrown a shadow over everything that has ha
Text Publishing
‘An absorbing read.’
Whispering Gums

‘Guest has given us a character able to ask many of the important questions about a life and its purpose. A thoughtful and challenging story.’
Otago Daily Times

‘A compelling novel...Contemplative and wise.’
ANZ LitLovers

‘Glenda Guest takes a plot worthy of Shakespearean romance and infuses it with vividness, melancholy and an acute sense of place whether she’s writing about the remote outback or Sydney in the 70s.’
Sydney Morning Herald

'This is a contemplative
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Time was cut, dried, and nailed to the wall of the tiny wooden railway office.’

Cassandra (Cassie) Aberline has been estranged from her family for over forty years. But her recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia has her thinking of the past, of why she left Western Australia for New South Wales. Cassie undertakes a journey by train: back to the Indian Ocean from the Pacific, on the Indian Pacific. There’s an urgency to this journey, a journey Cassie needs to make while she still can, before sh
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline is a road trip with a difference!
Cassandra Aberline has been estranged from her family for almost half a century, but faced with that diagnosis that we all fear as we get older, she takes the train back to the west. In her 'platinum' cabin she has all the luxuries that the iconic transcontinental Indian Pacific can offer, but it's not a relaxing trip because she is tormented by memories of a Faustian pact, and she wants to sort it out while she stil
D.M. Cameron
Cassandra stays with you long after you put this book down. I find I keep thinking about her, hoping that she is going to be looked after somehow. Glenda Guest paints a very detailed portrait...heartbreaking and beautifully written.
Pam Tickner
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sad, moving and beautifully written snapshot of Cassie Aberline's life as she travels back to Western Australia to uncover the truth that has haunted her before she loses her memory. A little heavy on the Shakespeare quotes but a fine literary read that is bittersweet as you discover the events that have shaped Cassie's life.
Del Winslow
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so different from the writer's first, Siddon Rock, but is connected to it by the name of the protagonist - Cassandra Aberline. In Siddon Rock Henry Aberline was the founder of the town just before the turn of the 20th century so he would have been her great grandfather. There are also a couple of other, very quiet, references tucked away in the text. The place is also a connection because although its not said outright it appears to be the town of Siddon Rock.

SR is a story about a w
(Eileen)  Dunn
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Glenda Guest’s ‘A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline’ took me across Australia from Sydney to Perth as Cassie travelled by train back to her childhood hometown. It took a while for the reminiscing style of Guest’s writing to fall into place, but once inside Cassie’s rambling memories I found I couldn’t put the book down and was sorry when it finished.

In one memorable scene, Cassie’s detailed ‘one-ness’ with the landscape was remarkable as Cassie sought to meld her being with the dust she ca
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
We meet Cassie just after her Alzheimer's diagnosis. She decides to travel back home on the Indian Pacific, the same way she travelled to Sydney many years ago. As Cassie takes the journey back we are also taken back through her life as she tries to work out who she is and who she will become. We meet her family and the major events that shaped her life. A gentle story about memories and how we see ourselves through them.
I loved this book - beautiful imagery, real sense of place, and a gentle rhythm to the narrative that reflects the train journey at the story's heart. The author reveals Cassandra's story gradually, fleshing out detail and correcting the reader's misconceptions as the train makes its way back to her home town, both in place and in time. This is Australian fiction at its very best.
Robyn Gibson
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cassie takes a last-minute cancellation on the Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth. The same trip but in the opposite direction forty-five years ago. She teaches literature at the uni and stumbled over her tutorial. Cassie finds out she is in the early stages of Alzheimer's.
The story is told by Cassie over this wonderful train trip where she thinks back on her life, hoping to grasp memories and how her life unfolded the way it has and to answer questions she never got to know the answers to. On
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this very Australian novel. It's about a woman (the eponymous Cassandra) who is told she has early stage Alzheimer's. This prompts her to take a trip from Sydney back to Western Australia, which she hasn't visited since leaving 45 years earlier. She decides to travel by train, the way she left - both for the symmetry of it, and to give her time to think about her life, the people she's met and the people she left behind. Her Alzheimer's is the catalyst but otherwise doesn't p ...more
Lloyd Fell
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was immediately drawn into the web of intrigue and the fascinating life of the central character from the very beginning. This is an understated, but beautifully told story, about the kinds of doubt and worry that we all experience at times. The uncertainty of our memories about the distant past is especially real as we get older and, although I am male, I can identify with Cassandra as she reflects on what has happened around her family - or what could have happened - and what she should do n ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this beautifully written book. It has so many layers of nuance that it is a very satisfying read that you don't want to end. I often wanted to read it slowly as the engagement was so compelling.
The sense of time and place was so real that I found myself on the train journey with Cassandra.
By the end it has raised a lot of worthwhile questions that the reader is left to answer for themselves.
Susan Fookes
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book with many underlying layers. We follows Cassandra on her journey both physically and mentally looking back on her life and the decisions she made. It begins in Kings Cross where you can still see the places she spent her time and follows her life up to the time she makes her final journey back home to Western Australia. The writing from this award winning author is superb.
Dianne Hinde
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel is beautifully written - the use of imagery and language are engaging. Great soul searching journey. It certainly delivered for me!
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 🌟A fairly good read, atmospheric in the way it was written. More about her life which made for a good story, not so much about having Alzheimer’s. Absolutely loved her other book Sidon Rock.
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Twins. Who is who? Train trip into the past.
Apr 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Not good, not bad, just a bit plain. Nicely structured writing style, but it felt like the narrative needed a bit more to push it along
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