It's time for some serious March MADNESS! Book Hop. I'm very excited to be giving away a copy of Laura Kasischke's latest novel The Raising, which is to be released March 15th. I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy courtesy of Harper Perennial and loved it!
The Raising by Laura Kasischke
Set in and around the campus of a fictional midwestern university, Kasischke’s eighth novel centers on a tragic car accident that has taken the life of beautiful, straight-A student Nicole. A year later, her sorority sisters are still up in arms and lay the blame for Nicole’s death on her boyfriend, Craig, who, they claim, is an irresponsible rich kid. But Craig’s roommate, Philip, who grew up with Nicole, has begun to think that she is not really dead and approaches his sociology professor, who is teaching a class on death, for help. Meanwhile, a witness to the accident has given up trying to straighten out the many erroneous newspaper accounts stating that Nicole was found covered in blood, for the girl she saw was not bleeding and not dead. Kasischke excels at depicting the psychology of the young and the traumatized even as she delivers a scathing indictment of the siege mentality of college administrators. In this literary page-turner, reminiscent of Donna Tartt’s Secret History (1992), the talented author inlays her academic novel with a touch of the supernatural and a deep sense of foreboding. My 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 some adult language and sexuality.