Cassandra Singing by David Madden
Set in the exotic coal country of eastern Kentucky’s mountains, Cassandra Singing centers on a brother and a sister and their contrasting ways of coping with life. Lone McDaniel is drawn to a life of action, riding a motorcycle with his friend Boyd Weaver, the wildest and most dangerous boy in town. Cassie McDaniel, bedridden for most of her life with rheumatic fever, lives in the world of her own imagination, feeding vicariously on her brother’s stories of his adventures with Boyd and Boyd’s girlfriend, Gypsy.
Cassie’s strange imaginings and the folk songs she sings are her efforts to communicate with Lone, and they affect him in two ways: They pull him unwillingly into the tangled emotional terrain of his family, and they fuel his urge to escape from the nearly incestuous relationship he has with Cassie. When a willful act of destruction lands Lone in jail, Cassie decides to go out into the world, where she finds herself drawn gradually to Boyd. Both are isolated from others—Cassie by her vision of life, Boyd by his hostile actions—but they have one thing in common: their strange love of Lone. Cassie’s attempts to become Lone hurl this searing novel toward its dramatic climax.
The Author: David Madden is creator and Director the U.S. Civil War Center at Louisiana State University. Cassandra Singing, his second novel, was originally published in 1969. His other highly praised novels and short story collections include The Suicide’s Wife, Bijou, The New Orleans of Possibilities, On the Big Wind, The Shadow Knows, and Sharpshooter (Tennessee, 1996). He is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Knoxville:University of Tennessee Press, 1999