Title: The Raising
Author: Laura Kasischke
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Genre: Gothic Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
When beautiful, smart college student Nicole Werner is killed in a car accident, Godwin Honors Hall mourns. After all, she had so much potential; if she hadn’t gotten involved with Craig Clements-Rabbitt, who was driving the car, she might still be alive. One year later, Craig is back on campus and trying to put his life together. His roommate, Perry, who was also childhood friends with Nicole, is trying to adjust to all that’s happened. Nicole’s sorority sisters are intent on punishing Craig, who they feel got off too lightly, but is there something more sinister going on underneath the surface?
The Raising is a book that’s difficult to describe, especially because it’s important to preserve the reading experience. It’s a novel that unfolds slowly and carefully; while those expecting a brisk read might become frustrated with its languorous pace, people who enjoy savoring their books will appreciate the thought and detail that Kasischke put into every word.
The novel is a sort of gothic mystery, and that combined with the academic setting makes for an incredibly atmospheric read. From the beginning of The Raising, the reader can tell that something isn’t quite right. It’s difficult to tell what is happening as the novel progresses; are Nicole’s sorority sisters just taking things too far, or is there something paranormal happening under the surface? These questions are constantly on the reader’s mind as the novel progresses.
Kasischke takes her time building her characters in The Raising. There are many of them, and over the course of the novel, the reader gets to know them well. The author does an excellent job taking these disparate people and connecting them to Nicole’s death. Along with these multiple points of view, the novel is told over different time periods. The time jumping can be jarring at the beginning, as there isn’t really much to signal to the reader that the time frame is changing, but readers will quickly adjust.
If you’re in the mood for a moody, mysterious chunkster of a novel, The Raising is just what you should pick it. As long as you’re expecting a slow, steady read that takes its time, you’ll find this book intriguing and well worth your time. Kasischke writes a gothic atmosphere very well, and here’s hoping she revisits it in her next novel.