Jeremy's Reviews > Cassandra: A Novel and Four Essays

Cassandra by Christa Wolf
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Jul 23, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, the-carrion-of-scholarship

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 such horrid revisionism and politically-motivated story-telling as to make a thinking reader retch. Wolf dips her toes into Aeschylus' ocean of ideas, shrinks back from the cold and retreats to the comfort of the sand. If the writings of the Ancient Greeks are considered misogynist (which I don't believe), then this text, judged by those standards, is misandrist to the point of mania; I mean, the archetype for the modern misandrist novel is to make the central male figure incompetent, sexually dysfunctional, emotionally dysfunctional, ugly/sleazy, hate-filled, bitter and compulsively obsessed. This is almost a how-to book; 'An Idiot's Guide to Writing A Misandrist Novel'.

Having said all that, Wolf is certainly not a poor writer; her craftsmanship is excellent. The characters she chooses to portray more than one dimensionally are vividly drawn. If the type of book described above is up your literary alley - and there is a market for this type of book, unfortunately - then you'll really enjoy it.

Addendum: No, this book is not a difficult read: the story itself is actually quite fluid. The style does not even particularly reflect that strange misnomer: 'stream of consciousness'. Thematically it is simple in the extreme, and could easily be an almost silver-clear reflection of a high school level western sociology textbook. I would call it 'Literature Lite' if I didn't object to the oxymoron. Please, read Aeschylus, if not Homer just to get some stylistic perspective.

Or, read Manfredi's The Talisman of Troy if you want to see how this kind of thing can be genuinely handled.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 23, 2011 – Shelved
July 27, 2011 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
July 27, 2011 – Shelved as: the-carrion-of-scholarship

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Madison (new) - added it

Madison Santos lmao it rules that you're actually pictured wearing a fedora in the most fedora-tipping comment of all time "feminism is revisionist misandry and read the greeks", i'm cataloging this


message 2: by Jeremy (last edited May 07, 2018 04:36PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Jeremy Wow, okay, catalog away. I'm only sorry I'm not overweight and don't have a neck-beard for you. Those things would rule.

It also rules that anyone starts anything with 'lmao'.

I like your one comma. It makes sense.

btw, read the greeks


Aubrey Madison wrote: "lmao it rules that you're actually pictured wearing a fedora in the most fedora-tipping comment of all time "feminism is revisionist misandry and read the greeks", i'm cataloging this"

Well said.


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