Something Rising (Light and Swift)

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9780007174126: Something Rising (Light and Swift)

From the bestselling author of 'The Solace of Leaving Early', a funny, heartwrenching and unforgettable novel following the fortunes of a particulary feisty young female pool hustler. Cassie Claiborne, at ten, was surely too young to be the head of her disparate family. But who else was going to do it? Growing up in Indiana with her distant, heartbroken mother, Laura, her fragile, eccentric sister Belle, and her beloved grandfather Poppy, Cassie got sick of waiting for her father to come home from his everlasting gambling and drinking binges and took matters into her own hands. Taught by her father to play pool, Cassie was a natural and was soon hustling experienced pool players -- and winning. We follow Cassie from a complex little girl to a rebellious and impetuous young woman as she tries to create a world for her mother and sister. Overwhelmed but compelled by her family's love, Cassie feels herself drawn back to the past by the stories of her mother's youth, and she leaves her town for New Orleans, hoping that there she can find a truth to soothe her wounded soul and to allow herself the happiness she has been denied. Funny, heartbreaking, full of the eccentricity of small-town life and the overwrought drama of the close-knit family, 'Something Rising (Light and Swift)' is the story of a very unique young woman who knows that 'the worst thing that can happen to you is that you will find what you seek'. It tells of grief and love and growing up and leaving home in a way that is desperately sad but ultimately uplifting.

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Review:

Young Cassie Claiborne, the heroine of Haven Kimmel's egregiously ill-named novel Something Rising (Light and Swift), is a pool hustler. She learns to shoot pool for money when her unreliable father abandons her, along with her shut-in mother and her neurotic sister. Her growing-up is a dark thing: She has funny friends and pot-smoking good times out on country roads, but she's always carrying the financial and emotional burden left behind by her father. A good daughter, she lives with her mother in her small Indiana hometown till she's 30. Finally, after her mother's death, she decides to visit New Orleans to learn about her family's past. Up to this point, the novel is a sensitively written coming-of-age story, a little on the slow side. The book really takes off when Cassie hits the Big Easy. A taciturn, almost compulsively private person, she finds herself encountering enchanting strangers at every turn. A new friend named Miss Sophie grills Cassie about her line of work, and she replies, "I play pool for money. I just announce myself, I say I've come to a place to play their best, and for money, and that person is called. Or I wait for him." Miss Sophie replies "My interest in this is so sudden it feels lewd." The exchange gives an idea of the malleability and strength of Kimmel's style. You believe in both the gruff Cassie and the effusive Miss Sophie, and you believe they could charm each other. Such off-kilter connections are, in a sense, the point of the novel; it's a book about the serendipity of finding someone to like. --Claire Dederer

About the Author:

haven kimmel is the author of the No. 1 New York Times bestselling memoir, A Girl Named Zippy, and the critically acclaimed, Orange Prize-longlisted novel The Solace of Leaving Early. She studied English and creative writing at Ball State University and North Carolina State University. She also attended seminary at the Earlham School of Religion. Something Rising (Light and Swift) is her second novel, and the second part of a planned trilogy.

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