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Something Rising (Light and Swift) by Haven…
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Something Rising (Light and Swift)

by Haven Kimmel

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Felt Like Homework: For a book about hustling pool, this book contains an awful lot of discussion about the role of feminine mythology in literature. This book felt less like a story than a justification of the tuition money spent on a Lit degree.

Not only is there the bizare out-of-place discussions about the protagonist's sister's college dissertation, but the book is chock-full of ham-fisted literary devices. I actually laughed out loud when Cassie won her father's prized pool que in a bet. Gee, what could that possibly be a metaphor for?

Early in the story, Cassie is instructed to study geometry and physics textbooks in order to understand pool. This made me wonder whether the author had ever seen a pool table or a geometry textbook. Most pool sharks don't need to know how to calculate the area of a tetrahedron. The amount of geometery that one must know to play pool well could probably be written in large letters on one side of a 3x5 index card.

The characters are dull and one-dimensional. Everybody dutifully plays their part without acting like an acutal person. We are treated to road-worn cliche characters such as the gay best friend, the absentee father, and the kindly grandfather. Cassie, the protagonist, is cold and unlikeable. She's like a Holden Caufield without the charm. I found myself wanting bad things to happen to her.

I suspect that my assignment was to analogize the Cassie character to some mythological godess that the author discussed. But it just wasn't worth the effort.
  lonepalm | Feb 5, 2014 |
here you go: skip the last thirty twilight zone rip off pages, pretend the main character is the dyke hero you've been searching for all your life, and trust in haven kimmel's priorities. if you follow this formula, something rising will be the best book you've ever read.
( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
here you go: skip the last thirty twilight zone rip off pages, pretend the main character is the dyke hero you've been searching for all your life, and trust in haven kimmel's priorities. if you follow this formula, something rising will be the best book you've ever read.
( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
Ending just a bit too pat; main character not well fleshed-out. Kimmel writes beautifully, but this is not her best. ( )
  olevia | Apr 5, 2013 |
The books that I’ve read by Haven Kimmel run the gamut between laugh out loud funny, break your heart poignant and I loved this book but I’m not 100% why. “Something Rising (Light and Swift)” was yet another different kind of book. It was beautiful in a brittle, heartbreaking way.

Cassie, the main character, is a girl, then a woman who is desperately and silently trying to hang on to those small and uncommon types of love that she has. Jimmy – her father, Laura – her mother, and Belle – her sister, give her very little love or affection in the traditional sense of the words. “Cassie was, at ten, a child who would have to learn to look away.”

She desperately loves her father despite being abandoned by him for much of her life. Her mother’s physical presence is a constant, yet Cassie knows very little about her. All through her life, it seems she is waiting for her father, so like her in spirit, to be part of her life, and for her mother, so unlike her, to tell her about her life.

Finally, once their lives start to change dramatically, Cassie gets part of what she wants as she starts to learn about the mystery that is her mother, Laura.

“…when you were three and Belle was five, I decided to leave your father, and Shirley was the first person I went to.” Cassie rubbed her forehead. How could she ever explain to Laura that hearing this story still caused a shimmer in her belly, she was still afraid that Jimmy and she’d lose her family so long after he’d left and she’d lost?”

Cassie’s feeling about her family – mother, father and sister are so conflicted, and so precisely written that she is one of the most real and knowable characters that I’ve read about in a long while.

“Cassie’s breath quickened, and she could hear her heartbeat. Jimmy still evoked elation and dread – she wanted to run to him before he got away, and she wanted to run past him and have it over with.”

She says very little throughout the book, but she feels so much – the reader is given a chance to know her more than she probably knows herself. Some of the choices she makes evoked a sense of protection in me…as if she was taking the first steps towards the paths of her parents and I wanted to warn her off. There was ferocity to Cassie that made me both fear for her and admire her.

I will always look forward to Haven Kimmel’s books – I won’t know what type of book to expect but I am sure it will be an amazing experience. ( )
  karieh | Jan 29, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743247779, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Cassie Claiborne's world is riddled with problems beyond her control: her hard-living, pool-shooting father has another wife; her stoic, long-suffering mother is incapable of moving herself mentally away from the kitchen window; her sister Belle is a tempest of fragility and brilliance; her closest friends, Puck and Emmy, are adolescent harbingers of their own doomed futures. Frustrated by her inability to care deeply enough for so many troubled souls, Cassie finds in the local pool hall an oasis of green felt where she can master objects and restrain her emotions." "As Cassie grows from a quietly complex girl into a headstrong young woman, she takes on the thankless role of family provider by working odd jobs and hustling pool. All the while, she keeps her eye on the ultimate prize: wringing suitable justice out of past wrongs and freeing herself from the inertia that is her life."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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