Prologue The man standing across from Cassie had nearly a thousand dollars on the line and a pale absence where his wedding ring should have been. He registered on her periphery: his anger, his receding hairline, the slick shirt, the way he leaned against the corner pocket so that she had to look directly at him as she studied the shot.
Cassie noticed these things without thought, the same way she could see Uncle Bud behind the bar, drying glasses and keeping his eye on her, without looking in his direction. The man had left a mess on the table. Cassie paced, dropped her stick up and down on the toe of her boot. On the break he had sunk the 6 and the 2 and had cleared the 1 and 3 quickly. But he left the 4 stranded close to the rail and the cue ball downtable, taking a safety. Cassie had to do many things at once -- get to the 4; sink the 4; position the cue ball to take the recalcitrant 5; get back down for the 7; release the 8 from where it was stranded; and sink the 9 -- but the whole process felt like one thing, the way walking doesn't feel like a thousand articulated events. Just one event. Some nights she saw the table as a plane, all four sides extending infinitely, and at those times she couldn't lose. But on other nights, and against opponents like her current one (the Lounge Singer, she'd dubbed him), she fell to earth and used what she could find there. The table was actual and massive, and its borders were discrete. She imagined two protractors joined at the horizontal line, forming a perfect circle, and everything outside that circle was darkness, and all she needed to know was inside. From the ball to the pocket was one side of an angle; from the cue ball to the object ball was the other side. And there, invisible, where the cue and the object met, or would meet: the vertex, her desire. She dreamed sometimes that her whole life was funneled into that point of contact and could be measured in the old ways: acute, right, obtuse, a reflex. The man across the table had had too much to drink, had bet too much money, and was now showing her his black edge. It was just a look around his eyes, a flush of throat. He thought she'd never take the 4, and he was terrified she would. Cassie stopped behind the cue ball, imagined the table flipped into a mirror image, and considered a bank shot. After she'd done her best with angles, the rest was physics. Distance, velocity, and acceleration. The transfer of momentum. And something else: a sensation she'd never understood that caused her throat to close and her heart to pound. She was addicted to the feeling, even though it arrived like heartbreak, with the same thunder and autonomy. The 4 was too far away, but if she kept her eye on what her opponent couldn't see, the bisections and intersecting lines, the ghosts, she believed she could do it. She bent so far at the waist that her chin rested on top of the cue, and the lines on the table shifted like a computer design in a war room. The two practice strokes rubbed lightly against the underside of her chin, where she was developing a permanent red line. On the third stroke, a medium shot, the cue ball traveled the length of the table; the Lounge Singer opened his mouth, closed it again. He hadn't expected the backspin, the way the bank happened so fast, sending the 4 right past the 8 and into the corner pocket without a sigh of resistance. The cue ball rolled and stopped six inches from the 5, and then it was over. The 5, the 7, the 8. She sank the 9 lightly, stepped away from the table, and rocked her head from side to side. Her shoulders ached. Her opponent started to say something, but Uncle Bud filled the doorway like a piece of furniture. "Pay her," he said. The man reached into his pocket, shaking from the loss, and pulled out a stack of bills held together with a tarnished old clip. His waistband was sweat-stained, and now that she'd beaten him, Cassie had to turn away fromAugusten Burroughs best-selling author of Dry and Running with Scissors Gorgeously written and brilliantly conceived, Something Rising (Light and Swift) is touching and funny and warm and spirited.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.Martin Clark Haven Kimmel is among the most talented writers on the planet and Something Rising (Light and Swift) is one of those rare, memorable novels that is complete in every regard.Sue Monk Kidd The Secret Life of Bees You're going to love meeting Cassie Claiborne, the redoubtable girl at the heart of this wonderful coming-of-age story. She has it all -- rebellion, grit, compassion, humor, and a perfect eye for the Midwest. Beautifully written, Something Rising is a wonder.Suzanne Finnamore author of The Zygote Chronicles It is impossible to put down, it is impossible to keep from laughing out loud, and it is impossible to imagine a more compelling and poignant coming-of-age story than Something Rising. Shades of Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor grace the text...her characters breathe and walk among us, haunting and glorious in their imperfection. It's official: Haven Kimmel is a national treasure."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. Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights ReservedFrom the author of the #1 "New York Times" bestselling memoir "A Girl Named Zippy" comes a heartbreaking novel about a young female pool hustler trapped in a small Indiana town.In her first two books, Haven Kimmel claimed her spot on the literary scene- surprising readers with her memoir, A Girl Named Zippy, and winning an outpouring of critical acclaim for her first novel, The Solace of Leaving Early. Now, in her second novel, she brings to the page a heroine's tireless quest for truth, love, justice, and the perfect game of 9-ball. 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.
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