Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cassandra” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Christa Wolf
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,255 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
In this volume, the distinguished East German writer Christa Wolf retells the story of the fall of Troy, but from the point of view of the woman whose visionary powers earned her contempt and scorn. Written as a result of the author's Greek travels and studies, Cassandra speaks to us in a pressing monologue whose inner focal points are patriarchy and war. In the four accom
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 1st 1984 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1983)
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, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Cassandra

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Cassandra. I saw her at once. She, the captive, took me captive; herself made an object by others, she took possession of me.”- Christa Wolf, Cassandra

This wasn’t the easiest of books to get through due to its relatively dense prose but it was well worth the effort. In a way it made me realize that I don’t know enough Greek mythology, as well as how pervasive the knowledge of ancient Greek culture is in our modern society. However, not knowing too many particulars of the Trojan War, which is t
Dhanaraj Rajan
One of the bests.........

This is my third book by Chrsita Wolf and like the other two this one is also a "FIVE STAR" book.

What is it about?

It is the re-telling of a story that is universally well known - The Fall of Troy. The fall of Troy in this novel is narrated by King Priam's daughter/priestess, Cassandra who in her captivity is expecting the death. She was the one who saw Troy's fall from the beginning but sadly nobody believed her.

What makes it a great book?

The reason is Christa Wolf and
Neal Adolph
Several months ago I finished reading the novella in this collection and I wrote a review. It is below, under the line break. In the time since I have read the essays, though that has taken a good deal of time. I moved to Colombia and left the book in Canada, which delayed reading the last essay by several months, and I celebrated Black History Month, which meant that I set aside all literature by anybody who wasn't black, even if only for a month. There have been delays.

But the essays are fanta
Forced to read this book due to a third year literature course, and being a lover of great literature as well as 'fireside' reads, I got some chuckles from the 'elitist' ramblings of other reviewers regarding the complexity and importance of this book. I agree that anyone who doesn't 'get it' when it comes to this book - particularly after reading all the exegetical text that goes with the story - must be a little simple; Wolf's narrative touch is as subtle as a poorly wielded jaw-bone. This is ...more
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘Cassandra’ is the second Christa Wolf novel that I decided to read for Christa Wolf week which is part of this year’s German Literature Month.

‘Cassandra’ is a retelling of the events surrounding the Trojan war. It is told from the perspective of Cassandra, the daughter of King Priam, who is also a prophet and prophesizes that things are not going to go well for Troy, but no one believes her. Things, of course, go as she predicts – that is what happens with good doomsday prophets. The story sta
While the narrative style of the novel is not my favorite style, the story does eventually become engrossing. Wolf's story of Cassandra draws on several different veins of the Troy myth as well as references the Cold War. This edition includes four essay that give depth and feeling to the novel. It is an interesting look at politics and creation.
Sarah Magdalene
Sep 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This dark race is beyond help
for the most part you had to remain
silent so as not to be considered
mad like Cassandra, when you prophesied
what already lies outside the gate.

Goethe, 1794

Spent all afternoon immersed in this great book. So inspiring to read such a sentient passionate author describing so timelessly the horror and madness of war. Impossible not to identify with Cassandra, wailing hopelessly at the insanely deluded and doomed Trojans as they demolished their own fortifications to tow i
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german-lit
Cassandra is most famous in Greek mythology for possessing the gift of prophecy but this unique gift came with one problem: no one ever believes her true predictions. In Aeschylus’s Agamemnon, Cassandra says that she agreed to have sex with the God Apollo in exchange for the gift of prophecy, but when she went back on her promise and refused the Sun God’s advances, Apollo made sure that her prophecies would never be believed. When she predicts the future her friends and family treat her as nothi ...more
Ana María
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
"Aquí fue. Ahí estaba. Esos leones de piedra, sin cabeza ahora, la miraron. Esa fortaleza, un día inexpugnable, ahora un montón de piedras, fue lo último que vio. Un enemigo hace tiempo olvidado y los siglos, sol, lluvia y viento, la arrasaron. Inalterado el cielo, un bloque azul intenso, alto, dilatado. Cerca las murallas ciclópeamente ensambladas, hoy como ayer, que marcan su dirección al caminar: hacia la puerta, bajo la cual no mana la sangre. Hacia lo tenebroso. Hacia el matadero. Y sola.
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Se con "Medea" ho imparato a conoscere la Wolf, con "Cassandra" credo di iniziare ad amare questa scrittrice.
"Cassandra" mi ha trasportato in un mondo lontano, epico, mitologico, e per questo ancora più affascinante da leggere e vivere.
Leggendolo, mi è sembrato di essere a teatro, in uno di quei meravigliosi e sontuosi teatri greci in cui stavo assistendo allo spettacolo che la Wolf sapientemente e con minuzia di dettagli ha messo in scena, con i vari personaggi che sfilano sotto i nostri occhi
May 14, 2017 marked it as unfinished  ·  review of another edition
I've read most of the essays, which I found interesting. I'm less impressed with the narrative, which is nowhere near as good as Medea. So I'm leaving this unfinished. Rather disappointed after her other works that I've read.
Julia Buckley
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Christa Wolf's stream-of-consciousness account of the mythological Cassandra, imprisoned and waiting to be executed by the vengeful Clytemnestra, is a fascinating study of an ancient world, of patriarchy, and of a universal humanity.

