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.
In this ultimately uplifting story, Haven Kimmel reaches deep into the hamstrung souls of her fictional corner of Indiana. Remarkable for its tough tenderness, Something Rising (Light and Swift) is an astonishing work of pure heartbreak.
Reading Group Guide
Something Rising (Light and Swift)
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