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Something Rising (Light and Swift)

Something Rising (Light and Swift)

A Novel

  • reading group guide
Cassie Claiborne's world is riddled with problems beyond her control: her hard-living, pool-shooting father has another wife; her mother can't seem to move herself mentally away from the kitchen window; and her sister Belle is a tempest of fragility and brilliance. Frustrated by her inability to care for so many, Cassie finds in the local pool hall an oasis of green felt where she can master objects and restrain her emotions.
As Cassie grows up, 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 from past wrongs and freeing herself from her life's inertia. In this uplifting story, Haven Kimmel reaches deep into the hamstrung souls of her fictional corner of Indiana to create an astonishing work of pure heartbreak.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743247771 | 
  • April 2005
List Price $23.50

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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide (FINAL)
Something Rising (Light and Swift)
Haven Kimmel
1. The prologue immediately places us in Cassie's world of playing pool for money. Why do you think Cassie plays? Is it really about the money?
2. In Part I of the novel, Jimmy tells Cassie: "You know you're my favorite, Cassie, although God knows that ain't saying much." Discuss Cassie's relationship with her father, Jimmy. How does it serve as the basis for the way she relates to men in general?
3. When the sisters are younger, Cassie suggests that Edwin's routine presence is because he loves their mother, Laura. But Belle "said he came for other reasons and he was Pure." What do you think Belle means? Why do you suppose Belle and Edwin suddenly married? Could it be that Edwin was courting Belle all along?
4. In Part III of the novel, the narrator comments: "Laura's unhappiness was her religion." How does religion factor into Cassie's life? Has she any faith? Is there anything she considers "holy"?
5. Cassie is known for her belligerence; by the tenth grade she "had been expelled six times for fighting." Nevertheless, when Jimmy files motions to relinquish his paternal responsibility, Cassie refuses Edwin's offer to fight the claim. Cassie asks herself, "What was there to fight?" Why do you think she gives up on Jimmy? How do you explain her indifference? Has she already won the so-called fight?
6. Belle is an interesting character study, especially compa see more

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About the Author

Haven Kimmel
Photo Credit:

Haven Kimmel

Haven Kimmel is the author of The Used World, She Got Up Off the Couch, Something Rising (Light and Swift), 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, N.C.

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