The novel is not broken into chapters, but that is an appropriate way to chronicle the relentless thoughts that torment Cassandra in her prison. Ultimately, despite the necessarily grim tone surrounding details of the Trojan War, there is something victorious in Cas
Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Nathaniel by: a professor
While I admit the book is an interesting look and study on the re-imagining of a character, as a piece of fiction it fails in many ways. The story has no over-arching structure, more a series of random thoughts and anecdotes loosely linked together by a time period. The essays attempt to give a reader an insight into the author's working process, but these fail too for much the same reason: they don't necessarily show the reader how the author developed her novella, and also have no definitive s ...more
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readforschool, essays
This text is an imaginative repositioning of the classical tragic figure Cassandra. In this telling, Cassandra transforms from a privileged and unaware royal daughter to rebellious witness who refuses to go along with the false rhetoric of war that her own family is perpetrating. She finds herself spending time in the forest in a kind of utopian/feminist/egalitarian community where people have created a space between all of the killing and dying. The story is incredible and moving and is a perfe ...more
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel itself is gripping, and it alone probably would have been five stars from me.

The travel journal, diary and letter addenda are interesting, and it is fun to trace the roots of the novel in Wolf's thoughts, but I thought those roots were overly buried in minutiae that made the sections difficult to read. I think it would have been better to have heard them as her lecture series, to see how Wolf herself connected the strands together into her novel.
May 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Non e brutto anzi! Ma richiede uno sforzo tale per seguire il filo dei pensieri di Cassandra, la protagonista e, attraverso i suoi pensieri, ricostruire gli eventi che sono avvenuti nella sua vita e nelle vite di quelli intorno a lei. Che fatica!
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
another one i largely abandoned during the quarter and didn't finish until now—essays were better than the novel because the novel is all ideas, & the ideas are more compellingly and urgently expressed in the essays. was charmed by the idea of a novel that doesn't feel complete if it doesn't have supplementary essays bound up with it, though. also had no idea the eighties felt so apocalyptic. it's pretty apocalyptic right now too but no one is so grave about it.
William Crosby
Cassandra is the narrator with constant retrospectives and psychological analyses about her, her situation, the Greeks, Troy, and assorted characters.
Delphine Loulou
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh I loved loved loved this book! If you think about reading, to just read it, I loved every single page!
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german
Wow, the only regret I have about "Kassandra" is that for 32 years on this planet, I had no idea this novella existed.
This is well-written, with quite a lyrical feel to the work, and the ideas behind it are intriguing. However, I found that the text a bit confusing and difficult to follow at times.
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cassandra è sicuramente uno dei personaggi più interessanti dell’Iliade e la sua psicologia è stata sottoposta a molti studi da parte di appassionati di letteratura greca: la sua vicenda, così tragica, ha inoltre ispirato componimenti e tragedie. Ma Cassandra è anche la protagonista di un romanzo che si chiama proprio come lei, scritto da Christa Wolf, scrittrice tedesca che visse durante il periodo della Guerra Fredda e che fu particolarmente attiva nella politica, iscrivendosi al Partito di Un ...more
Christina Sallis
Wolf's *feminist* (obvious liberties were taken here, but you take what you can when you're a second-class citizen) interpretation of the fall of Troy, reminded me of Ellul's characterization of western imperialism as "the proverbial collision between the earthenware pot and the iron pot. what happens, happens, despite the best possible intentions of the iron pot." Wolf traces the technical and ideological origins of Western imperialism to the fall of Troy and the ascension and glorification of ...more
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wolf's novella, CASSANDRA, in the first person, presents us with some very fine ancient history, a cultural milieu that she spent time considering deeply, and a historical Cassandra who is quite different from the mythological or Homeric Cassandra. This is not to disparage either myth or Homer's work, but it is refreshing to be dealing with a human being who is yet a person of her historic era.

