A portrait of a woman at the very bottom of feeling self loathing about herself. Cassandra Bowden is a flight attendant with about 20 years working in the profession. She has reached the point that she can bid on and work flights to most exotic destinations in the world.
Unfortunately, she has found the life of always being in different cities completely unsatisfying and empty. She has become a binge drinker often arriving at her destination, getting drunk and picking up a strange man to have sex with little memory of what has happened.
The novel begins with Cassie awakening in Dubai in a hotel room that is not the room nor the hotel that the rest of her flight crew are staying at. And as many times before, she gets up with a pounding headache and just attempts to find out if she can still make a shuttle at the crew’s hotel to take her to the airport for her assignment on the plane back to the states.
This time there is a vast difference from other times. The man laying next to her has a wide gash in his neck. His blood is all over the bed and he is quite dead, obviously a murder victim. Cassie begins a series of lies to her fellow flight crew members, to her sister and her family back in the states, and to the FBI waiting for her at the gate in New York. Her thinking is that she will be accused of murder and doesn’t know how to hide her being in the same room with a murdered man.
As with his other novels, Bohjalian has researched the variables of careers spent going from one exotic place to another at 35,000 feet and always being away from home. Cassie has visited most of the world, has no family ties except for a younger sister, her husband and children who she rarely sees, and no friends outside of the acquaintances among her fellow crew members. Her life is spent drinking and moving from one one night stand to another with no permanent ties to speak of.
The book moves from the murder to one complication after another for Cassie. Her thoughts and feelings are well described as are those of other key individuals taking part in the story. It is a novel that brings the reader unerringly into its permutations and combinations. A fascinating adventure into what is an environment far beyond the normal one of people whose jobs are within commuting distances from their homes and families and spend evenings with their loved ones.
3/18 Paul Lane
THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT by Chris Bohjalian. Doubleday (March 13, 2018). ISBN 978-0385542418. 368p.