The Flight Attendant
A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries)
Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She's a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police - she's a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home - Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it's too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?
Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL INDIEBOUND BESTSELLER
Praise For The Flight Attendant: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries)…
"An expertly turned thriller… An assured novel about reckoning not just with some ruthless bad guys, but private sadness as well… [Bohjalian]’s developed a graceful hand at thriller mechanics, smoothly shifting from Cassie’s private paranoia to the intricacies of spycraft and mercenaries to the public tabloid sensation she’s become. He’s back-loaded the story with twists, from ones that were hinted at early to left-field surprises. And the brisk and busy ending is a fireworks show of redemption, revelation and old-fashioned gunplay." —Mark Athitakis, USA Today
"Flight attendant Cassie Bowden: a self-destructive alcoholic who favors one-night stands, a gifted liar, a petty thief. But she's also someone we can relate to: a soul damaged during childhood, terribly alone, and desperate for love… Readers who enjoyed the imperfect heroine in Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train and the anxiety-ridden paranoia of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment will be hooked by this murder mystery." —Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Bohjalian is an unfaltering storyteller who crosses genres with fluidity, from historical fiction to literary thrillers…a read-in-one-sitting escapade that is as intellectually satisfying as it is emotionally entertaining."—Booklist (Starred Review)
"The stakes couldn't be higher (literally)as Cassandra pieces together a mystery while working 40,000 feet above ground in Chris Bohjalian's gripping The Flight Attendant. Read it before Kaley Cuoco stars in the upcoming series!" —Cosmopolitan
"Bohjalian twists the tension tight and keeps the surprises startling." —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
"[Bohjalian's] 20th novel...combines popular tropes with a serious examination of social issues. Binge-drinking flight attendant Cassandra Bowden wakes up with another bad hangover in a Dubai hotel room and finds the man she spent the night with lying dead beside her... What really happened? And what are the consequences of addiction, deception, and denial? Fans are lining up." —Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
"A magnificent book…sleek and gorgeous…This is a Master Class in fiction."
"The author provides enough twists for a roller coaster fan... The beauty of the book is that, along with the politics of the plot, Cassie’s humanity comes through...the last 100 pages turn tense as you try to follow the unexpected but believable surprises Bohjalian has in store and answers whether Cassie can find salvation." —Amanda St. Amand, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"A high-octane thriller that will have you holding your breath with every page…As if ripped from today’s headlines, Bohjalian paints a vivid portrait of death and despair on a canvas of Russian espionage." —Nicholas Addison Thomas, Fredericksburg Free Lane-Star
Vintage, 9780525432685, 368pp.
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. What traits do Cassie and Elena (“Miranda”) have in common, and what are their fundamental differences? Though they were raised worlds apart, how did their parents teach them to conceal their true selves? To what extent do both women manage to deceive themselves as well?
2. How did your opinion of Alex Sokolov shift as his life story unfolded?
3. At first, what did you think was the motive behind his murder?
4. How is Cassie’s dependence on alcohol linked to her dependence on lying? What is at the root of her cycle of intoxicated euphoria followed by self-loathing?
5. What accounts for the very different paths Cassie and her younger sister, Rosemary, take in life? How does their relationship compare to the one between you and your siblings?
6. What does The Flight Attendant say about the distinction between bad decisions and destiny? To what degree are Cassie and Elena in control of their misdirected choices?
7. When Cassie compulsively pilfers items while traveling and then wraps them up as gifts, is she simply trying to live on a limited budget, or does it say something deeper about her relationship to possessions and the images she wanted her loved ones to have of her?
8. As the flight attendants in the novel work a variety of international routes, what do their experiences prove about the common threads that exist in all of humanity, no matter where we are?
9. What are the hallmarks of this author’s storytelling? How was your experience of The Flight Attendant enhanced by the Bohjalian novels you’ve previously read?