The four essays are Wolf's own examinations of how she went about this work to literarily realize Cassa
Christa Wolf has written a beautiful, engaging and thought-provoking story about Cassandra and the accompanying essays provide an interesting read which help to contextualise Wolf's Cassandra even further while they encourage you to ask further questions, to engage with the text and the issues it raises.
The novel Cassandra takes up about half the book and introduces us to Cassandra as she is facing her death by Clytaimnestra, a fact which catapults her into her memory to assess and work through
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Entrada en el diario 3 de Faedyl desde City Bell, Buenos Aires Province Argentina en miércoles, 09 de septiembre de 2009
10 de 10

Casandra! excelente libro.
Mediante un relato que revive hechos del pasado y los entremezcla con lo que esta aconteciendo y lo que va a suceder, esta casandra cuyo anhelo de videncia es su misma perdición, se enfrenta con una serie de reflexiones que son universales y que, dejando de lado ese acontecer del mito se convierten en intensas meditaciones de cualquier mujer e
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is said that all resolutions can be found when looking through women’s eyes. They see the intricate details of a problem, analyzing them one by one. Some people had acknowledged this statement, accepted it even. Yet, what can be done when the woman is believed to be a crazy fraud?

Of the well-known women in the Iliad, some wonder why Christa Wolf chose Cassandra’s perspective in attesting the heroisms of the Trojan War. In the first place, why a woman? Why Cassandra? Biasness aside, I think i
Dec 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A day definitely well spent reading

The writing in the story itself is excellent-- upsetting, flowing and beautiful. Some specific sentences stood out, true, but that's not really it; it just seems to run so well as whole, and reading it is a pretty special experience. It works just as well as the multiple voices in Medea, and I'm not quite sure which one I like better.

And of course, The Iliad (...800+ pages of fighting men with occasional interruptions from Athena and Hera) being my point of co
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it for class, first semester of my first year of college (which was like 7 years ago... damn) and!!!! It was very easy for me to love this book because:

(1) great part of my childhood was spent obsessing over Greek myths, and;

(2) I loved Cassandra in that Hercules Disney TV cartoon, haha!

But for real, we read the book after reading The Iliad, kind of like looking at the story from a different perspective, away from Fitzgerald's translations and unlimited names of random dead soldiers (tragic
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tengo mucho sueño y debería estar empezando el ensayo para el cual tomé esta novela pero aquí estamos, tipeando unas cuántas líneas para destacar lo hermoso que es este trabajo y lo muy, muy necesario que es en la biblioteca de todo ser humano.

Casandra es una poética y profunda reelaboración de un mito clásico. Esta profetiza maldita reaparece en la historia de Christa Wolf con muchas más luces y muchas más sombras y nos habla. Nos habla de su realidad en esa Troya patriarcal y guerrera, y de s
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: Cassandra, by Christa Wolf 1 12 Feb 24, 2016 01:42PM  
  • Malina
  • The Last World
  • Der Fremde Freund / Drachenblut
  • Transit
  • Schloß Gripsholm
  • Death in Rome
  • Professor Unrat
  • Lotte in Weimar: The Beloved Returns
  • 33 Moments of Happiness: St. Petersburg Stories
  • Das Muschelessen
  • The Stechlin
  • Deutschland, ein Wintermärchen
  • The Canvas
  • Der Turm: Geschichte aus einem versunkenen Land
  • Mephisto
  • Die Feuerzangenbowle. Eine Lausbüberei in der Kleinstadt
  • Penthesilea: A Tragic Drama
  • Draußen vor der Tür
A citizen of East Germany and a committed socialist, Mrs. Wolf managed to keep a critical distance from the communist regime. Her best-known novels included “Der geteilte Himmel” (“Divided Heaven,” 1963), addressing the divisions of Germany, and “Kassandra” (“Cassandra,” 1983), which depicted the Trojan War.

She won awards in East Germany and West Germany for her work, including the Thomas Mann Pri
More about Christa Wolf...
“Per il dolore, la felicità, l'amore non ci sono segni. E questo mi sembra di rara infelicità.” 4 likes
“Ecco dove accadde. Lei è stata qui. Questi leoni di pietra, ora senza testa, l'hanno fissata. Questa fortezza, una volta inespugnabile, cumulo di pietre ora, fu l'ultima cosa che vide. Un nemico da tempo dimenticato e i secoli, sole, pioggia, vento, l'hanno spianata. Immutato il cielo, un blocco d'azzurro intenso, alto, distante. Vicine, ogg come ieri, le mura ciclopiche che orientano il cammino: verso la porta dal cui fondo non fiotta più sangue. Nelle tenebre. Nel macello. E sola.
Con questo racconto vado nella morte.
Termino qui, impotente, e niente, niente di quello che avrei potuto fare o non fare, volere o pensare, mi avrebbe condotto a una meta diversa. Più profondamente di ogni altro moto dell'animo, più profondamente persino della mia paura, mi impregna, mi corrode, mi avvelena l'indifferenza dei celesti verso noi terreni. Naufragata l'audace impresa di opporre il nostro debole calore alla loro gelidità.”
More quotes…