Glenda Guest: A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline

Glenda Guest: A Week in the Life of Cassandra Aberline
Life of Casandra Aberline, cover image
The train races along its rails,
a silver and blue streak
trying to make up time
spent dallying in the dust…

After forty-five years in Sydney, Cassandra Aberline returns home to Western Australia in the same way she left: on the Indian Pacific. 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 question that has held her to ransom almost all her life.

By the author of Siddon Rock, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book.

This story is about the complexities of memory, and the loss of memory. It is also about guilt, trust, and the breaking of trust. Primarily, it is about identity and how that changes in various circumstances.

Cassandra Aberline left her home in the wheatlands of Western Australia for Sydney in 1970. She is now sixty-four, lives in Surrey Hills, Sydney, and is teaching theatre skills after a long and distinguished career as an actor in Shakespearean and classical works.

Cassie has been given a diagnosis of early onset Altzheimers disease, and she is now returning to the west the same way as she left: by train on the Indian-Pacific. On this return journey she expects to work out what in her early life led to the specific event that made her leave. She cannot remember the specifics of that moment, if she pushed, or she left by choice.

“In the literary world there is a propensity for prize-winning authors to be elevated – or to elevate themselves – onto a special pedestal, complete with pretentious black-and-white profile photographs designed to make the subject appear as erudite and aloof as possible. Glenda Guest is not one such writer. She is approachable and refreshingly frank…” You may read more of this fascinating interview in the pages of Verity La.