The Raising: A Novel
Author Laura Kasischke
(ARC – Release date March 2011)
The accident was tragic, yes. Bloody and horrific and claiming the life of a beautiful young sorority girl. Nicole was a straight A student from a small town. Sweet-tempered, all-American, a former Girl Scout, and a virgin. But it was an accident. And that was last year. It’s fall again, a new semester, a fresh start. Craig, who has not been charged with murder, is focusing on his classes, and also on avoiding Nicole’s sorority sisters, who seem to blame him for her death even though the police did not. Perry, Craig’s roommate, is working through his own grief (he grew up with Nicole, after all, and had known her since kindergarten) by auditing Professor Polson’s sociology class: Death, Dying, and the Undead. Mira has been so busy with her babies—two of them, twins, the most perfect boys you could imagine, but still a nearly impossible amount of work even with Clark’s help—that she can barely keep herself together to teach (Death, Dying and the Undead), let alone write the book she’ll need to publish for tenure. Shelly, who was the first person at the scene of the accident, has given up calling the newspapers to tell them that, despite the “lake of blood” in which they keep reporting the victim was found, the girl Shelly saw that night was not bloody, and not dead.
Review: The book is just over 400 pages long, but that didn’t stop me from blazing through the pages. I simply didn’t want to put it down! This provocative little number is full of mystery that lurks just out of sight around a dark corner. Kasischke had me guessing the entire time. I longed for certain outcomes, but knew deep down I might not get what I predicted and this was part of the thrill. The exploration of death seen through the eyes of youth was exquisitely written. The love was aching and honest. The betrayal heartbreaking, and the rumors believable. The story is much more than a glimpse into campus life. It explores the tragedy of death and our cultural need for ritual and sacrifice. The perspective of different views and the moving from past to present (shifting) provides a unique picture of the scene of the crime. By doing so, Kasischke shows there is more than one crime committed with multiple victims. Each character’s life is cheated by death. Not all questions are answered and this had me gasping. It was horrifying not getting what I longed for, but beautifully eloquent in the same breath and absolutely fitting. The story did not end after the last page, it lives on in my imagination because I am still pondering all the possible outcomes, reasons, and explanations. This is what humans tend to do because we never have all the answers. Our minds want to make sense out of life and death, but it is never easy. I predict The Raising will shoot to the top of the MUST read pile in 2011. Contains explicit language and sexuality.
*ARC submitted for review courtesy of HarperCollins via Net Galley
Bitsy’s Rating: 5 Stars