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Something Rising: A Novel Hardcover – December 23, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (December 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743247752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743247757
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,543,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews 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

From Publishers Weekly

Kimmel returns to the semirural Indiana of her bestselling memoir, A Girl Named Zippy, and her witty novel, The Solace of Leaving Early, to recount, in graceful episodes, the troubled coming-of-age of Cassie Claiborne, who balances "on the fulcrum of happiness and despair." Following a stage-setting prologue, the book opens with 10-year-old Cassie waiting, as usual, for her irresponsible, often absent father. Jimmy Claiborne is a selfish lout who cares more for pool than his family ("You know you're my favorite, Cassie, although God knows that ain't saying much"), but his love for the game soon becomes Cassie's when his friend Bud teaches her to play. As a teenager, she's a pool shark, paying the bills for her defeated, distant mother, Laura, and taking care of her overachieving, agoraphobic sister, Belle. Understandably, she'd like a better life. After Jimmy splits for good - divorcing his wife and emancipating his daughters - Laura waxes nostalgic about an old boyfriend in New Orleans whom she left for Cassie's father. Cassie fantasizes about how things might have been had her mother stayed with that man, "her shadow father." At 30, Cassie has become a strong-willed feminist (though she'd never call herself that) who goes to New Orleans to defeat her demons and her mother's old boyfriend in a game of nine-ball. Kimmel's characters are sympathetic and believable, and the author proves herself equally deft at conveying smalltown desolation and the physics of pool. With a tougher core than her previous books, and an ending that's redemptive without being cliched, Kimmel's latest is another winner.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

I found myself wanting bad things to happen to her.
Brian Day
Throw in some depth psychology and pages of pointless and unbelievable STRIFE, and you eventually get to the end of the exercise.
chif arobe
This is the second Haven Kimmel novel I've read, and I have to say I'm hooked.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on December 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Haven Kimmel's 2 previous books were so disparate as to defy a reader's belief that the same woman could possibly have written both of them. Now, with Something Rising, we have the missing link: the Indiana setting we learned about in A Girl Named Zippy combined with a tough and conflicted protagonist like the girl/woman in The Solace of Leaving Early.
Cassie (short for Cassiopeia, not for Cassandra) Claiborne's coming of age process from a schoolgirl thru her teenage years and into sort-of-mature womanhood is chronicled within these pages. We see her struggling with a love/hate relationship with a mostly-absent but charismatic pool-playing ace of a father; interacting with a trapped, bitter, and disappointed mother who `could have married a rich man in New Orleans' but was already pregnant with Cassie; and coming to terms with a brilliant, odd, agoraphobic older sister. Cassie develops a tough shell as she becomes the supporter of her odd little family by working odd jobs but mostly by playing pool at Uncle Bud's bar and pool hall, but her fondest wish is to have a life of her own.
I found myself riveted by this book, pulling for Cassie's redemption as she set out to slay dragons in her mother's and sister's name. Only two things detracted from my enjoyment: the ending came a little too swiftly and was a little too neatly tied together, and, maybe it's me, but I just really, really didn't understand why she felt it necessary to whup (at pool, of course) the man her mother had been engaged to when the man who done her wrong came along. I mean, what did Cassie have against Jackson LaFollette, huh?
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S. McKinney on October 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I dearly loved Haven Kimmel's first novel, "The Solace of Leaving Early". It was one of those books whose ending was so utterly satisfying on so many levels, I felt lighthearted for the rest of the day after I finished it (having read until the small hours of the morning.) "That," I kept saying to myself, "was a darned good book."

So I was watching and waiting for "Something Rising (Light and Swift," ready to fall in love (or hate) with a whole new cast of characters. And so I read it, finished it, and closed the cover feeling puzzled and morose and saying, "Yes, but...."

I just didn't like it very much. There was an underlying scornfulness, a mocking of people, that I found unattractive, considering Kimmel's smartness and sweetness and gentle prodding humor when describing the weirdness of small midwestern Bible Belt towns in "Solace". One got the feeling that she was giggling slightly at her own solid midwestern core that has been covered over with the shiny veneer of being a Published Author.

But in "Something Rising," I just didn't get that sense. It's a bit hard to define. There was an edge -- and I presume Kimmel meant it to be there -- of razor-sharp ugliness about it. No tenderness. No healing. No comfort. Just desolation and despair.

It didn't make for a happy read. It probably wasn't supposed to. But I really hate the feeling of being left with a partially unresolved plot.

And I wish someone would explain to me the significance of the title. The esoteric meaning has apparently flown right over my thick-as-a-stump midwestern head.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By chif arobe on June 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Compared to Kimmel's brilliant first novel,"Solace..." this reads like a labored Writing Class assignment: "Write a piece about a woman pool hustler, and make her an angry, masculine, drywaller whose redneck mother alludes to Kundera, Randall Jarrell, Marianne Moore, Anne Sexton, Martin Amis in the space of 2 pages."

Kimmel has a thing about frustrated intellectual housewives (the mothers, Laura, here and Annalee in "Solace...") who never went to college yet worship at the alter of Thought and Literature. Usually one kid goes to Bloomington to become a neurotic pointy-head while the other makes meth in the barn or practices tire-iron road rage while Seeking The Absent Father. Throw in some depth psychology and pages of pointless and unbelievable STRIFE, and you eventually get to the end of the exercise.

The pasted-on New Orleans Good Ending is OK only because we can hope that Hurricane Katrina has wiped out Haven's fictional Pool Hall Heaven paid for by deus ex machina. By the way, Cassie, the lumpy heroine whose outlawry consists of having uninteresting pot-smoking friends and never paying income tax, supposedly inherits a $300G stock and insurance settlement and the lawyer hands it over in cash and takes out no taxes?

Haven needs to have people who aren't in awe of her to read the drafts of her future novels. She is way too talented to wing it just because she had a great first novel. She needs better advisors/editors.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mercedes J. TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This was one of the very few books that I was not able to finish. Not because it's awful, or poorly written...actually, I thought it was written quite well, which is why I'm giving it 3 stars. Its just that I didn't get it. After getting more than halfway through this book I realized...I didn't care about any one of the characters, I didn't care what happened to them, didn't fully understand who they were, nothing at all. I skimmed the last 1/3 of the book just to see if it would get a little more never did.

Cassie was likeable enough, but I found her to be to hard and empty, and her sister Belle obviously had some serious problems, but what they were I couldn't tell you. And Puck and Emmy...what a bizzare pair. What it comes down to is this book just wasn't for me. The reading is extremely choppy, and difficult to follow in some places. What I got wasn't quite what I expected when I started reading. It's not that I don't recommend the book, I personally didn't take to it, but I really like Haven Kimmel, and have high hopes for the next book of hers I pick up.
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