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Something Rising: A Novel [Hardcover]

Haven Kimmel
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Kimmel developed a diverse fan club after the success of her smart, funny, and best-selling memoir, A Girl Named Zippy, and her poignant novel, The Solace of Leaving Early. In Something Rising, Kimmel both varies and adheres to these forms, chronicling the everyday events and dramas of a determined young woman living in a small town and aching for another life. Critics praise Kimmel's complex, unsentimental style and convincing plot. The rather slow pace in the middle detracts slightly from this intelligent narrative about family responsibility and the quest for purpose in life. But Cassie is worth spending time with.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

From Booklist

Like her first novel, The Solace of Leaving Early (2002), Kimmel's second is set in a fictional small town in Indiana. Cassie Claiborne, the most grounded person in her family, longs for her feckless father to return home but in the meantime, she grows into a young woman and shoulders the burden herself. On one of his increasingly rare visits, her father takes her to a pool hall, and she watches him play. When she takes her turn with the cue, it becomes clear that Cassie has an innate talent for the game. She starts playing for money and routinely beats arrogant men who think they can easily best a young girl. Her skill ultimately leads her to a match with her father, but even pool playing can't make up for his abandonment of her, or the fact that Cassie's destiny might lie beyond Roseville. A connection to the characters in her first novel will make readers of Solace smile, and those new to Kimmel will find her thoughtful prose evocative and fresh. A beautiful coming-of-age story. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

Elizabeth Berg What intelligence is here, and what grace, and what unsentimental (and contagious!) love for our messy ways here on planet Earth. Haven Kimmel is true gospel wearing blue jeans; you read her and you are lifted up. -- Review

About the Author

Haven Kimmel is the author of The Solace of Leaving Early and A Girl Named Zippy. She studied English and creative writing at Ball State University and North Carolina State University, and attended seminary at the Earlham School of Religion. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.

From AudioFile

In this follow-up to her wonderful novel THE SOLACE OF LEAVING EARLY, Haven Kimmel has created a tough, soft-hearted little girl who grows up immensely burdened by the care of the family her father has abandoned. Cassie Claiborne supports them by hustling pool--her father's game--and the story builds inevitably to the evening her father shows up at the pool hall and challenges her. Kimmel's characters are always vivid and fully imagined. Chelsey Rives inhabits with grace and sympathy Cassie's passive Louisiana-bred mother, whose life has taken such a wrong turn; her brilliant, helpless, deeply odd sister, Belle; and a full cast of young and old eccentrics who people Cassie's world. B.G. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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