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The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poemsThe St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poemsThe St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
The St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection of short stories or poems
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Haven Kimmel, author of the memoir A Girl Named Zippy and novel The Solace of Leaving Early, published Something Rising (Light and Swift), her second work of fiction, in 2004. Shockingly, the novel received praise from such literary notables as Augusten Burroughs and Sue Monk Kidd. Kidd described the novel as "beautifully written" and "a wonder" according to Kimmel's Simon & Schuster web page. According to Burroughs, author of the wickedly funny memoir Running With Scissors, Something Rising (Light and Swift) is "gorgeously written and brilliantly conceived." Really, Augusten?

Something Rising (Light and Swift) is the story of Cassie Claiborne, a young woman doing everything she can to keep her tattered family together. With a father who is either nasty, sullen, or absent; a brilliant sister with agoraphobia and a very thin grasp of reality; and an unsatisfied, depressed mother, Cassie has a lot to manage. As a teenager she learns that she can support her family and forge her way in life with a pool cue and a mean game of 9-ball. Kimmel has the ingredients for a very good book. Unfortunately, the novel plods along with boring language and stock details. The framework of the book includes interesting characters, a fascinating family dynamic, and a good plot twist; but none of them seem to be realized in an effective way. Thus, the whole book falls flat and reads like a sales pitch about how "Something Rising (Light and Swift)" is a great novel without ever actually becoming one.

What is really scary about Something Rising (Light and Swift) is that it is billed as a strong novel about a strong woman when the writing is worse than most chick-lit. Basically, in a boxing match The Devil Wears Prada would win in the first round.
SOMETHING RISING
(LIGHT AND SWIFT)
by Haven Kimmel

Free Press, 2004

Reviewed by Diane Goettel